Governor Kate Brown, Senate President Peter Courtney, and Speaker Tina Kotek today released the following statement:
“For the past several months, the Legislature has worked hard to balance the state’s budget. There is now a clear path to rein in costs and protect vital services in this biennium. To protect access to health care and keep premiums lower, the Legislature has passed a package of bills that will save coverage for a million low-income Oregonians on the Oregon Health Plan. To reduce the cost of delivering state services, we have offered a plan to save nearly $1 billion in total funds through the Governor’s executive actions and the bipartisan cost-containment strategies in Senate Bill 1067.
“While we are able to protect critical services for now, in the long run we must do more. For two decades, lawmakers have struggled to patch together budgets that fund the basic needs of our state amidst the ups and downs of the economy. As we have said since the start of session, the shortfall in the current two-year budget is a red flag – a sign that short-term fixes will not keep up with the priorities of our growing state for much longer.
“Recognizing that imbalance, we have worked for months with legislators in both parties, business leaders, and labor leaders, to identify ways to reduce state spending, contain costs going forward, and finally reform our revenue system. While we are moving forward on several major cost containment measures, it has become clear that the Legislature will not have the necessary support to achieve structural revenue reforms this session.
“Still, we have laid the groundwork for long-term reform to bring balance to our budget and tax system. As the Legislature closes out its business, we will also start planning the next steps to lead to success in the 2019 session. We appreciate the leaders who have come forward to provide meaningful input so far, and look forward to continuing that work. To achieve resolution for our state, all parties will need to stay at the table, focus on structural reform rather than short-term patches that merely shore up the next two-year budget, and be ready to compromise for the good of the state.”