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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Oregon: Growing and Uncertain Spending Commitments


The foremost challenge facing the Oregon Legislature confronts nearly all state and localgovernments today: meeting growing and uncertain spending commitments while funding thepublic employee retirement system adequately. There is more than magnitude to this problem.The solutions are constricted by a rigid revenue system, funding patterns locked in by party politics,an initiative system that fosters spending commitments more easily than revenue raising,and strong judicial protections of public employee contractual guarantees. To capture the contextof the budget debates of the Winter/Spring of 2017, this paper examines the nature and legaciesof the November 2017 election, Oregon’s broad economic context, and the core budget debateswithin Salem.

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