Join more than 1,000 business, elected, education and nonprofit leaders from across Oregon on December 9, 2013 to make plans to create jobs, raise incomes, and reduce poverty in Oregon.
Last year, the Leadership Summit defined Oregon’s public policy debate by focusing leaders on three priorities: Fixing PERS, investing wisely in education, and building the I-5 replacement bridge. Join us this year to get an update on progress, learn about exciting developments in Oregon’s key industries, and discuss the 2014 agenda.
Our progress report this year will hinge on whether the Legislature takes up two issues this fall critical to Oregon’s future: Fixing PERS and building the bridge. While the legislature made remarkable progress advancing education initiatives (including restructuring post-secondary education governance and investment, improving early learning, college readiness, and career education and teacher preparation), more action is needed on the other two big priorities.
We Still Need to Fix PERS
Getting PERS under control would restore full school years, shrink Oregon’s large class sizes, and enable school districts to hire thousands of teachers across Oregon. Not fixing PERS means a funding crisis for schools every year for the next decade. That’s because PERS has billions of dollars of unfunded debt. In order to pay down that debt, each year schools (and other government employers) will pay more money into PERS. For schools, that means less money to hire teachers, add school days or improve course offerings. There are fair proposals on the table that shrink the PERS debt while ensuring that employees get strong retirement benefits. That’s why we support a special session this fall to achieve significant reductions in the PERS liability.
We Still Need a New Bridge
We applaud the Oregon legislature for doing its part to move forward on the I-5 bridge. Sadly, the Washington Legislature didn’t deliver. However we are pleased that the effort to replace the unsafe and congested I-5 bridge has resumed with force. The Governor and Legislative leaders are exploring a new plan to build the bridge without many of the improvements on the Washington side of the river. In addition to thousands of construction jobs, the bridge replacement will support thousands more long-term jobs as businesses get more of their products to market faster, and the region becomes a more attractive place to locate and grow.
We hope to celebrate Oregon’s successes on all three of our critical priorities at this year’s Summit!
What is the Oregon Business Plan?
The Oregon Business Plan is an effort by the state’s business leaders to create 25,000 new jobs across Oregon each year and raise Oregon’s per capita income above the national average. The Plan is a collaborative effort among several business leaders and business associations, developed in close partnership with Oregon’s elected leadership.
We envision achieving the Oregon Business Plan goals by growing diverse, thriving clusters of industries that are global leaders in product design and innovation. The strategy to boost these industries is to improve the conditions necessary for their success: talented people, greater productivity, pioneering innovation, and quality of place – what we call the “4Ps for Prosperity.” Learn more at www.oregonbusinessplan.org.