OSCC (Oregon State Chamber of Commerce – Advocacy Update
Provide Feedback on Legislative Framework Budget
Members and Colleagues –
As you know from our discussions about the Governor’s and Legislative Framework budgets, Oregon’s legislature is required by law to adopt a balanced two year budget. It is no easy feat and requires difficult trade-offs between competing programs and services. Here’s is your opportunity to tell the Legislature what really matters to you.
Take a moment to look through the Ways and Means Committee budget framework (Full Version) or (Summary Version).
Tell Legislators: Before making cuts to education, healthcare and other essential services for Oregonians, they must curb Oregon’s rapidly rising Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) costs and high government employee healthcare costs.
Your feedback can be provided by:
- Sending your input to Ways and Means members via email
- Testifying at a hearing in your community (see schedule below)
If you’d like to testify at a hearing, consider these facts. Bear in mind that short, succinct testimony is best.
- The State actually has $1.2 billion dollars more to spend this budget cycle than it did last budget. The $1.8 billion deficit being discussed is due to government costs that are increasing faster than the additional revenue.
- Since the end of the Great Recession, Oregon revenues have grown faster than almost every state in the nation. Oregon’s state tax revenues are at an all-time high.
- One of the biggest cost-drivers for this and future budgets is the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS), which diverts money away from Oregon’s classrooms and other services.
- The increased cost of PERS for school districts in the upcoming budget is the equivalent of paying for one week of school statewide or 1358 teachers; over the next three budgets this jumps to three weeks of school or 3750 teachers.
- Oregon is the only state in the country where public employees pay nothing for their pensions, which are fully paid by the taxpayers.
- While PERS pension costs are skyrocketing, the PERS system continues to operate a second, 401K-style retirement savings plan in addition to the pension plan. Taxpayers should not be required to pay for two retirement plans, when the pension plan alone is bankrupting our state.
If Oregon taxpayers’ contributions to government employee health plan premiums were at the U.S. average, the state could save hundreds of millions of dollars per budget cycle to invest in schools and other services
If you intend to testify in person, please note that you will need to arrive at the location in advance in order to sign up to speak. We suggest arriving an hour early.
Friday, February 10 — Salem
5 to 7 p.m.
Hearing Room F
Oregon State Capitol
900 Court Street NE, Salem
Saturday, February 11 — Portland
Noon to 2 p.m.
Main Mall, Amo DeBernardis CC Building
PCC, Sylvania campus
12000 SW 49th Ave, Portland
Friday, February 17 — Hermiston
5 to 7 p.m.
Hermiston High School
600 S 1st St, Hermiston
Saturday, February 18 — Madras
1 to 3 p.m.
Performing Arts Center
Madras High School
390 SE 10th St, Madras
Friday, February 24 — Ashland
5 to 7 p.m.
Rogue River Room
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd, Ashland
Saturday, February 25 — Eugene
1 to 3 p.m.
Rooms 308-309 Building 17 (The Forum)
Lane Community College
4000 E 30th Ave, Eugene
Friday, March 3 — Tillamook
6 to 8 p.m.
Port of Tillamook Bay
6825 Officers Row, Tillamook
Your engagement and feedback in this process is key to supporting the OSCC Legislative Priorities.