HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Places » U.S. » Oregon (Group) » The Oregonian endorses Ka...

Sun Oct 16, 2016, 02:58 AM

The Oregonian endorses Kate Brown for governor

Few things matter more to this year's race for governor than the financial condition of the state. Yes, ideology of the candidates matters. Yes, too, experience and leadership skills matter. But the bottom line on success or failure ahead in Oregon's top public office will depend on who can get the money part right.

Oregon government walks on thin fiscal ice. Last month state economists revised earlier rosy predictions about projected revenue. While Oregon employment continues to surge, lawmakers will probably see about $68 million less than anticipated in general fund and Oregon Lottery revenue for the 2017-2019 biennium, expanding a looming budget deficit to $1.35 billion. The deficit must be faced head-on early next year, however, as the Legislature convenes to set policy and pay the state's bills, substantially higher than they have been. Rate increases in the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System alone drive expenses up more than $300 million. Without aligning revenue with government costs, lawmakers will have little choice but to slash public education and basic service spending. The next governor will have a key role in setting priorities.

There are no magic bullets. The public employee-union-backed Measure 97 a tax on corporations with gross annual sales in Oregon exceeding $25 million would generate more than $6 billion for the next two-year budget. While deeply flawed, the measure produces a catnip-like euphoria among many who feel it's time Oregon be done with its money woes. It would be unfair to say Gov. Kate Brown is narcotized by the prospect of new money, but she does have a spending plan for it and backs the measure. Her opponent, meanwhile, Republican Bud Pierce, opposes the measure, accusing Democrats of being moneyholics who only know how to expand government and run up bills.

Neither is quite right. Both candidates met separately with The Oregonian/OregonLive Editorial Board. Both made plain they care deeply about public education, as Oregon has among the worst high school graduation rates in the nation. They argue correctly that prosperity ahead depends on how well Oregon's youth performs today. Both also cite Oregon's overwhelmed transportation infrastructure and the pressing need to invest in roadway overhaul and expansion. But neither has the answer to the state's basic revenue problem, something Brown termed "huge and ongoing."

Read more: http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2016/10/after_fits_and_starts_its_kate.html

0 replies, 722 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Reply to this thread