OREGON HOUSE REPUBLICANS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2011
Contact: Nick Smith
CO-CHAIRS BUDGET REFLECTS REPUBLICAN PRIORITIES ON SPENDING, RESERVES, EARLY K-12 FUNDING
SALEM—House Republicans today said the bipartisan 2011-13 Co-Chairs Budget reflects Republican efforts to bring state spending under control. Republicans say the budget includes significant reserves to protect Oregon from another economic downturn, and helps fulfill their commitment to pass the K-12 education budget early in the session.
“The Co-Chairs Budget offers a prudent spending plan for the next two years and beyond,” said Joint Ways and Means Co-Chair Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point). “We start by utilizing a revenue-based budgeting process, instead of an expenditure-based process. This means the budget was developed with available revenue, not tax increases that would further harm our economy.”
The $14.65 billion spending plan sets aside a total of $460 million in reserves to protect essential services during uncertain economic times. With the exception of K-12 education, state agency budgets are fully-funded for the first year of the biennium (2011-12), and 93 percent funded for the second year of the biennium (2012-13).
Republicans say this will give state agencies a year to implement leaner, smarter and more efficient reforms in their operations, and time to prepare for their 2012-13 budgets when they decrease by seven percent.
If state revenue is stable or higher by the scheduled forecast in February 2012, the Legislature may use all or a portion of $310 million from a “supplemental ending balance” to return agency budgets to their 2011-12 levels. If state revenue is down, the supplemental ending balance will provide greater stability and prevent further cuts to critical programs and services.
“Oregon’s economic recovery remains uncertain, and it is important for the Legislature to be prudent and prepared,” Rep. Richardson said. “The Co-Chairs Budget gives the Legislature, Governor and agency directors more time to reform how the state delivers services. It also protects Oregon in the event our recovery falters.”
The Co-Chairs Budget proposes higher K-12 funding compared to the Governor’s Recommended Budget and utilizes $100 million from the Education Stability Fund. With this agreement, the Legislature is poised to fulfill Republicans’ commitment to pass the K-12 budget early in the session.
“This session we are eliminating the ‘politics of delay’ when it comes to the K-12 budget,” Rep. Richardson said. “I’m pleased the Legislature is on track to pass an early K-12 budget that gives school districts the certainty needed to determine their own funding before the fiscal year begins. The early passage of the K-12 budget ensures that kids are placed at the front of the line for our limited state resources.”