Allen Alley: Oregon spends 61% more than Colorado, yet fewer people

By Allen Alley,
Oregon Transformation Project

We have made great progress with our Oregon Transformation website that examines the Oregon State Budget in a way never done before. Democrats, Republicans and Independents have already begun hundreds of discussions about how to improve our state’s financial condition. Click here to see what others are saying.

One person asked us to compare Oregon and Colorado budgets. So we did. While Colorado has 31% more people than Oregon and Colorado’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is 38% higher than ours, Oregon Government spends an astonishing 61% more than Colorado! We have done a first cut at the analysis. Click here to see the results. We need your help to dive in and add more information.

This demonstrates the difficulty of state-to-state comparisons because the states do not use a standard “chart of accounts”. It would be a great thing for our next Governor to drive standard budget reporting with a couple of peer states. It’s easy to do, dramatically improves transparency, and gives us something to measure ourselves against. This is one example of the many low cost, high return ideas you are helping us develop. Click here to join the discussion.

Speaking of measures. Here is the link to the PEW study from last November putting us in the special group of one of the states in the greatest financial peril with our friends to the south.