As the 2013 Legislative Session kicked off last week, it is clear that we face yet another tight budget. Even worse, the needs of workers are being pitted against critical public services.
That is why we joined with a coalition to identify specific revenue sources, savings and efficiencies – such as ending state and school building closures – to ensure critical services for seniors and schools, increase access to child care for low-income working parents and meet other vital needs of Oregonians.
SEIU joined with the Oregon Education Association, AARP, AFSCME, Oregon PTA, the Oregon Healthcare Association, the Oregon Student Association and the AFL-CIO to release “Making Every Dollar Count,” an update on the work SEIU members did two years ago to identify ways to make government more efficient. “Making Every Dollar Count” outlines $277 million that could be saved this year by reducing excess middle management, putting a limit on unnecessary contracting and increasing tax collections at the Department of Revenue.
“Making Every Dollar Count” outlines paths state government can take to increase revenue without cutting vital services. For example, by making government more efficient at collecting delinquent taxes, we could reduce the tax gap and add nearly $1 billion to the state budget in just six years!
Middle-class and lower income Oregonians and public employees can’t be expected to bear the burden of the state budget cuts through decreased services and reduced compensation; or while money is being wasted on inefficient bureaucracy and tax breaks for corporations and the wealthiest Oregonians.
It is time for action. We must continue to push for efficiencies to save money to fund services and the people that provide them.