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Kitzhaber's Plan for Oregon (Full Report)

Kitzhaber's Plan for Oregon (Full Report)

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Published by Statesman Journal

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Published by: Statesman Journal on Sep 08, 2010
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Kitzhaber 2010 |
A Plan to Rebuild and Reinvest in Oregon.
 A Plan to Rebuild and Reinvest in Oregon.
Like all states Oregon is facing a serious fiscal crisis driven by some very disturbing trends. Today thepercentage of Oregon tax dollars spent on prisons and the human cost of things like addiction, neglectand abuse is increasing. But the percentage we spend on educating our children and building a bettereconomy is decreasing. And this trend is accelerating.To understand the problem this creates we need to understand the two ways in which Oregon spendsmoney. The first way we spend money is by investing in people – in children and families, in educationand in workforce development – investments which make people’s lives better; which give them a pathwayto a family wage job; which give them a secure future; and which lift up our whole state. Educated citizensare more likely to succeed in the workplace and less likely to need social support services or to becomeinvolved in the criminal justice system.The other way we spend money is by taking care of problems after they have developed – in foster care,in public assistance, in the criminal justice system. Locking people up in our jail and prisons; and much of what we spend in our health care system and social support systems are expenditures – important in thesense that they deal with immediate problems -- but problems that could be prevented if we increased thesize and effectiveness of our investment in people.Today we are spending more on problems than we are investing in people and it is taking us in the wrongdirection. We have our priorities backwards and the central challenge facing Oregon today is to reversethis trend. To do so requires three steps. First we must set clear priorities; a clear vision of where we wantour state to be in the future. Second, we must overhaul state government to deliver on those priorities.That starts with balancing the next budget by focusing the resources we have on the goals we need toachieve. Third, we must stay the course by developing a reinvestment plan – a clear strategy to guidehow we will invest new revenues that become available in the future in a way that will continue to move ustoward our goal.
Step One: Set Clear Priorities
By 2020, the end of this decade – by the time the children entering kindergarten this year graduatefrom high school -- we should live in a state where all of our children are ready to learn before they getto school; where we have eliminated the achievement gap on the front end; where drop out rates aresteadily falling and graduation rates are steadily rising; where all Oregon high school graduates are pre-pared to pursue a post-secondary education without remediation; and where 80 percent of them achieveat least two years of post-secondary education or training. We should live in a state that creates familywage jobs and career pathways that lead to those jobs; and where the average per capita income exceedsthe national average in every region.If we commit ourselves to building that future; we can, over time, reverse our current trend of disinvestment in education; we can increase the per capita income of Oregonians; we can reduceincarceration rates and the cost of corrections; and we can reduce the cost of human service programs.We must recognize, however, that we cannot achieve this vision over night -- it will take eight to ten years.But if we commit ourselves to achieving it; if we agree that this is the kind of future we want to build forour state; it can provide a context and a road map for the individual decisions we will have to make alongthe way. It will inform us as to whether individual choices move us toward – or steer us away from -- ourgoal. This will be particularly important in managing through our looming budget crisis.
Kitzhaber 2010 |
A Plan to Rebuild and Reinvest in Oregon.
Step Two: Overhaul State Government to Deliver Priorities
Oregon faces a projected revenue shortfall for the 2011-2013 biennium of over $3 billion
. This poses asigni
cant challenge in terms of maintaining important public services over the short term; and setting ourstate on a new course over the long term. The key to managing this
scal crisis lies in viewing it throughthe lens of a ten year budget strategy; not just a two year strategy. In other words, we can no longer tryto manage Oregon around a two year budget. We need a ten year budget framework – with projectionsof both revenues and expenditures – which can give us a framework for balancing the 2011-2013 budgetin a way that meets our current responsibilities; while laying the foundation for reaching our destination –our vision for 2020.I believe that next year will be our most dif 
cult -- which is why we have to approach it together andapproach it correctly. We are at or near the low point in state revenues; and at or near the highpoint interms of human need (more people on food stamps, the Oregon Health Plan, unemployment insurance,etc.). Therefore we should not delude ourselves into believing that balancing the next budget is going tobe simple or easy. It isn’t. It will require some very dif 
cult choices; it will require managing to a clear setof priorities – within the revenue we have – and in a way that re
ects our long term vision. It will requiretriage; and it will require leadership with the courage and discipline to look beyond the next two years towhere we want Oregon to be in 2020.But if we do this right – and if we do it together – the 2011-2013 beinnium can become the “
oor” –the foundation on which we will rebuild our Oregon: rebuild our economy; rebuild our system of publiceducation; rebuild our system of support for the vulnerable among us; and rebuild the sense of communitywhich has always been a hallmark of Oregon and Oregonians.In short we must view the upcoming biennium as the
rst and foundational step of four linked steps toachieve our vision by 2020. Toward that end, I will present to the 2011 Legislative Assembly with twodocuments. First, I will present a budget using the revenue we do have to begin to change our pattern of investments going forward and to lay the foundation for Oregon’s future – and a down payment on thatfuture.Second, I will present a prioritized “reinvestment budget” which will show how I propose to invest newrevenues that become available in the future. In other words, I will lay out a plan that details the steps andinvestments we must make in 2011-2013; in 2013-2015; in 2015-2017; and in 2017-2019 in order to createa different future for our state.
Step 1
Set Clear Priorities
Oregon in 2020Step 2
Overhaul StateGovernment Changing our Patternof Investment 
Step 3
Focus on the Future
Private Sector Job Growth
Per capita income
Cost of Public Safety
Cost of Human Services
Cost of HealthCare/Energy
 A Plan to Rebuild and Reinvest in Oregon

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