New Budget Transparency Website Launches

New Budget Transparency Website Launches December 30th
By Representative Arnie Roblan
Representative Jefferson Smith
Representative Kim Thatcher,

Representative Gene Whisnant

(Salem) An exciting new website will be launched today to give Oregonians more transparency in their state budget. The site, was created by legislation adopted unanimously by the 2009 Oregon Legislature. The co-chief sponsors on House Bill 2500 include State Representative Jefferson Smith (D-Portland), State Representative Arnie Roblan (Coos Bay), State Representative Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer, Newberg, St. Paul) and State Representative Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver).

The Department of Administrative Services (DAS) has been working on the site for the past six months and they were able to develop this new venture using existing resources. “I was very pleased to see the “can-do” approach from DAS, especially during tough budget times,” Thatcher noted, “the upcoming tax measures have generated a lot of questions from voters about the state budget and this new site should help them dig down for some answers.”

“My hope is that the more transparent we are, the more confidence and trust we build between the people of Oregon and their state government,” said Roblan. The web site has several pages to help citizens learn more about state agencies. It also covers “Money coming in — Revenue” and “Money going out — Expenditures”.

“I am proud to be part of the legislative team which produced the transparency website for the citizens and taxpayers of Oregon,” commented Whisnant. “This bill is an example of successful bipartisan work by legislators and support by DAS which the people expect from Salem. I am optimistic that we will make our website the easiest to use and the most informative of any state transparency website.”

Initially the site includes basic information but there are plans to expand and make it more user friendly. A special
9-member Transparency Oregon Advisory Commission was created by the legislation. “I hope the commission will do three things: Help Oregonians understand how the state spends public dollars and what that accomplishes, provide opportunities for constructive citizen input, and encourage greater efficiency in government,” said Smith.”I think the members of commission have similar goals, and I’m excited to work together.”

“This new website promises to be an excellent tool to allow the public to “˜google their government’,” added Jon Bartholomew, a member of the new commission and Policy Advocate with the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG). “The site will contribute to a greater understanding by the public of how Oregon government functions, which is good for our democracy. We look forward to working with the state to continually improve the usefulness and comprehensiveness of the site.”

Scott Harra, the Director of DAS explained, “this is a solid first step in answering the public’s need for information about what state government does and how it invests tax dollars. It’s a useful tool created with a minimal investment, as the legislature required. To provide a more elaborate report would require a substantial investment in our information systems, which our present budget cannot accommodate.”

By Representative Arnie Roblan
By Representative Jefferson Smith
By RepresentativeGene Whisnant
By Representative Kim Thatcher,

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Posted by at 06:39 | Posted in Measure 37 | 47 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Diamond Jim

    If people actually knew how the state spent their money it would ruin their entire year.
    This should be a great site. I only hope it actually shows how the state spends our money.
    For example, it could begin by showing how much was spent on the site itself.
    Then show us a breakdown of the budget for the Oregon Cultural Trust.
    Then DOT monies.
    And more!
    Should be fun.
    Thanks guys!

    • eagle eye

      Jerry never misses a chance to be cynical, does he?

  • Diamond Jim

    I LOVE this site. I just found an executive at PSU that is listed as unclassified and shows a salary of over $220,000 a year not including benefits.
    Who is making that much and shouldn’t they be trying to get some of the kids to graduate?? One of the lowest on-time four year graduation rates in the nation!
    Great work if you can get it.

    • anon

      I love it too…

      There are 2236 classified and administrative positions listed with a current enrollment of 26,000 or 11.62 students per non teaching employee.

      • anon

        For those that don’t get it the ratio of classified + admin at our local high school is 76.3 to one.

        Why does it take almost 7 time more employees to manage college students?

    • eagle

      Jerry — It’s called the MARKET.

      • Steve Plunk

        But Eagle, the market doesn’t work properly when bureaucrats are spending other people’s money. The same can be said for all public employees, the negotiators that should represent the taxpayers actually don’t. They do a poor job and as a result government salaries are inflated.

        • Anonymous

          It’s interesting, if I remember correctly, that you yourself chose to attend an Oregon public university, and your son goes to the same one (Southern Oregon U.) For your son, if not for you, the education is mostly unsubsidized, i.e. most of it is paid for by tuition. When it comes to the subsidy though — about $4000, more or less — you’re happy to take it, I guess. Either way, SOU is a very efficient deal: much lower tuition than private alternatives, and lower total expenditure than most private colleges.

          • Steve Plunk

            Market distortions are everywhere Eagle. Pointing them out doesn’t mean they are not appropriate, we make those decisions every day in our society. But to simply say it’s the market at work misleads. Our decision to subsidize public universities us much like the social contract for public schools k-12. My point stands that many government salaries are not market driven but rather distorted by the fact those making the decisions are spending other people’s money and they often are negotiating with groups they used to be a part of.

      • retired UO science prof

        I have to laugh when people get upset about executive salaries of $220 in public higher education. Having sat on search committees for high level administrative people, I know that $220K does not go far for top-level positions. When you offer below market — yes, eagle is right, it is the MARKET — you soon see it in the applicant pool you get, and then when it comes to getting people to accept your offer. No, Steve Plunk, public higher ed officials in Oregon are not overpaid according to the national market, and public higher ed officials are not overpaid compared to private higher ed officials, to say nothing at all about comparing them with profit-seeking corporate officials.

        And $220 thou is far from the top in Oregon public higher education. The recently hired president of UO, Richard Lariviere, is making something like $500 K. (About half of this comes from the UO Foundation). You might think this is too much, or you might not, but the fact is, this guy was only provost at the University of Kansas i.e. #2 at another middling state university. Yet he’s able to get this much from UO. Again, it’s the market. If you want to play in the national market for public higher education, this is what it takes.

        One more thing about Steve Plunk’s comment about spending other people’s money — let’s take at look at UO. Only about 10% of its budget comes from the state. The rest comes from tuition, dorm fees, federal research grants, athletic funds, gifts, endowment income, etc. So even if you don’t like the president’s salary, comfort yourself that most of it isn’t coming from the state.

        • Steve Plunk

          Professor, it’s still other people’s money that’s not being handled in a proper fiduciary manner. Saying we should take comfort that ours is but a small portion does not lessen the mishandling. The fact most taxpayers are unaware of these salaries is probably why some are as high as they are. No knowledge, no outrage.

          • retired UO science prof

            Well, I strongly object to the notion that the money is not being handled properly. What I said about the higher education market is still 100% accurate. Maybe you think someone like Lariviere is too fancy for Oregon? Well, I don’t, and I’d wager the vast majority of Oregonians don’t either (though they might begrudge him his salary, not being very attuned to how markets work.) You run a business, right? I hope you understand your business better than you understand the economics of higher education in Oregon.

            As eagle or anonymous or whoever points out, you seem to be quite satisfied to make use of Oregon public 4-yr. higher education, specifically SOU. If this is true, it’s hard to take you too seriously about the supposed corruption therein. You could either make use of the community college system, or closer to your apparent principles, a private (and probably far costlier) higher education option. Stanford or USC or Willamette U. or someone out there would be happy to take your money, satisfy your principles, and ease your worries about improper fiduciary behavior.

  • v person

    I actually own a transparent thong my partner purchased for me.

    • Oregonian

      Sounds hot.

      • v person

        Come out to my 5 acre, tax evaded home in Lebanon and I’ll show ya 😉

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