by Dan Lucas
Here’s a fact check on the article:
1. Basic facts in headline – Rating: Wrong! It’s not a $3 billion dip for the All Funds budget. It’s $3 billion just for the Federal portion of the state budget. Harry Esteve’s information in the article is accurate, but whoever created the headline made a mistake. The headline should have read “Oregon’s ‘all funds’ budget takes a $4.4 billion dip”, or “Oregon’s ‘Federal funds’ budget takes a $3 billion dip”.
2. Immediate context – Rating: Misleading/deceptive. The budget numbers being compared are not apples-to-apples. The article doesn’t mention that when comparing the same versions of the budget to the previous budget cycle, it’s actually a $1.9 billion INCREASE (3.4%) in the All Funds budget. (SEE attached budget chart)
When the legislators left the capitol at the end of the 2009 Regular Session in June 2009, the All Funds budget was $55.9 billion for the budget cycle (2009-11).
When the legislators left the capitol at the end of the 2011 Regular Session last month, the All Funds budget was $57.8 billion for the budget cycle (2011-13). That’s a $1.9 billion INCREASE (3.4%).
Budgets keep moving – The last budget (2009-11) began as $55.9 billion at the end of the 2009 Regular Session. DURING the course of the budget cycle (biennium), the 2009-11 All Funds budget grew by $6.3 billion, ending at $62.2 billion by the end of the budget cycle (last month).
Also, when the article notes “Rocco and his colleagues are now estimating that figure will drop by more than $3 billion” when referring to the Federal Funds portion of the state budget, the article should have ALSO pointed out that $3 billion is exactly what the previous Federal Funds budget grew by DURING the last budget cycle. So, here at the start of the current budget cycle, the Federal Funds budget of around $14 billion is the same as the previous Federal Funds budget at the start of the previous budget cycle.
3. Larger context – Rating: Misleading. Oregon’s All Funds budget has DOUBLED in last 10 years, from the 1999-2001 budget cycle to the budget cycle just completed. Besides the issues noted in #2 above, to just note a “dip” in the ‘all funds’ budget without presenting the larger context presents a very misleading picture. (click here to see a July 2010 Oregonian chart showing state spending has doubled in 10 years)
Even the current All Funds budget has already grown by $2.5 billion since February! Governor Kitzhaber’s All Funds budget in February was $55.3 billion. The budget just adopted by the legislature in June was $57.8 billion – an increase of $2.5 billion in just four months!
FEDERAL PORTION OF THE STATE BUDGET HAS DOUBLED IN TWO BUDGET CYCLES
Kudos to Harry Esteve’s article: Harry Esteve noted in his article that the Federal Funds in the Oregon budget have DOUBLED in just two budget cycles! The Federal Funds budget went from $8.25 billion in the 2005-07 budget to $17.7 billion in the 2009-11 budget. For a sense of scale: the entire General & Lottery Funds budgets are under $15 billion.