By Richard Leonetti,
If you got the impression from headlines that spending by the State of Oregon had to fall by almost $1 billion in the next two years you would be wrong. What the revenue office really said was that revenue was expected to fall by $946 million from earlier projections but the new projection still was for an increase of $900 million or so. Instead of falling, revenue is expected to increase 3.5% per year for the next two years. This means the state revenue will increase from $15.2 billion to $16.1 billion.
In this very low inflation, maybe deflationary, time a 3.5% increase each year is short of what the Governor would like to spend. He is in this box because of wage increases slightly more than this amount and new programs he would like to start.
Given the current times most taxpayers cannot expect this size of raise (if they are fortunate to keep their jobs) so maybe the state should renegotiate their labor costs and look closely at the need for new spending before they start raising fees and taxes.
And in the trickle down to K-12 teachers, if you do maintain the raises, maybe the school teachers could help the kids out by adding 3.5% each year to the length of the school year. They would lose no income, and the kids and they would still have an extremely short work/study year.