Historically, every December the Governor produces the Governor's Recommend Budget (GRB). This is comprised of information gathered from agencies, offices, and programs to assist the Budget and Management (BAM) analysts which the Governor in conjunction with BAM compiles the Essential Budget Level (EBL) budget. The EBL usually anticipates Current Service Level (CSL) of the government for the subsequent biennium.; which is adjusted for additional costs due to inflation, new legal requirements, salary increases, etc. Based on the EBL and quarterly revenue forecasts, the Governor develops the GRB, which outlines a balanced budget and new policy proposals for additional programs; which may or may not increase taxes.
Based on the GRB and CSL budgets, the Committee on Ways and Means then holds public hearings during the first few months of legislative session to discuss what each department, agency, program, etc, does and why they need the allotted amount of funding. During this time, the committee members are at liberty to ask questions and request additional research and or information to assist in further decisions in accordance to approving the proposed budget.
During the last few months of legislative session, the Joint Committee on Ways and Means is working hard to balance the budget with help of the Legislative Fiscal Office (LFO) and the testimonies from earlier in the session. A current budget is proposed, and if passed by both Senate and House Chambers, the budget is adopted. (Source; Dennis Richardson, Budgeting 101)
Here are a few highlights in some key categories;
- Additional $53.2 million for community-based mental health and addiction services while encouraging the development of collaborative approaches to mental health treatment
- $58.5 million for the Justice Reinvestment Grant Program, which funds reentry and recidivism reduction programs at the county level
- $18.3 million investment to Oregon State Police to maintain fish and wildlife division positions, add 20 new law enforcement openings, and 33 patrol vehicles for patrolling.
- $98.5 million for seismic rehabilitaions of schools and emergency service buildings
- $888,248 for Court Appointed Special Advocate programs
- 50 percent of the total $18.6 billion proposed budget will go to education, which is over a 10 percent increase in education from the 2013-15 budget
- $808.3 million reserved for targeted programs, including free all-day kindergarten with the hopes that all children read by 3rd grade
- $6.9 of the proposed $9.4 billion set aside for education will be going to K-12
- $55 million to increase quality and availability of child care programs for working families
- Mandate paid sick leave
- $648.9 million to Business Oregon to support job creation
(Click here to read the full GRB)