It has begun to occur to Oregon legislators that they - and their agencies - have been making a lot of promises that they can't keep. For years, they've been "negotiating" contracts with their public employees that bestow lovely pensions and other benefits to these dedicated staffers. Former gov. Retread and his Democrat legislators began to recognize that they'd made a mistake, and tried to correct that a couple of years ago; that ended up before the Oregon Supreme Court, which ruled that a contract is a contract, and they can't arbitrarily change it. So there's a problem, as the promises the state made will torpedo the budget. But it gets even better:
Doctor Retread pushed for - and achieved - a massive expansion of Medicaid in the state, referred to as the Oregon Health Plan. This was possible due to an influx of "free money" from the federal government, but that starts drying up in the next year and a half. So there's another problem. Combined, it's a big problem.
Two large but temporary sources of health care funding run out in 2017, just as costs go way up for public-employee pensions and Medicaid, the publicly funded health care plan for the poor.
Of course, Democratics have been so busy creating more "poor" by driving away businesses and jobs that they're now in kind of a pickle: having mandated paid time off and busily pushing for more increases in the minimum wage, further alienating businesses and investors, they're now looking around in desperation for moar munny. That, of course, in Democrat-speak, translates to more taxes and fees, and maybe reducing education-related expenses - and the latter comes at a time when they've just made community college essentially "free" and have decided that illegal aliens should get to pay in-state resident tuition rates at all universities despite the fact that they have no business being here in the first place.
Gov. Kate Brown noted that Oregon has weathered budget crises through two recessions since 2001 and hinted that higher taxes may be part of the solution.
“I think through innovation, through delivering services more effectively and taking a hard look at our revenue that I’m confident that we can meet our future budget challenges,” Brown said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.
Our Oregon, a liberal group funded largely by public-employee unions that are affected by state budget problems, has introduced ballot measure proposals that would raise taxes on businesses or higher-income taxpayers.
Yes, that's the solution. Because "Our Oregon" means the state belongs to public-employee unions. Not to you. Pay up!