The Associated Press
SALEM - A legal challenge by public employees to planned changes in their retirement system is now ready for the Oregon Supreme Court.
A report released Thursday by Oregon Court of Appeals Judge David Brewer, chosen to gather information for the Supreme Court, sets the stage for the high court to decide the legal issues in the case. The justices have scheduled oral arguments for July 30.
State, school and local government workers claim the overhaul of the Public Employees Retirement System by legislators and Gov. Ted Kulongoski violates their constitutional contract and property rights.
"This provides the factual background against which the court will then apply the law," said Greg Hartman, an attorney for a group of public employee unions challenging the legislative changes.
Kulongoski and the Legislature made extensive changes in the 300,000-member retirement system last year that are expected to reduce the system's long-term costs - and workers' pensions - by about $9 billion.
State and local governments defend the changes, saying they were necessary to control the rising costs of a system providing among the highest pensions of any public pension plan in the nation.
Information from: Statesman Journal