Updated budget provides no-new tax answer

Back to Basics Budget uses existing resources to fund Oregon priorities
By House and Senate Republicans,

Salem, OR — House and Senate Republicans announced on Tuesday an updated version of their Back to Basics Budget, revised for the May Revenue Forecast. The plan funds a full school year, makes targeted increases to human services and public safety, and leaves a $246 million surplus for targeted legislative add-backs and contingency reserves, all without raising taxes on Oregon families and businesses. After the May Revenue Forecast, Republicans were able to add back $545 million to human services and $28 million to public safety.

“After adjusting our numbers to reflect the most recent forecast, we made key investments in human services to support increased caseloads and public safety to protect new state troopers,” said Senator Chris Telfer (R-Bend). “Using the same strategy that Oregon families and small businesses are using to budget in these tough times, we don’t have to talk about raising taxes that will destroy Oregon jobs and hamstring our ability to get out of this recession.”

Highlights of the Back to Basics Budget include:

· The plan starts with the assumption that Oregon government does not need to increase taxes in order to provide the services that Oregonians need and value.

· The plan funds K-12 education with $6.245 billion, holding schools harmless with a zero cuts budget that ensures kids can receive a quality education through a full school year.

· The plan protects public safety, human services and other core functions by giving them at a minimum the exact budget they had last cycle.

· The plan leaves a $246 million surplus for legislative add backs, enhancements, contingencies and reserves.

“While the Democrat’s budget plan takes a step backwards when it comes to funding education, we continue to invest in this most important priority,” said Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day). “Democrats have poorly managed the fiscal affairs of the state, resulting in constant whiplash for vulnerable Oregonians and our most important services liked education. This budget sets clear priorities and doesn’t depend on more taxes to fund them.”

The Democrat’s budget cuts education funding by over $600 million and depends on $800 million in new taxes on Oregon small and family businesses. These tax increases are job-killers. One proposal will charge all businesses a tax just for the privilege of doing business in Oregon, whether or not that company is profitable or filing for bankruptcy. Another tax creates an 11% income tax bracket, the highest in the state, that will be paid mostly by Oregon small and family owned businesses.

“Oregon must not drive successful businesses and taxpayers away to other states where their capital, innovation and ability to create jobs would be more welcome,” said Representative Bruce Hanna (R-Roseburg). “The Back to Basics budget funds Oregon’s most critical programs and services, but does not raise taxes, threaten jobs or further damage our struggling economy.”

Republicans built the Back to Basics Budget using a philosophy that funds the most important, core services first. After creating a starting point that holds services like K-12 education, higher education, public safety agencies and human services providers harmless from any cuts from their 2007-09 funding levels, Republicans made targeted funding additions to protect vulnerable and needy Oregonians and ensure that new state troopers can continue patrolling streets and neighborhoods.