Rep. Drazan addresses Chamber of Commerce
Rep. Christine Drazan is not satisfied with the discussion surrounding ways to fund the Public Employees' Retirement System, or PERS, which faces a deficit of approximately $25 billion.
Drazan discussed PERS and other topics during a meeting of the Estacada Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, Feb. 21.
Last November, Drazan was elected to House District 39, which includes Estacada, Eagle Creek, Barlow, Barton, Beavercreek, Boring, Canby, Carus, Charbonneau, portions of Damascus and Happy Valley, Mulino, Redland and rural Oregon City areas. She serves on the Ways and Means Education Subcommittee, Economic Development Committee and Healthcare Committee.
During Thursday's gathering, Drazan discussed topics such as education funding and the Clean Energy Jobs Bill, and took questions from those in attendance.
She noted the significance of preserving the environment but expressed skepticism over the Clean Energy Jobs Bill, also known as cap-and-trade. Introduced in the Legislature last month, the bill would limit emissions from businesses and enact a fee on pollution.
"It troubles me structurally," she said, adding that spending in the bill could go to specific projects and may not be defined by elected officials. "It's not more planting trees or creating streamside buffers. The conversation was things are wrong sociatally because the climate has changed."
When asked about unfunded liability for PERS, Drazan said the discussion had not yet yielded any realistic solutions. She noted that possibilities included using the tax kicker or funds from the SAIF Fund.
"It's stealing from Peter to pay Paul," she said. "There's not an appetite to come together to have a real solution for that fund."
Drazan also noted that she would like to see additional funding go toward community colleges and career technical education programs.
"The governor has laid out a blueprint for how to approach students and families, but it doesn't give due to the skill building years," she said.
Drazan said that although there is some collaboration across party lines, this may not extend to significant bills.
"Lots and lots of stuff is bipartisan, but some high level changes in how communities operate and the economy runs look like they're going to come down to party lines," she said.
She encouraged everyone attending the meeting in Estacada to contact her about questions or concerns they may have.