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Oregon Legislators To Hold Budget Town Halls

Oregon’s legislature is required by law to adopt a balanced two year budget; it is no easy feat and requires difficult trade-offs between competing programs and services.  Here’s where we need your voice to tell the Legislature what really matters to you.

Tell Legislators: Before making cuts to education, healthcare and other essential services for Oregonians, they must curb Oregon’s rapidly rising Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) costs and high government employee healthcare costs. 

If you’d like to testify at a hearing, consider these facts. Bear in mind that short, succinct testimony is best.  Please let us know if you plan to want to attend a budget town hall.

The State actually has $1.2 billion dollars more to spend this budget cycle than it did last budget.  The $1.8 billion deficit being discussed is due to government costs that are increasing faster than the additional revenue.

  • Since the end of the Great Recession, Oregon revenues have grown faster than almost every state in the nation.  Oregon’s state tax revenues are at an all-time high.
  • One of the biggest cost-drivers for this and future budgets is the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS), which diverts money away from Oregon’s classrooms and other services.
  • The increased cost of PERS for school districts in the upcoming budget is the equivalent of paying for one week of school statewide or 1358 teachers; over the next three budgets this jumps to three weeks of school or 3750 teachers.
  • Oregon is the only state in the country where public employees pay nothing for their pensions, which are fully paid by the taxpayers.
  • While PERS pension costs are skyrocketing, the PERS system continues to operate a second, 401K-style retirement savings plan in addition to the pension plan. Taxpayers should not be required to pay for two retirement plans, when the pension plan alone is bankrupting our state.
  • If Oregon taxpayers’ contributions to government employee health plan premiums were at the U.S. average, the state could save hundreds of millions of dollars per budget cycle to invest in schools and other services.

Take a look at Oregon’s Ways and Means Committee budget framework available here and testify at a hearing with the committee in your area (details below). You also can send your input to Ways and Means members at

Please note that you will need to arrive at the location in advance in order to sign up to speak.  We suggest arriving an hour early.

 Hearing schedule:

Friday, February 10 — Salem
5 to 7 p.m.
Hearing Room F
Oregon State Capitol
900 Court Street NE, Salem

Saturday, February 11 — Portland
Noon to 2 p.m.
Main Mall, Amo DeBernardis CC Building
PCC, Sylvania campus
12000 SW 49th Ave, Portland

Friday, February 17 — Hermiston
5 to 7 p.m.
Main Commons
Hermiston High School
600 S 1st St, Hermiston

Saturday, February 18 — Madras
1 to 3 p.m.
Performing Arts Center
Madras High School
390 SE 10th St, Madras

Friday, February 24 — Ashland
5 to 7 p.m.
Rogue River Room
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd, Ashland

Saturday, February 25 — Eugene
1 to 3 p.m.
Rooms 308-309 Building 17 (The Forum)
Lane Community College
4000 E 30th Ave, Eugene

Friday, March 3 — Tillamook
6 to 8 p.m.
Officer’s Mess
Port of Tillamook Bay
6825 Officers Row, Tillamook