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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Opponents Pack PERS Hearing In Salem

SALEM, Ore. – Public employees in Oregon are voicing their objections to a measure aimed at cutting the cost of public pensions. They packed a legislative hearing in Salem Wednesday. Legislative budget-writers have floated a proposal that would limit cost of living increases for retired workers.

James Jacobsen is an administrative assistant in the College of Education at the University of Oregon. He expects to retire in about four years. And he says lawmakers are looking for cash in the wrong place.

"It's the absolute worst way to raise revenue, taking it away from retirees," Jacobsen says. "Retirees who have worked many years in the system. And they negotiated these agreements by taking lower pay."

Majority Democrats say money raised through the plan would go toward K-12 education. Republicans say the Democrats' plan doesn't go far enough. GOP lawmakers want to make deeper cuts to the public retirement system.

Oregon lawmakers will hold another hearing on the proposal Thursday morning.

On the Web:

Oregon Senate Bill 822: PERS cost-of-living adjustments - Oregon Legislature