The Associated Press
SALEM - Instead of rising steeply, the rates that 800 public employers will have to pay toward their employees' retirement benefits are expected to rise only slightly in the next two years.
The board of the Public Employees Retirement System voted Thursday to make more technical changes that will help stabilize benefits costs for the next few years, said Executive Director Paul Cleary.
The moves will save state and local governments $230 million per year, officials said.
"We hopefully shouldn't see any increases," said Steve Manton, a pension-benefits specialist for the city of Portland.
Government employers had been bracing for a whopping increase in PERS rates in mid-2007. The PERS board had decided to ease the pain of a mid-2005 increase by deferring half of it for two years.
The PERS Board now has taken several steps to alleviate state government, schools, cities and counties.
Last month, the board agreed to shift $1.6 billion in reserves, effectively using that money to lower employer costs. An Oregon Supreme Court decision about pensions also dampened the expected increase.
The changes won't affect pension benefits for the roughly 100,000 retirees and 200,000 workers in the system.
Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com