Representative Julie Parrish targets $50 Million in savings

Representative Julie Parrish targets $50 Million in savings 
Taxpayer Association lawmaker profile

Rep. Julie Parrish (R-West Linn) will introduce legislation (HB 4106) during the February session that would place a moratorium on all non-essential government spending, such as advertising and travel. Conservatively, Parrish believes the moratorium could save the State $50 million.

“The Ways and Means Committee does a good job looking at spending on the big items, spending at the macro level. I’m taking a micro approach.” According to Parrish, it’s often the small things that bust a family budget—too many coffee runs or eating out one too many times, for example.

Among other things, Parrish cites $1 million in increased travel expenditures for government officials and staff from 2009 to 2010, as well whole departments devoted to advertising and public relations. The Oregon Health Authority, for instance, has 20 plus employees devoted solely to increasing membership in its programs. In short, Oregon is spending major dollars promoting services that drain state coffers and for which the State may be unable to pay amid certain cutbacks.

“I want to focus on getting people back to work, not enrolling them in a government program.”
Parrish also noted that the way office budgets are set up perversely incentivizes lawmakers to spend all their money. If lawmakers don’t use their allotted funds, their budgets will be reduced. Parrish said she and her staff went line by line through the office budget and found areas to save.

While Parrish acknowledges that the comparison between state and family budgets doesn’t always hold, she said the principles governing state and family budgets are the same. “You have to save money as it comes in and you have to make money.” Bills, like HB 4106, that save money and bills that create wealth and put incidental dollars in people’s wallets to spend out in their communities “should be the focus of the February session and every session until we get Oregon working again.”

HB 4106 currently has more than a dozen cosponsors from both sides of the aisle.