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Lawmakers Get Down To Business With Budget

Pete Springer/OPB

The legislative session officially kicked off in January but now is the time when the legislative session really gets going. On Monday, the co-chairs of the Ways & Means committee released the first draft (pdf) of the state budget, laying out their financial priorities for the next two years.

The budget framework revealed on Monday would increase spending for Oregon schools by almost $1 billion over the last biennium. That’s also more than Governor Kitzhaber allocated for schools in his budget proposal. In order to make those funds available, lawmakers propose reforming public employee retirement benefits as well as sentencing laws.

The Ways & Means budget proposal reflects the priorities of Democratic lawmakers. Republicans countered with their own ideas (pdf) about how the state should spend and save money over the next two years. The Republicans also want to see a significant increase in money for education, but they criticized Democrats’ approach to taxes.

What’s your reaction to the first draft of the budget? Are you a state employee or a parent with a child in public school? How would this budget plan affect you?

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