As legislators continue to push for adjournment, which could come as early as June 17 or 18, several issues stand in the way.
- GENERAL FUND BUDGETS: So far, only one major general fund budget – the K-12 schools budget – has cleared the legislature. And, even there, House Democrats are pushing for more school funding out of the Education Stability Fund to cushion the blow of teacher layoffs and school closures. Budgets for human services, higher education and public safety should begin moving through Ways and Means subcommittees this week to meet the leadership-imposed deadline of June 7 to act on all state budgets.
- HEALTH CARE FUNDING CONTROVERSIES: The health care budget has been particularly controversial. Four legislators – Senator Al Bates, D-Ashland, Senator Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, Rep. Tina Kotek, D-Portland, and Rep. Tim Freeman, R-Roseburg – have been negotiating with leaders of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (OAHHS) to increase the hospital tax, reducing deeper cuts in the state's Medicaid budget. They agreed to impose a tax increase, which can be implemented without legislative action by the Oregon Health Authority.