Oregon Senate Republicans
Oregon House Republicans
Salem, OR – House and Senate Republican leaders today offered an alternative 2013-15 state budget proposal with no new taxes on Oregonians. Republicans say their budget reflects reasonable PERS reforms to restore a full school year and reduce class sizes, and also establishes larger reserve funds to protect critical services throughout the biennium.
“We developed this blueprint in the spirit of co-governance, which produced the most fiscally-responsible budget in many years,” said Rep. Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point), Vice Chair of the Joint Ways and Means Committee. “Our budget continues bipartisan reforms that were put in place in the previous biennium. It also recognizes savings from PERS reforms that key education groups are asking the Legislature to adopt.”
The Republican blueprint initially increases K-12 education funding by 14.6 percent, yet schools would have the equivalent of $7.15 billion to spend if the Legislature passes reasonable PERS reforms. Republicans will also seek to increase funding for higher education, human services and public safety, but will seek limits on debt spending and administrative overhead.
“Our proposal would result in more teachers in the classrooms, smaller class sizes and a longer school year,” Rep. Richardson said. “Just as we accomplished in 2011, K-12 education funding should be the first budget bill the Legislature approves this session.”
The blueprint also ensures, for the first time, a direct allocation to the Oregon Rainy Day Fund. In addition, Republicans will call for a $300 million ending balance that would be used to cover potential budget shortfalls if Oregon experiences a sudden decline in tax revenues. When existing resources are added, Republicans would set aside a total of $900 million in reserves.
“Oregon state government will have 10 percent more money to spend in the 2013-15 biennium,” said Sen. Doug Whitsett (R-Klamath Falls), a key Senate Republican on the Ways and Means Committee. “Republicans believe Oregon should have a balanced budget, without new taxes and excessive debt that would harm our economic recovery. We also believe the Legislature should, during periods of growing revenues, set aside large reserves to sustain the budget during these uncertain economic times.”
Republicans say they’ll continue to work with Democrats on developing the final 2013-15 budget, but expressed concerns about the Democratic Co-Chairs’ budget outline.
“The Co-Chairs budget is balanced on assumed tax increases, assumed cuts to our corrections system and cosmetic PERS measures that merely kick the can down the road,” said House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte), a Ways and Means member. “We’re prepared to work with Democrats on a budget that doesn’t hurt our economy or our public safety, but one that sustains essential services throughout the biennium. Republicans will work to make K-12 schools the highest priority in the state budget, and we’ll continue to call for reasonable PERS reforms that help our school districts over the long term.”
Details of the Republican budget blueprint can be accessed here.