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Entries in governor's budget (2)


A New Approach to State Budgeting

The long-awaited governor's recommended budget for 2011-13 landed at the Capitol with a bit of a thud last week, if only because of its size and unintelligible character, written as it was by budget analysts.

But, Governor John Kitzhaber did much better. He emerged on Tuesday, February 1, with a particularly significant first step on the path toward a new way of budgeting for state government services.

In his announcement on Tuesday, the governor did not mention once the number that has gained a lot of notice lately – a $3.5 billion gap between what it will cost to keep the government operating for two more years and the amount of state tax revenue economists say will arrive in state coffers.

What Governor Kitzhaber focused on instead was that current tax rates would produce more money – $1.2 billion more, in fact – in 2011-13 than they produced in 2009-11.  And he proposed how he would allocate that "increased revenue" to fund his top priorities, including his early childhood initiative.

Think about that! No mention of the fabled $3.5 billion!

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Kitzhaber Previews His Recommended Budget, Due Feb. 1

When it is printed and distributed February 1, Governor John Kitzhaber's budget for 2011-13 will be many inches thick, and it will contain enough budget-cutting proposals to garner criticism from across the political spectrum.

Kitzhaber gave a preview of his budget to a room full of reporters yesterday. He said he is assuming the state will have a little less that $15 billion to spend out of the General Fund this biennium, which is $3.5 billion less than is needed to maintain current state programs with inflation, caseload increases and other roll-up costs factored in. Most of the state general fund budget is expended on education, health care and public safety.

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