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|Articles - January 2013|
|Monday, December 10, 2012|
Page 3 of 5
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.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
In this issue, we celebrate our 21st annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon project.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
BY DEBRA RINGOLD | GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
How can we strengthen the performance of institutions charged with teaching what Francis Fukuyama calls the social virtues (reciprocity, moral obligation, duty toward community, and trust) necessary for successful markets and democracy itself?
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER
It may be obvious, but most farmers don’t make a lot of money. According to preliminary data from the 2012 Agriculture Census, 52% of America’s 2.1 million principal farm-operators don’t call farming their primary occupation. Farm cooperatives may offer a solution.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
BY MARK BLAINE | OB BLOGGER
The publisher of the Emerald Media Group moves on, leaving a cutting edge media group that depends on business acumen for its survival.
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
BY APRIL STREETER | OB CONTRIBUTOR
Three years ago, PPS set out to begin to convert the 1930s-era boilers from diesel/bunker fuel to cleaner-burning natural gas. Oregon’s largest school district has realized impressive carbon dioxide emissions reductions, setting an example for public and private institutions.
Wednesday, April 02, 2014
A new report explores the impact of millennials on Oregon's business and political climate.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Our 100 Best Companies project turned 21 this year, so pop open the Champagne. Our latest survey gives us plenty to cheer.
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