The Revenue Forecast and the KickerIn the past week, Oregon's economists shared the most recent Revenue Forecast. The forecast is a projection of how the State sees their resources and availability to meet the financial needs of the State. Traditionally, the May forecast helps set the projected funds available for the Co Chairs of Ways & Means to determine their budget proposals in the upcoming biennium (in this case, the 17-19 budget).
The Revenue forecast showed a net gain in overall revenue available for the 17-19 budgets compared to the COS (Close of Session) projections made previously. The forecast shows an overall increase in resources that will result in nearly $187 million more in resources available for the 17-19 biennium which reduces the projected shortfall in the 2017-19 biennium to $1.6 billion versus the original $1.8 billion projections. Further, it is estimated there is likely additional revenue to be achieved over the course of the next biennium which would bring the deficit down even further.
The Revenue Forecast also shows that Oregon's Kicker is likely to "kick". The Kicker is a uniquely Oregon creation which sends surplus revenue, revenue exceeding 2% of expected returns, back to Oregonians. The Kicker was revised and is now a tax credit back to Oregonians when it is returned versus previous "kicker checks" that were returned back to taxpayers. The Kicker is projected at approximately $400 million to be returned but again, as a tax credit the impact is more subtle than the previous kicker checks.
The Revenue forecast now plays into the conversations overall on a potential Revenue package, Provider Tax package and Transportation package that are the major revenue initiatives for the Session. Additional revenue is a welcome outcome of the forecast for the Legislature.
You can read Oregon's most recent Revenue forecast HERE
You can read more about Oregon's kicker HERE
You can read more about the Revenue Forecast HERE.
Hearings This WeekFriday, May 19th was the deadline for bills to be scheduled for a work session within a policy committee that is moving through the session. Bills that have now been scheduled for a work session on the second side must occur by June 2. This does not apply to bills that are currently in Ways & Means, Rules or Revenue.
You can review O4AD's most recent bill tracking report HERE.
O4AD's most recent bill calendar is also available HERE.
This week, here are some of the bills of interest to advocates:
SB 59 ~ Authorizes court to remove fiduciary or modify power or authority of fiduciary on motion of Long Term Care Ombudsman. House Human Services. Tuesday, May 23.
SB 58 ~ Directs Long Term Care Ombudsman to appoint Residential Facilities Ombudsman within Office of Long Term Care Ombudsman. House Human Services. May 23.
HJM6 ~ Urges Congress to change funding of veterans' health care from discretionary entitlement to permanent and direct entitlement. Senate Veterans and Emergency Preparedness. May 23.
HB 3262 ~ Requires Department of Human Services, in collaboration with other agencies, to adopt rules related to prescription of psychotropic medications elderly persons and persons wit disabilities. Senate Human Services. May 24.
HB 2630 ~ Makes changes to Oregon guardianship laws to ensure adequate safeguards for respondents and protected persons. Senate Judiciary. May 25.
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.
You may view a complete listing of hearings occurring via the Legislative website - HERE.
In District Days an Opportunity to Advocate for OPI
O4AD would like to say THANK YOU to everyone who participated in our most recent Day at the Capitol. We had a full day of advocacy from participants coming in from all corners of the state. The message to fund Oregon Project Independence was heard loud and clear. Thank you!
Legislators will be back in the District for "In District Day" over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Many legislators will be holding Constituent coffees, Town Halls and other occasions to interact with their District residents. This is a GREAT opportunity for advocates to remind their elected officials of the importance of senior and disability services and supports in budget conversations.
Your discussions with Legislators brings important attention 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 simply cannot be less than current funding for this program. OPI provides not only program effectiveness but also critical cost savings for the state. Reduction and/or elimination of the program will result in immediate cost increases for the State General Fund - an unwise choice in the overall budget picture for our state.
O4AD has released Talking Points on the importance of protecting funding for OPI. You can access these talking points HERE.
Take a moment to visit with your Legislator when they are back in the District this weekend!
You can also 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 Legislative Conference CallPlease note, there will be NO Legislative Conference Call on Friday, May 26.
From n4a ~
Breaking Policy News Expected This Week
Administration’s Budget Request and Health Care Report on Tap for Release
Amidst all of the breaking stories coming out of Washington, DC these days, we expect two major pieces of policy news from the White House and Capitol Hill that could potentially have significant implications for older adults and caregivers in every community. The Trump Administration will release their full FY 2018 budget request for federal programs, which could include significant threats for Older Americans Act and other aging programs (o4ad note - this is expected to be released on May 23). The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is also expected to release its analysis of the recent House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA), which will include projections as to how the AHCA, if enacted, could affect health care and Medicaid coverage for millions of older adults.
n4a will have more analysis for members and advocates about how each of these federal policy updates could affect the programs and services that serve older adults and caregivers in your communities. In addition to this sneak-peak and next week’s in-depth analysis, we also invite you to join us next Friday, May 26 from Noon to 1:00 p.m. ET for a webinar to review both the Administration’s budget proposal and next steps for health care reform.
What We Expect in the Administration’s Budget Request
After releasing a preliminary “skinny budget” in March, we expect that the Trump Administration’s full budget request to Congress will outline major shifts in federal funding priorities. The Administration is likely to stick to their overall goal of increasing defense programs by $54 billion by breaking current parity between non-defense (NDD) and defense discretionary programs, and slashing NDD programs by $54 billion overall.
While we only currently have top-line agency numbers in the Trump’s FY 2018 budget that reflect deep cuts far below current budget caps, we expect to see details on exactly which programs the Administration will specifically target to achieve those deep cuts. Some sources have indicated that we will see a cut to overall Administration for Community Living funding, but we don’t know yet which ACL programs—such as Older Americans Act or disability programs, for example—will be hit the hardest.
We do anticipate, however, that the Administration will target some key programs for especially deep cuts or even elimination. Based on how the Administration approached the early “skinny” FY 2018 budget and the President’s FY 2017 requests, the hardest hit could include, but may not be limited to, the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), OAA Title V Senior Community Services Employment Program (SCSEP) under the Department of Labor (DOL); Senior Corps under the Corporation for National Community Service (CNCS); the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG); the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG); and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Cutting or eliminating any of these programs could have significant consequences for vulnerable older adults.
We are also hearing that the budget request may outline major changes and cuts to mandatory (i.e., entitlement) programs including Medicaid, nutrition assistance programs and other income-based entitlement benefits. We don’t expect to see consequential cuts or changes to Medicare or Social Security, but these are only predictions at this point.
It is important to remember that the Administration’s budget request, is simply that—a request. Congress ultimately makes funding decisions, and there is word from Capitol Hill that many of the Administration’s proposals will be roundly rejected. However, advocacy and rapid response to the budget will be necessary. n4a will work diligently to update members and advocates about details from the Administration’s budget proposal and necessary advocacy next steps as soon as we have them. We will also offer members the opportunity to get their questions answered and to hear more from n4a staff on next Friday’s webinar.
News on Health Care Reform
As our recent Advocacy Alert detailed, earlier this month the House passed its plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and completely restructure Medicaid without full analysis from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) about the coverage implications and costs of the final bill.
We expect the CBO to release their analysis about the narrowly approved American Health Care Act (AHCA) sometime early next week. Because some of the final changes included in the AHCA could affect the availability and cost of private insurance and Medicaid coverage, the final CBO report could substantially update previous estimates that the AHCA could jeopardize insurance coverage for up to 24 million people.
The Senate is continuing to work on their version of an ACA repeal and replacement bill and lawmakers in that chamber have indicated that they are waiting for the CBO report before they consider the House-passed proposal. Again, n4a will have more updates as we have them.
for more information, please visit: http://www.n4a.org