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Oregon's 38th governor said outcome-based budgeting might be one of her most important contributions to the state.



Gov. Kate Brown outlined a three-part blueprint for the state Monday to fix government, grow the economy and invest in education.

Brown unveiled her goals during a keynote address at the annual Oregon Business Leadership Summit.

Fixing government

As part of her goal to increase government transparency and accountability, Brown plans to base agency funding on reaching specific outcomes, specifically in education, health care and public safety.

She said the plan for outcome-based budgeting is “one of the most important things” she would do as governor.

“State government must demonstrate to Oregonians that they are getting the best return for their taxpayer dollars, that their agencies are being run efficiently and effectively,” Brown said.

Outcome-based budgeting would be similar to a funding model developed for public universities in which a portion of state funding is tied to student completion of a degree or certificate, she said.

“This has spurred universities to invest in critical supports that engage and empower our highest-need students to overcome barriers and complete their college degrees,” she said.

The announcement follows her call for independent reviews of the Department of Human Services and the Department of Energy. The Department of Human Services is under scrutiny for its slow response to reported problems at state-licensed foster care facilities. A probe into the Department of Energy centers on allegations that regulators bent rules in its tax incentive program for renewable energy projects.

The governor said she also would propose legislation in February to enhance government transparency but gave no details on what the proposal would entail.

She announced in November that she would create a new public records advocate, modeled after a role in other states such as Washington. The advocate serves as a liaison to assist the public in narrowing records requests and helping agencies to comply with public records law.

Growing jobs

Brown declared her support for the Oregon Business Plan’s goal of adding at least 25,000 jobs annually to the state economy.

To that end, she said she plans to propose legislation in February to expand the Office of Small Business Advocate. The office provides assistance to small business owners and helps them cut down time spent mired in bureaucratic red tape. Brown established the office when she served as secretary of state, before an ethics scandal forced Gov. John Kitzhaber to resign and lifted her to the state’s highest office.

Supporting existing businesses is important because 70 percent of job growth stems from expansion of those companies, Brown said.

She said government also would assist in boosting the economy by continuing to seek out trade opportunities in growing Asian markets.

Investing in education

The governor suggested the state needs to invest more in education but provided no plan to meet that need. The question grows more difficult to answer as the state faces mounting costs associated with the Public Employees Retirement System, other speakers at the summit noted.

Earlier Monday, Brown announced the addition of a new education innovation officer position to her administration to help boost the state’s 72 percent high school graduation rate. The job description has yet to be finalized and advertised, according to the governor's office.


By Paris Achen
Portland Tribune Capital Bureau Reporter
503-385-4899
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