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Oregon Legislature passes bill creating new funds to help with pension contributions

The Oregon Legislature passed a bill aimed at reducing the $74.6 billion Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund's unfunded liability.

The bill sets up two new funds, a side account for school districts to be invested alongside pension assets to reduce school district's pension contributions, and an incentive fund to match certain lump-sum employer contributions to the pension plan.

Gov. Kate Brown, who helped champion the legislation, is expected to sign it in the next couple of weeks after the bill undergoes the typical legal review process, said Bryan Hockaday, press secretary for Ms. Brown, in an email.

Some of the revenues to be directed to the school district fund include some proceeds from debt collection, capital gains tax, estate tax, marijuana tax, alcohol taxes and lawsuit settlements, as well as lottery revenues.

The incentive fund is designed to give employers an incentive to make an additional one-time contribution. Oregon would match the extra contribution 25 cents on the dollar.

The bill also directs the state treasurer to study the feasibility and prudence of borrowing money in the Oregon Short Term Fund, a $15.7 billion short-term cash investment pool in which a number of local governments and state agencies participate, to be redeployed into investments. The state treasurer is to report the results of the study to the Legislative Assembly no later than Sept. 30, 2019.