Home Back Issues January 2013 Business leaders push legislative agenda in Salem

Business leaders push legislative agenda in Salem

| Print |  Email
Articles - January 2013
Monday, December 10, 2012
Article Index
Business leaders push legislative agenda in Salem
Healthcare and education
Revenue
Energy
Special interests

Revenue: Show us the money

The Oregon Business Plan, an economic and policy strategy guided by a coalition of business leaders, does outline a long-term plan for funding the state’s beleaguered public schools. The idea is to restructure K-20 institutions to make the system more efficient, then rein in escalating costs in other parts of the budget to shore up cash-strapped institutions. With education restructuring and health-care reform under way, the focus is turning to other “unsustainable cost drivers,” says Ryan Deckert, president of the Oregon Business Association.

On the top of the list is reforming the state’s Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), which is expected to cost all public employers, including school districts, an extra $1 billion next biennium. Two items on the agenda are reducing the earnings rate inside PERS accounts and the elimination of an income-tax break for retirees who move out of Oregon.

Kitzhaber has also identified PERS reform as a key issue. But the question is what the Legislature will be able to accomplish — politically and legally. Many elements of PERS are considered a binding promise in the state’s statutory contract with public employees. Lawmakers, business executives, and rank- and-file voters will also have to “convince the unions that having some PERS reform is important for the economy of the state,” says Jarman.

Business leaders are also pursuing corrections reform this session, with a focus on developing a more “rational sentencing and corrections model,” says Deckert. He points to Texas and Kansas, states that have reduced incarceration costs in part by redirecting funds for new prison construction into a more efficient network of residential and community-based treatment and supervision programs.

The business plan doesn’t end there. In the end, restructuring and cost containment simply lay the groundwork for what Deckert calls the “big enchilada” — reforming Oregon’s much-maligned tax code. But actual changes to the system, which could include a sales tax and corresponding reductions in capital gains and income taxes, will probably have to wait for another session, as lawmakers are not expected to come up with concrete options until at least 2014.



 

More Articles

Healthcare pullback

News
Thursday, November 20, 2014
112014-boehnercare-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Each month for Oregon Business, we assess factors that are shaping current capital market activity—and what they mean to investors. Here we take a look at two major developments regarding possible rollbacks of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


Read more...

The clean fuels opportunity

News
Monday, November 10, 2014
111014-dirtyfuel-thumbBY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A market for low-carbon transportation fuels has a chance to flourish in Oregon if regulators adopt the second phase of the state’s Clean Fuels Program.


Read more...

OB Poll: Wineries and groceries

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

24-winethumbA majority of respondents agreed: Local vineyards should remain Oregon-owned and quality is the most important factor when determining where to eat or buy groceries.


Read more...

Water World

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

Fred Ziari aims to feed the global population.


Read more...

Two Sides of the Coin

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
22 twosidesBY JASON NORRIS

Historically, when the leaves fall, so do the markets. This year, earnings, Europe, energy and Ebola have in common? Beyond alliteration, they are four factors that the investors are pointing to for this year’s seasonal volatility.


Read more...

Woman of Steel

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Tamara Lundgren tackles the challenges—without getting trampled.


Read more...

100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon [VIDEO]

News
Thursday, October 02, 2014

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 11.17.21 AMMore than 5,500 employees from 180 organizations throughout the state participated in the 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon project.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS