Unions challenge PERS cuts

SALEM — As expected, public employee unions have filed a legal challenge to the Oregon Legislature's effort to cut benefits for retired public employees. The Oregonian reports that a coalition of unions has petitioned the state Supreme Court to review Senate Bill 822, which has been signed by Gov. John Kitzhaber.

The bill reduces cost-of-living increases for people who get benefits under the Public Employee Retirement System. It also cuts benefits for PERS members who live out of state and don't pay Oregon income taxes.

The unions contend the changes amount to a breach of contract and ask that it be declared unconstitutional,

Portland attorney Greg Hartman argues that the benefit reductions amount to an unconstitutional "taking of property without proper compensation."

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