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slides: Five Priorities in Gov. John Kitzhaber’s New Budget

Tuesday, December 02, 2014


Governor John Kitzhaber announced his proposed budget for the next three years on Monday, with over half of the funds going toward education. Overall, children and families appear to benefit most from the plan. 

Slideshow Below: Top Five Priorities of Kitzhaber’s Budget

“By emphasizing partnerships and regional community-based investments we have put Oregon on a track toward prosperity and opened up an opportunity for significant additional investments in our children, Kitzhaber said in a letter introducing his budget. “The decisions we make today will determine the Oregon that they inherit from us.” 

The budget allots funds to make structural and program changes in the primary school system, specifically kindergarten. However, there would be an increase in funds assisting college students pay for school. 

From the $18.6 billion budget, $9.4 billion would be spent on education, according to the plan Kitzhaber released on Monday.

Human services and public safety would collect the next biggest portions, receiving $4.9 billion and $3 billion respectively.  

Kitzhaber has included reforms for health care and family assistance programs he says will help lower living costs and increase aid for Oregonians. 

The proposed budget is 11 percent higher than the 16.8 billion budget approved for 2013-2015.  

Funds for the budget come largely from personal, corporate, estate, and other taxes, making up 94 percent of resources. The Lottery added $870 million in revenue. 

The Oregon Legislative will have to approve the budget before it goes into effect. 


Related Slideshow: Top Five Priorities of Kitzhaber’s Budget

Governor Kitzhaber announced his proposed budget for 2015-2017 on Monday. Find out what his top priorities are in his plan.    

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Early Education

Kitzhaber is focusing his education reform at the start of school. His budget would allot $305 million for schools to switch from half-day to full-day kindergarten. Programs would be implemented to make sure children are at grade appropriate reading levels by 3rd grade, with $135 million going toward assisting kindergarten learning programs and services.  

Photo credit: iStock

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Higher Education

Funds for college students are also a focus of the budget. There would be a 25 percent increase for the Oregon Opportunity Grant program, which awards Federal Pell grants for students, and over a 14 percent increase in the public University Support Fund.  

Photo credit: iStock

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Rural Oregon

Although Kitzhaber is spending money to boost many parts of the economy, over $200 million of the budget will go towards projects and jobs in rural Oregon. Kitzhaber plans to help develop water, timber, and infrastructure in rural Oregon to help sustain the environment while creating jobs. 

For instance, $30 million would go to the Working Forests and Working Farms Finance Initiative to create jobs, and $50 million for water resources projects.

Photo credit: iStock

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The proposed budget has several provisions for assisting families with children.   A new Working Family Addition Tax credit would extend state benefits for families making $9.10 per hour to $17.10 per hour. The new budget would invest $55 million in helping employment related daycare as well. 

The budget would also give $100 million in bonds to help provide housing for homeless families with children. Funds will go towards redesigning and improving the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, which aids families reaching self-sufficiency. 

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Health Care

Kitzhaber plans to cap health care spending for the Oregon Health Plan, Public Employees Benefits (PEBB), and Oregon Educators Benefit Board (OEBB) members, which he says will save money on unnecessary health expenses that can be invested in elsewhere in the health care system. Funds will also be spent to reform the system and set higher standards for health services. 

Photo credit: iStock


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