By Shelby Sebens | Northwest Watchdog
PORTLAND – Finding out how bad the state’s pension debt is and how elected officials are managing it will soon get a little bit easier for Oregonians.
After getting the nod of approval from the Transparency Oregon Advisory Commission last week, state Rep. Gene Whisnant, R-Sunriver, will see his push to improve the transparency of the state’s Public Employee Retirement System come to fruition.
Officials plan to add the data to the Oregon Transparency website, at no cost to the state.
“My objective is to better inform the public on the status of the PERS liability for the state but also for your city, your county, your school district, or your local service district,” Whisnant said in a press release.
The information was expected to be added to the transparency website on Tuesday, PERS spokesman David Crosley said. But Whisnant said Tuesday it could now be Friday or Monday, at the latest.
The transparency advisory commission is responsible for recommending to the state’s Department of Administrative Services what content to include on the transparency website.
Whisnant, who sponsored legislation in 2009 that created the transparency website, told Northwest Watchdog in September that he wants people to have access to the debt information because conflicting reports show the state’s unfunded liability ranging from $10.8 billion to $42 billion. PERS Board Executive Director Paul Cleary estimates the unfunded liability at about $16 billion but said the number changes year to year, depending on financial markets.