Gov. John Kitzhaber announced this afternoon that he and top lawmakers have finally agreed on an elusive agreement to cut public employee retirement benefits and raise new tax monies.
Here's the release from his office:
Governor Kitzhaber and legislative leaders have agreed on a framework to boost education funding by $140 million to restore lost school days and provide tuition relief for Oregon students this school year. The agreement combines cost savings from additional PERS reforms and new revenue to fund education, mental health and senior services, and targeted tax relief for small business owners and working families. The Governor will call the Legislature into special session on September 30 to act on the framework in time to allow schools to invest this year. âThis is the Oregon way,â said Governor Kitzhaber. âI applaud my legislative colleagues on both sides of the aisle for once again coming together for the benefit of all Oregonians. This framework offers a balanced approach that will allow for a sustained reinvestment in Oregon education and other critical services, like mental health, over the long term. Weâre delivering for Oregonâs children, for Oregonâs economy, for Oregonâs future.â Elements of the framework agreement include: INVESTMENTS 2013-15 - $211 million Boosts School Funding - $100 million in new revenue for K-12 Reinvests in Higher Education - $40 million for community college & university tuition relief Supports Working Families - $12 million expansion of the EITC (from Ending Fund Balance beginning January 1, 2014) Dedicates Funding for Mental Health - $20 million dedicated from 10 cent cigarette tax Supports Oregonâs Seniors - $41 million for senior programs PERS Improves the Financial Stability of PERS - $4.6 billion in overall reduction of the unfunded actuarial liability when combined with SB 822 with further adjustments to the PERS COLA. Reduces PERS COLA while mitigating impacts on lower-wage workers. Additional PERS transparency and confidence building measures. REVENUE - 2013-15 $244 million in new revenue for 2013-15 biennium Includes Small and Family Business Tax Relief by lowering rate on pass-through business active income, and a Fair Trade Tax Treatment for certain agricultural exporters (2013-15 phase-in totaling $43 million) Other provisions To allow consideration of statewide GMO policy, agreement to preempt local bans (SB 633) except in counties where local ordinances have already qualified for elections. Governor to convene work group to address GMOs at the state level. The Governor will issue a letter stating he will sign none of the bills unless all bills make it to his desk.