October 2, 2013
CONTACT: Michael Gay
Compromise paves way for new money in classrooms,
mental health, senior services
Salem, OR -A bi-partisan agreement nearing final approval Wednesday has enabled funding increases for local schools and other core services. Months of hard work, long negotiations and a fierce commitment to reaching agreement has resulted in funding surges for key priorities, as well as PERS reform and tax certainty for small businesses.
"After years of underfunding, the legislature is poised to make historic investments in kids, seniors and the mentally ill, because Republicans and Democrats committed themselves to finding a compromise," said Senator Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River). "This is what happens when people are willing to put aside their differences in order to move Oregon forward."
House Bill 5101, which passed the Senate 27 to 1, authorizes a number of key budget expenditures, including:
- $100 million for Oregon classrooms to hire teachers, reduce class sizes and lengthen the school year
- $15 million for community colleges to freeze tuition increases
- $25 million to the Oregon University System to freeze tuition increases
- $41 million for senior programs that prevent elder abuse and improve the quality of long-term care
- $20 million in dedicated funding to mental health care
"Republicans recognize that we have a job to do: governing Oregon in a way that makes this a better place to live, work and play," said Senator Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro). "The best path for Oregon typically means working with Republicans and Democrats to find a common solution. It is not the easy way, but it is the better way."