Oregon election results set the stage for bipartisan solutions

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The Oregon Business Association has never yielded on our commitment to a balanced voice, and our belief that bipartisanship and teamwork are the only ways to solve Oregon’s intractable public finance issues. Our endorsement process, public statements, publications and policy agenda have displayed our determined pursuit of these values.

OBA sees great opportunity in this unprecedented challenge – the only way out is by working toward and finding consensus to solve critical issues facing the state. We believe this next legislature will be defined by the following policy agenda:

Public Finance. Oregon’s per capita income has declined over the last 15 years, but the cost of certain government services has and will continue to increase. This leaves Oregon facing a decade of deficits if the cost of state services is not addressed. The OBA Economic Crisis Task Force has developed specific recommendations for public finance redesign, reducing the cost of state government while delivering better outcomes for Oregonians.  The taskforce is chaired by Matt Chapman with the Northwest Evaluation Association.

K-12 Funding and Reform. As a result of declining investment in education, Oregon’s incoming workforce is less educated than our retiring workforce. To ensure that every Oregonian has access to education that prepares them for life, OBA has been working with our partners to identify priority areas for reform including: improving statewide governance; increasing accountability; maximizing teacher quality; adopting rigorous standards; and closing the achievement gap.  OBA’s K-12 reform efforts are lead by Morgan Anderson (Intel) and Julia Brim-Edwards (Nike).

Higher Education. Oregon’s economy relies on a highly-skilled and trained workforce to meet the economic demands of the present and the future. However, investment in higher education has declined drastically in the last 20 years, causing a corresponding decrease in educational attainment. OBA is working with our partners in the business and higher education communities to give the University system expanded autonomy to achieve its goal of educating students more efficiently and effectively.  Ruth Beyer (Stoel Rives) and Jill Eiland (Intel) are heading up OBA’s higher education agenda.

Health Care. Oregon has an opportunity to lead in health insurance and health care reform efforts. OBA developed a set of recommendations on the structure and implementation of a health insurance exchange to provide transparency for the public and ensure that access, quality and cost reductions are priorities in the system.  Ross Dwinell with Western Benefits, Inc. chairs OBA’s Health Policy Committee.

The OBA Board of Directors will finalize its legislative agenda next week. We look forward to working with our partners and elected officials on these critical issues and making Oregon a better place to live, work and do business.

Let the campaigning end and the governing begin!