The latest Oregon budget forecast predicts a $473 million kicker refund to Oregon taxpayers. This when Oregon's economy is going strong and we could finally start to address things like having the lowest high school graduation rate in the country:
This blog has sounded off about the kicker many times before, with both and Fred Thompson and I arguing for its demise, and in it's place a permanent and significant rainy day fund to stabilize state spending. Doing so would allows us to better achieve things like protect and enhance our transportation infrastructure that at serious risk of significant deterioration.
If I were governor, this would be my agenda:
1. A bill that would convert the kicker to a rainy day fund.
2. A bill that instituted a carbon tax for all carbon fuels, including gas, and used proceeds to fund transportation infrastructure with rebates for low-income households. Included in this bill would be a repeal of the ban on self-service gas to offset the increased price at the pump.
3. A budget that significantly increased funding for K-12 education dedicated to class size reduction and an increase in contact hours.
4. I would also increase funding for public research universities (conflict of interest alert!).
To me, these are the three pillars of a sound long-term state economy: solid transportation infrastructure, an talented and educated workforce, and an active and innovative research and development infrastructure.