Kitzhaber's Budget Relies On Cost-Cutting Measures

Nov 30, 2012

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber's proposed budget relies on cost-cutting measures to public pensions, health care and prisons. The Democrat will unveil his two-year spending plan at the state capitol Friday. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman got an early look and has this report.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber.
Credit Photo by Chris Lehman

Kitzhaber's plan will divide up about $16 billion in expected state revenue. About half of that would go to education, from pre-school through college. To help pay for the plan, the governor is proposing changes to the state's pension system for public employees.

The most significant change would be a cap on cost-of-living increases for retirees. That's expected to meet with opposition from public employee unions. But the governor is also proposing to eliminate unpaid furlough days for state workers. There've been 10 such days in each of the past two budget cycles.

The governor will also propose more than a billion dollars in infrastructure projects. Nearly half of that would go toward replacing the I-5 bridge over the Columbia River. But the governor leaves the specifics of how to pay for that to the Legislature.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio