Governor Kitzhaber praised the Legislature for a productive session for children, families, jobs, education, and health care while expressing disappointment in its failure to find agreement on additional PERS savings and new revenue to boost education funding.
"Oregon's on the right track," said Governor Kitzhaber. "Action this session means children and families will have better access to health care, students will return to schools with more resources and more accountability, and communities across the state will be investing in infrastructure that supports the jobs of the 21st century. At the same time, however, I am convinced we can do even more to boost education funding and turn the corner away from teacher lay-offs and lost school days once and for all."
Key legislation passed this session includes:
* Higher education restructuring to increase transparency and public accountability and provide equal access to post-secondary education for qualified Oregon students, regardless of immigration status
* Health care bills that move forward Oregon's implementation of health system transformation, improve access to coverage, invest in community mental health, and lower the growth of per capita health care spending
* Public safety reforms that will hold prison beds flat for five years, reduce public safety costs, and keep the public safe
* Nearly a billion dollars for key infrastructure projects that get Oregonians back to work across the state
* PERS reforms that save money and improve the system's financial stability for the long term
"Legislators have done meaningful work this year, but we have one very important piece of unfinished business," said Governor Kitzhaber. "Combining PERS savings and new revenue will prime the pump for sustained reinvestment in education from early learning to college and career training."
The Governor continues to support a PERS and revenue package that ends teacher layoffs and lost school days, reduces tuition increases for state universities and community colleges, and follows through on his goal to reduce the unfunded liability in the public retirement system by a total of $5 billion -- a 30 percent reduction.
"We came up one vote short of an historic education package," said Governor Kitzhaber. "We need to get it done for Oregon's children, for Oregon's economy, for Oregon's future."