While the economic recovery is tenuous, and the long-term challenges facing Oregon and the nation are severe, Oregon leaders made significant progress this year improving the climate for growing jobs and incomes in our state.  We applaud Governor Kitzhaber, Senate President Courtney, Co-speakers Hanna and Roblan, and the entire legislative assembly for rolling up their sleeves, putting aside partisan differences and working to improve Oregon’s economic health and the well-being of Oregonians.
While significant progress was made, many Oregonians are still struggling to find work and the budget cuts that were made this year will have real consequences for individuals and families.  But, given the hand they were dealt, Oregon lawmakers banded together, solved problems and set the stage for future job and income growth.
Other states that are struggling to balance their budgets (and in some cases shutting down their governments) should look to Oregon as an example of successful bi-partisan leadership.

Below is a summary report on progress and next steps on the Oregon Business Plan.  Click here for a PDF version.

Oregon Business Plan Progress Report [1]

Goals: 25, 000 new jobs per year and per capita income above the U.S. average by 2020

  • Over 16, 000 new jobs created in Oregon since January
  • Per capita income numbers will not be available until the end of the year

Initiatives:

Revamp the public budgeting process to focus on outcomes and the long-term

  • The legislature balanced the budget on time and based on revenues available
  • SB 676 directs DAS and the Governor to submit an outcomes-based budget
  • The Governor hired a COO to improve efficiency in state government

Redesign the delivery of education to improve student outcomes[2]

  • SB 909 creates a unified education board to coordinate and improve learning from 0-20
  • SB 242 gives the Oregon University System more flexibility to achieve its mission
  • SB 250 allows school districts to opt-out of ESDs if it is cost effective to do so

Redesign the delivery of healthcare to drive down costs, improve quality and access

  • SB 99 creates an exchange where consumers and businesses can shop for healthcare plans
  • HB 3650 coordinates healthcare delivery for Medicaid recipients

Spark job and income creation through targeted actions in 10 areas[3]

  • SB 5528 includes funding for OBDD, Oregon InC. and the Strategic Reserve Fund
  • SB 219 creates a new tool to help companies with large payrolls expand in Oregon
  • HB 3017 extends Oregon’s Enterprise Zone program
  • HB 2700 improves the permitting process for linear projects
  • SB 766 speeds up permitting for industrial projects and protects key industrial areas
  • SB 264 expedites approval of driveways providing access from businesses to roads
  • HB 3591 minimizes costs for obtaining variances for new DEQ water standards
  • HB 5036 includes $40 million investment in multi-modal transportation (Connect Oregon)
  • HB 2960 creates jobs and improves energy efficiency by retrofitting school buildings
  • Governors Kitzhaber and Gregoire made significant advancements on the Columbia River Crossing project
  • HB 3362 provides $2 million in grants to enhance career and technical education
  • SB 5508 includes a $3.5 million investment in on-the-job training
  • SB 5532 includes funding for engineering education through ETIC.
  • Over 8500 Oregonians have earned the National Career Readiness Certificate
  • SB 301 makes it easier for Oregon businesses to make capital investments
  • HB 3672 extends the R&D, Biomass, and other key tax credits

What we still need to accomplish

  • Implement the reform bills passed this year including SB 909, SB 242, SB 99, HB 3650, SB 676
  • Continue progress on simplifying Oregon’s regulatory and permitting systems
  • Build up Oregon’s “rainy day”/emergency reserve funds
  • Restructure Oregon’s tax system to rely less on income and capital gains taxes
  • Implement cost-effective corrections reforms that keep us safe and improve the state’s fiscal health
  • Line up public employee total compensation with other states and the private sector
  • Improve access to capital for emerging companies, including reforms to the OGA and OIF
  • Thin the federal forests to create jobs, reduce wildfire risk and collect fuel for biomass energy
  • Allow for increased water withdrawal from the Columbia River for agriculture during high flows

[1] All items here were included in the December 13, 2010 OBP Agenda and Plan Summary and/or May 10, 2011 “Jobs Agenda

[2] Additional education legislation passed this session that has the opportunity to significantly improve student achievement.

[3] The Business Plan identified the following ten opportunities 1. Support the Oregon Innovation Plan.  2.  Improve business development/finance tools. 3. Simplify/streamline regulatory and permitting processes. 4. Make industrial land available. 5. Increase active forest management. 6. Accelerate energy efficiency efforts. 7. Advance infrastructure projects. 8. Train Oregonians for high demand jobs.  9. Authorize water withdrawal from the Columbia River during high flow conditions. 10. Make targeted tax changes to spark growth.

Click here for a pdf version of this progress report for the Oregon Business Plan.