The 15th Oregon Leadership Summit on December 4th had a full hall and packed breakout sessions addressing the question Is Oregon Future Ready?

Futurist Steve Brown told us technology breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and robotics suggest a future of great promise but also potential disruption — to the workplace, to everyday life, and to job security.

To be prepared for this change and to take a lead in it, said Patrick Criteser, Business Plan Chair, we must invest in and evolve our education system. To do that, however, we need to solve a long-term budget crisis characterized by large and growing structural deficits fed by runaway government costs, PERS in particular, and our roller coaster revenue system.

Main stage panelists noted that the fiscal crisis hits Oregon government at all levels. City, county, and education officials described the growing chunks of their operating budgets sliced off to feed PERS and other employee benefit obligations.

Business leaders and Governor Brown promised that they are ready to engage with all partners in the three-part framework recommended in last year’s Summit: 1) grow the economy, 2) contain public sector costs, and 3) make our revenue system more stable and adequate, if necessary with new business taxes.

Legislators who crafted a major transportation package last year shared their process and insights from that experience and how it might guide a fiscal solution. They said involve everyone affected. Listen. Look at the problem comprehensively. And start as early as possible.

Business leaders believe that forms a rough road map for teeing up a solution in the 2019 session. They plan to get going on that path starting early in 2018 — and providing regular reports on our progress.

See links below to Summit sponsors, materials, photos, videos, slide decks, and media coverage.