What’s The Business Community’s Role in Creating A Stable State Budget?

Oregon’s State Capitol building

Business For A Better Portland is asking its members for input on the current budget dilemma in Salem in order to ascertain if there is enough interest among our membership to engage on this issue at this time. Please reply by 4 p.m. Friday, May 19.

Background

The State of Oregon faces a $1.6 billion budget gap that will negatively impact schools and social services. (This figure may come down somewhat after the revenue forecast is released on Tuesday, May 16.) Following the defeat of Measure 97 in November 2016, leaders in the business community who had worked to defeat the measure offered that they would support some form of business tax if legislative leaders were able to assure cost reductions, especially ones pertaining to public employee unions. Over the past several months, a Joint Bipartisan Committee led by Senator Mark Hass has been working to develop a proposal that would address the cost-containment concerns while also modify the taxing mechanism. Here is a summary of the framework the joint committee is proposing. This summary shows how their proposal differs from Measure 97. Additionally, House Democrats released a proposal.

Current Negotiations

Despite the progress made on cost containment, some business organizations have indicated that they are no longer willing to discuss revenue options during this legislative session. We are concerned that their position will result in yet more delay in addressing inevitable revenue reform and dramatic cuts in critical State-funded programs including schools and health care programs. You can read more background on this here. This column provides a balanced summary of the current dynamic.

Due to the dire predictions of cuts that will further erode our schools and other social services, the BBPDX board released this statement last week to indicate our concern about the direction that the budget negotiations are currently headed.

We want to get input from our membership about engaging further with testimony to the Joint Committee on Tax Reform on Thursday, May 18 at 8:30 a.m.

Please help guide our engagement by taking this simple, 3-minute survey TODAY.