A Plan to Create Jobs, Raise Incomes, and Reduce Poverty in Oregon

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The Oregon Business Plan, launched in 2002, is an ongoing collaborative effort between Oregon’s business community, its elected leaders, and other key stakeholders to achieve greater economic growth and prosperity across all of Oregon’s regions.

The Business Plan has three specific, ongoing goals:

  • Add 25,000 net new jobs per year
  • Raise per capita income above the national average by 2020 (it is now 91 percent of that benchmark)
  • Reduce the percentage of Oregonians living in poverty from just over 13 percent now to less than 10 percent by 2020.

The Work

The main work of the Oregon Business Plan is to research and propose public sector policies and investments to improve Oregon’s conditions for economic success — well educated people, a regulatory environment conducive to business productivity, quality of place to attract and retain good people and companies, and a culture of innovation. We sometimes call this the Four Ps: People, Productivity, Place, and Pioneering Innovation.

The Business Plan pursues these conditions in the form of particular initiatives that address acute or gathering public challenges. These past two years the Fiscal Policy Initiative has been our top priority. It aims to solve a growing fiscal crisis in Oregon state and local government caused by a combination of unsustainable public sector costs and an unstable, inadequate revenue system.

Previous initiatives have successfully urged policies to improve transportation infrastructure, forest management, education, health care cost control, and rural water storage for agriculture.

The Leadership Summit

Work on the Business Plan and its initiatives goes on year round, but its signature event is the annual Leadership Summit, usually in early December. The Summit typically draws more than 1,200 business, elected, civic, and nonprofit leaders to identify and vet issues on the Business Plan agenda. Oregon’s top elected officials, prominent state and national policy experts, and publicly engaged business leaders typically participate in a combination of main stage presentations and discussions, as well as breakout sessions focused on particular issues.

Indicators of Success

The past five years Oregon has seen marked success on all three of the Business Plan’s key objectives. Job growth has far exceeded 25,000 per year. Per capita income has risen from 88 percent to 92.2 percent of the national average. The share of people living in poverty has gone from over 17 percent to just over 13 percent, which is below the national average of 14 percent. This is the first time since 2007 that Oregon has been below the national average.