January 23, 2012
I am State Representative Dennis Richardson and I need your help in resolving Oregon’s State Budget crisis.
The graph below shows the drastic decline in income taxes and other revenues over the past three years. Just in the last six months of 2011, since the Legislature’s 2011 Session ended, the State Revenue Forecast decreased by another $306 million.
As one of three Co-Chairs of Oregon’s Joint Senate-House Ways & Means Committee, I am struggling to develop recommendations on how best to solve Oregon’s revenue short-fall and rebalance the State Budget in the upcoming February 2012 Legislative Session. “Thinning the soup” by squeezing agency budgets can only go so far. In addition to cutting budgets, it is time to seriously consider how we can make Oregon’s departments and programs more efficient and economical. Doing so will help fill the current budget’s “hole,” and it will product compounding savings in future State Budgets.
I had planned to contact you with a survey regarding jobs, regulations, and government oversight, but that survey will have to wait. Today, I need your suggestions, if any, on what changes could be made by July 1, 2012 on how the State does business that will save money while keeping our citizens safe, our students in school and our most vulnerable senior and disabled citizens cared for.
I need rational ideas from knowledgeable, clear-thinking Oregonians on how to reform state government. If you have any, please share them with your Co-Chairs and Legislative leaders. We will consider all suggestions as we grapple with Oregon’s gaping multi-million dollar revenue “hole.”
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