What is the Oregon Business Plan?

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The Oregon Business Plan is an effort by the state’s business leaders to create 25, 000 new jobs across Oregon each year and raise Oregon‘s per capita income above the national average. The Plan is a collaborative effort among several business leaders and business associations, developed in close partnership with Oregon‘s elected leadership.

The Oregon Business Plan released the following information on current issues:

PERS Reform, Education Investment, and the I-5 Bridge: Update on the 2013 Legislative Session

As the Oregon Legislature passes the seven-week mark in the 2013 session, there is significant focus and movement on the top three policy initiatives of the Oregon Business Plan (Fix PERS. Invest Wisely in Education. Build the Bridge).

Here’s an update:

Fix PERS:  Comparing the Proposals

Nothing is more important to the outcome of the current legislative session – and to the future of education and other public services – than how the Legislature and Governor resolve Oregon’s PERS crisis. PERS costs for school districts, cities, counties and other public employers are on a trajectory to skyrocket next year and remain high for the next two decades. School district’s PERS rates next year will average 26.7% of payroll. The increase for the upcoming school year equals $200 million, the equivalent of about 2,224 teaching positions. The Legislature is considering numerous proposals to reform PERS.

Invest Wisely in Education

The Ways and Means Co-Chair’s budget includes a significant increase in funding for education, as does the Republican budget. There is also significant movement on the policy front.

The Legislature’s education committees have been hearing a number of education proposals endorsed by the Oregon Business Plan to help students achieve greater education attainment. A bill to coordinate postsecondary funding, HB 3120, is under development in the House Higher Education Committee. Another, SB 270, to authorize independent boards for our largest universities, is going through hearings. HB 2013, to restructure early learning programs, has had its first hearing. The early learning budget, which calls for substantial funding increases, will be taken up in hearings on the Governor’s overall transformation budget for education.

Build the Bridge

Culminating more than a decade of planning, Governor Kitzhaber and the Oregon legislature made their commitment to finance Oregon‘s share of replacing the I-5 bridge across the Columbia River.  Last week’s signing of HB 2800 represents a major victory for Oregon workers, Oregon businesses, and all Oregonians who depend on a safe and efficient transportation system to move themselves, their families and the goods and services they rely on.

The new bridge will create thousands of construction jobs in the near-term, thousands of permanent jobs in the long-term, and will replace one of the oldest and most unsafe structures in our region with a modern, earthquake-proof bridge carrying freight, cars, light rail, bicycles, and pedestrians.

Learn more at www.oregonbusinessplan.org.

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