Oregon's $50 Billion PERS Debt

Oregon’s Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) has our beloved State teetering on the brink of financial disaster. We are told that the System’s official funding shortfall is a staggering $24.1 billion. If we are honest with ourselves, however, looking at the System’s actual investment return versus its targeted investment return (which is used for calculating funding requirements), we unofficially owe closer to $50 billion. That's approximately $12,500 of debt for every individual in Oregon, or $50,000 for a family of four. 

The PERS debt puts at risk nearly every public service institution we have ever deemed valuable to our collective health, welfare and education and it needs to be solved now for Oregon's immediate and future economic health and prosperity.

Download The Case for Resolving Oregon's $50 Billion PERS Debt (PDF) to learn more about the PERS issue and the problems it poses for Oregon. 


“Absent fundamental reform, broken pension systems threaten the financial sustainability of state budgets and the financial future of public servants. Taxpayers, workers, and retirees will all share in the burden unless policymakers make significant changes." 

— Jonathan Williams
Chief Economist, American Legislative Exchange Council


A Fair & Simple Solution

To solve Oregon's budget crisis, and protect against the massive public and private sector job and service losses that will likely occur if this debt remains unpaid, I am proposing a temporary, dedicated and automatically-declining PERS debt-payoff sales tax.

This temporary sales tax would:

  • Eliminate our PERS debt
  • Solve Oregon's State budget crisis 
  • Protect public employees' jobs and retirement funds

Download the The Immediate Solution to Resolve Oregon's $50 Billion PERS Debt (PDF) to learn more about the details and benefits of the plan.