Governor Kitzhaber released his budget this morning – it doesn’t call for any tax increases, but does contain some surprises.
The grim task of balancing Oregon’s budget begins today as lawmakers report for work at the State Capitol.
We get a little national context to our 25% ($3.5 billion) budget shortfall – some states are down 45% – and hold on tight as worried Oregonians brace for budget cuts.
Kitzhaber releases budget recommendations
Kitzhaber releases budget, calls for big changes in state government
"His budget calls for no tax increases, nor does it go after high-profile cuts, such as eliminating state cell phones or cars, as Gov. Jerry Brown has demanded in California. Kitzhaber said he expects fierce political pushback on his proposals for school and health care spending. School lobbyists have been pushing for $5.8 billion, saying even that level barely keeps districts afloat. Kitzhaber’s opening offer is $5.56 billion. The proposed budget contains some surprises."
Kitzhaber would delay state prison in Junction City
"Gov. John Kitzhaber’s 2011-2013 spending proposal calls for a further delay in building a prison in Junction City, maintains Oregon State Police highway patrols by asking voters to approve using gas-tax revenue to pay for them, and frees local school districts to shop around for services rather than rely on those from regional education service districts. proposes overall general fund spending of $14.55 billion. Here’s how that money, most of it from income taxes, would be distributed along major program areas…"
OPINION: The first step on Oregon’s path to a better future
"JOHN KITZHABER — We have an opportunity, this year, to set Oregon on a course to a bright future. Oregon’s budget shortfall represents an opportunity to change and improve the way the state does business. We cannot rely on the ways we have done things in the past, even though they are familiar to us. The balanced budget I’m delivering today breaks decisively with the past and confronts the hard budget and spending choices that have been avoided or masked by one-time funding."
Kitzhaber to release budget recommendations
"Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber is preparing to announce his recommendations for closing a big budget gap. Kitzhaber has scheduled a press conference Tuesday morning to detail his recommendations. The governor has already hinted that he’ll propose steep cuts to health care, education and public safety."
Kitzhaber hopes budget can unite Oregon
Portland Business Journal
"Kitzhaber, though, isn’t taking any chances that the deficit might be lower than anticipated. He told the Oregonian newspaper last week that his proposed budget will include a $25 million reduction in capital gains taxes for investors putting money into Oregon businesses. He also said in December that the state’s public health care program alone faces some $1.23 billion in cuts."
Legislative session begins
Kitzhaber budget will mean the beginning of legislative business
"Having dispensed with the hoopla three weeks ago, Oregon lawmakers get down to the serious business of the 2011 session starting today. Gov. John Kitzhaber will start that process this morning when he unveils how he would spend $14.8 billion in tax collections and lottery proceeds on state services and aid to public schools in the next two years."
Oregon Legislature begins Tuesday with 1,600 bills and a $3.5 billion shortfall
"This Oregon Legislature kicks off Tuesday with an overflowing plate of issues and a $3.5 billion budget shortfall. With an evenly divided House of Representatives and a Senate with 16 Democrats and 14 Republicans, nearly every vote will require bi-partisan support. And for the first time, lawmakers have a deadline: 150 days to get it all done. Here’s what to watch…"
Oregon legislature starts grim budget task
"Moments after taking office, Gov. John Kitzhaber made clear that his first task will be balancing a state budget bleeding money. Legislative leaders agreed. On Tuesday, they’ll dive into the daunting task as lawmakers begin the 2011 legislative session. When they’re done, Oregonians will be left with less generous state services — perhaps reduced benefits on the Oregon Health Plan, possibly larger classes in public schools and maybe fewer convicts behind bars."
Salem ’11: Getting down to business
"The Oregon Legislature officially begins their annual session Tuesday. But lawmakers were already in Salem on Monday, to prepare themselves for the tough tasks ahead of them, including fixing the state’s budget shortfall and drawing new district boundaries."
State braces for painful cuts in Kitzhaber’s budget proposal
"The sagging economy means Oregon is bringing in less tax money than it did in booming times. The state also will not be able to rely on more than $1 billion in one-time funds that propped up the budget over the last two years. Most of that money was federal stimulus funds."
BLOG: Governor’s budget: Some 50-state context
"From high-tax, high-service states to low-tax, low-service states, just about everyone’s got a budget gap. By total dollars, Oregon’s shortfall ranks #16. As a percentage of state budget, Oregon’s shortfall amounts to roughly 25% of the total budget – which ranks as the sixth-largest budget gap in the nation."
Rep. Greg Smith paints gloomy school funding picture
La Grande Observer
"State Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner, is not mincing words when addressing the funding outlook for education in Oregon. Smith said the state budget picture for schools is bleak and he does not see the picture brightening before the legislative session, which begins Tuesday, concludes. Smith is disheartened as he talks to others about budget prospects before the opening of the session. The state representative that by the time Oregon’s 2011 legislative session is over, everyone in education will be disappointed."
Is a 6.5% compensation increase unfair?
"So, assuming lawmakers find the courage to enter the arena with public employee unions, expect to hear a lot about the following number: 6.5 percent. If the state somehow managed to limit increases in public employees’ total compensation — pay plus benefits — to 6.5 percent over the next two years, the report argues, the general fund could save $400 million."
Tough budget year in 2011
Ontario Argus Observer
"Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber sent a clear message to Oregonians while visiting Ontario last week. With the start of an unprecedented third term as governor, Kitzhaber is staring a very challenging legislative session in the face when the session begins this week. ‘I guess the larger message here is there is no way we can get through the next two years by continuing to provide public services the way we used to,’ Kitzhaber said. ‘We’ve got to re-engineer them and redesign from health care to education.’"
Oregon’s cash assistance program helps far fewer needy families than 15 years ago
"Tomorrow’s release of Governor Kitzhaber’s budget may bring more bad news for TANF. OCPP said they expect that the Governor will call for deep cuts to the program. On the eve of Governor John Kitzhaber’s release of a budget proposal that may call for deep cuts to the state’s largest cash assistance and job training program for destitute families with children, a national think tank reports that as a result of welfare reform 15 years ago, Oregon is helping far fewer poor families than it once did."
State workers’ food drive goal is 3.5 million meals
"State workers will try to raise enough food during the coming month to serve 3.5 million meals to hungry Oregonians — the lofty goal set for the 30th annual Governor’s State Employee Food Drive. Monday marked the first day of the food drive, which runs through February and into the first days of March."
Poll: Oregonians get unexpected confidence rebound
Oregon Business Report
"The majority of Oregonians today are still in a pessimistic mood, however, their negativity has tempered significantly in the past three months. On the issues front, however, not much has changed – voters continue to complain loudly and clearly that the economy is still the greatest challenge facing the state."
Kitzhaber to visit China to tout Oregon as travel, investment site
"Gov. John Kitzhaber plans this fall to visit China, which is now Oregon’s largest trading partner. Kitzhaber made the comment Monday while he met with Gao Zhansheng, China’s consul general based in San Francisco, and other visitors including reporters for Chinese newspapers."