Democratic and Republican budget strategies collide

Rep. Dennis Richardson

Rep. Dennis Richardson

Without Republican presence at the table, last week the Democratic Co-Chairs of Ways and Means in the Oregon Legislature released a proposed state budget for 2013-15 that only reflects one party’s approach.  In response, House and Senate Republican leaders created their own Leadership Budget as an alternative to the Democratic Co-Chairs Budget. By contrasting the two we can see distinctively different approaches to crafting the State Budget.

The Democratic Co-Chairs Budget.  To balance the 2013-15 State Budget, the Democrats “assume:”

1.       $1.7 billion of ADDITIONAL REVENUE — a 10 percent increase over 2011-13;

2.       $150-200 million of UNSPECIFIED CUTS to programs and agency budgets;

3.       $275 million of TAX INCREASES on Oregon businesses and families;

4.       $350 million of PERS DEBT PAYMENT DEFERRAL;

5.       $455 million of PERS REFORMS — less than half of the $906 million PERS rate increase for just 2013-15.

The Republican Leadership Budget. With the $1.7 billion increase in 2013-15 revenue, the Republican Leadership Budget adjusts for approximately 6 percent inflation and population increases and balances without tax increases, without undisclosed reductions and without borrowing from the PERS Fund. The Republicans will live within forecast revenue and ‘assume” the legislature will:

1.       Rein in unsustainable growth in government,

2.       Realign spending priorities with an emphasis on K-12 Education,

3.       Reserve funds to stabilize expenditures during the next recession.

One of these two divergent political philosophies will determine the effect on taxpayers, the state’s budget, and Oregon’s economic future.

You decide which approach is better.


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