Oregon’s Structural Fiscal Deficit
Threatens Services, State Economy
Oregon is caught in a growing fiscal bind that threatens to rob current and future generations of quality public services while damaging Oregon’s economic resilience. The Oregon Business Plan is developing ideas and options for elected leaders to consider as they address this issue in the 2019 Legislature. (See Time to Act, our policy proposals for putting Oregon’s fiscal house in order.) Our ideas include spending and revenue reforms designed to enable increased investments in education, health care, and other public needs vital to Oregon’s life and economy.
Multiple factors drive Oregon’s fiscal crisis:
- Public Employee Retirement System payout rates are marching toward 30% or more of public jurisdiction payroll.
- Health insurance costs for state employees are 50% higher than the national average.
- Reductions in federal Medicaid support (the basis of health care for 25% of Oregonians) shift a greater burden for low-income health care to the state.
- Oregon’s unstable tax system lacks sufficient reserves to weather future recessions.