The Revenue Conversation Heats UpActivity at the Capitol has been a bit slower for the Committees, and the focus has been on the House and Senate floor sessions, where all of the bills passed out of committees before the recent deadline are being heard. Once they are voted off the floor of the originating chamber, the Committees will once again be the center of attention as bills are scheduled for hearing and work session in the second chamber. The deadlines for the second chamber are May 19th for posting of work sessions and June 2nd for the work sessions to be completed. The exception to these deadlines are bills in Ways & Means, Rules and Revenue. These bills have no deadline and remain alive through the end of session.
This past week, Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek appointed the new Joint Committee on Tax Reform. The Committee will hold its first meeting on May 2 and will consider a rough proposal to replace the state's corporate income tax with a tax on business sales (gross receipts). The Committee is tasked with making revisions that may make it more palatable for passage Any tax reform proposal will need a three-fifths majority vote to pass in each chamber. In both the Senate and House, the Democrats will have to attract one Republican vote to pass a reform bill. In addition to the gross receipts tax proposal, another option (HB 2876) could be to raise personal income taxes on the wealthy by adding a top new bracket, taxing earnings over $250,000 at 13 percent.
On Thursday, Governor Brown announced her plan to cut state costs. The plan focuses on three prongs: establishing best practices when negotiating labor contracts with unions, recovering debts owed to the state, and creating an expert task force to address pension costs. Brown hopes her proposals will result in savings right away and over the next several years, but she is not sure how much those savings will be. You can read her press release HERE. The Governor had previously announced a hiring freeze for state workers as well. You can read this information HERE.
Another piece of the overall financial picture is expected to be released on May 8th. The Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization has been working on a comprehensive transportation plan all session. The details are expected be released at that time.
Hearings This Week
Now that the first bill deadline has passed, O4AD has reviewed our bill tracking and cleaned out bills that are no longer moving through the process. You can access the most recent bill tracking report HERE.
O4AD's most recent bill calendar is also available HERE.
With a focus on the pending revenue proposals, the bill calendars are lighter than is generally expected for this time during the session. Some bills of interest include:
HB 3175 ~ Makes changes to the definition of "low income households" in Local Innovation and Fast Track Housing Program. 5/1/17. Senate Human Services.
HB 2005 ~ Provides definitions relating to comparable work for purposes of pay equity provisions. 5/3/17. Senate Work Force
HB 2675 ~ Requires community health improvement plans adopted by coordinated care organizations and community advisory councils to focus on and develop strategy for integrating physical, behavioral and oral health care services. 5/2/17. Senate Health Care.
SB 71 ~ Clarifies legislative intent related to administration of noninjectable medication in long term care facilities. 5/3/17. House Health Care.
If you are attending hearings, please note you may contact the Capitol if accommodations are needed in the room. For information on visiting the Capitol and Special Needs, please click HERE.
Oregon Project Independence - Keep up contacts to Legislators to protect funds for OPI.
As the budget conversation continues, it is critical to not let up on the focus on OPI. The Budget Reduction document from the Co Chairs, released last week, proposes a 50% cut to the OPI program serving seniors and elimination of funding for OPI services to people with disabilities. This proposal not only places OPI consumers in jeopardy of losing their current level of independence but also threatens the State General Fund through anticipated increases in overall General Fund expenditures from consumers moving into Medicaid.
Your contacts to Legislators bring an important focus to the need to fund Oregon Project Independence at current funding levels - $21 million for Seniors and $6 million for the People with Disabilities Pilot Project. Current funding levels will still result in 10% less resources available than the current biennium due to rising costs of care however, there cannot be less than $27 million in funding for this program.
O4AD has released new Talking Points on the importance of protecting funding for OPI. You can access these talking points HERE.
Contact Ways & Means legislators to let them know the importance of this program. You can access their contact information HERE.
Or you can email them directly following these links:
Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward - Co Chair, Human Services Ways & Means Subcommittee
Representative Dan Rayfield - Co Chair, Human Services Ways & Means Subcommittee
Senator Sara Gelser
Senator Jackie Winters
Representative Teresa Alonso Leon
Representative Knute Buehler
Representative Cedric Hayden
Representative Sheri Malstrom
Senator Richard Devlin - Co Chair, Ways & Means
Representative Nancy Nathanson - Co-Chair, Ways & Means
Our message is simple - Protect Funding for OPI at Current Funding Levels.
Read about O4AD's budget priorities HERE.
You can also access other talking points and information on OPI via O4AD's website - HERE.
THANK YOU! Your voice is critical as we fight to protect this important program.
For more information or with questions, please contact O4AD. firstname.lastname@example.org.
O4AD Day at the Capitol
O4AD will host their Day at the Capitol on Wednesday, May 17. Register now through your local Area Agency on Aging or Advisory Council. We look forward to a busy day advocating for services and supports on behalf of Oregon's older adults and people with disabilities. For more information, please contact O4AD at email@example.com or your local Area Agency on Aging.
You may also sign up via our Google Form. Please note you will need to indicate the Area Agency you are affiliated with for this event. Access the Google Form HERE.
O4AD Legislative Conference CallO4AD will host our Legislative Conference Call on Friday, May 5 at 11 am. Last week we were pleased to welcome staff from Congressman Bluemenauer's office and Senator Wyden's office who updated us on the flurry of activity in DC. This week we will discuss the revenue proposals that are expected to be unveiled this week as well as other happenings in the Capitol. If there is a topic you would like to learn more about, EMAIL O4AD.
Call in: 1-866-200-5786
Participant Code: 835329