The Path Forward

We recommend four steps to help rebuild civic trust in each other and in our state as a great place to plan our collective futures.

Oregon leaders have addressed state and local structural budget challenges on an annual or biennial basis for more than a decade. But one-time fixes will not carry the state through the coming decade.

In the report we describe a range of policy options. We invite community leaders to evaluate and innovate to find solutions at scale and statewide.

1. Focus on the needs of local and state governments — and the communities they serve together — when designing solutions. State and local revenue reform will be necessary to address adequacy, equity and volatility.

2. Get out of crisis by viewing budgetary decisions on a generational timeline, not annual or biennial negotiations. Structure financing of obligations to stabilize critical community services. 

3. Prioritize and support ongoing, empowered civic leadership related to this statewide challenge—particularly with low-income communities, rural communities, and communities of color.

4. Support civic understanding of public budgets by developing transparent budget forecasting tools, such as those adopted in other states.