This afternoon, the Oregon Legislature released a proposed budget that reflects how agencies could be funded with existing revenue. The message is loud and clear: we must raise significant additional revenue to provide children, seniors, and people with disabilities with the care they deserve while investing in Oregon’s future.
This budget is the beginning of a long process. In the coming months, the Legislature will make decisions on revenue, agency funding and specific programs — your voice is critical. We know we can’t continue pitting services for the most vulnerable among us against providing quality education to every child in Oregon. We need to grow the pie not just ask our legislators to make hard choices.
Key points from the proposed budget:
- The Oregon Health Plan is fully funded with no cuts to eligibility or benefits.
- 5% cut in every program area, with the exception of K-12 and the Oregon Health Plan. That means less money for foster kids, transportation, homecare and personal support workers, public safety and other state agencies. Such a cut would impact every SEIU 503 member and harm communities across Oregon.
- At public universities and community colleges, the proposed state appropriation in the budget will result in large tuition increases and Oregon’s $18 billion student debt crisis will continue to grow at an unacceptable rate.
- The Co-Chairs budget clearly looks to the future, as our state’s economic stability heading into 2020 is insecure, they have increased the constitutionally required reserve funds by 1%, requiring a 2% set aside. These funds can be used to defend against an economic downturn or to pay down the PERS unfunded actuarial liability (UAL).
Most importantly, today’s budget makes it clear that a sustainable plan for Oregon’s budget is dependent on raising revenue this session. The cuts to state agencies, homecare and higher education are a stark warning.