The foundation seems set, but results are still a ways away
Updated: Friday, January 6th, 2012 | By Ryan Kost
While campaigning for governor in 2010, John Kitzhaber promised to pull Oregon out of its two-year budget cycle and get us looking ahead --10 years ahead. The then-candidate told The Oregonian that he would create a 10-year budget plan to offer a clearer sense of the state's priorities.
He"s been in office for a year now, so we thought it was time to check in on his progress.
We talked to Steve Marks, a policy analyst at the state"s Department of Administrative Services, the bureau charged with spearheading this change, for the low down on what"s happened so far.
The folks there set up some general budget categories. For example, Marks said, there"s a new category called "Livability,” which includes services like transportation and community development. The theory is that every program run by the Oregon Department of Transportation should advance long-term livability goals.
To that end, the governor"s office is in the process of outlining some general, long term goals for the state. Ideally, Marks said, goals would be hammered out with lawmakers and public input, but to get the new model moving, the executive branch started things off.
After the February 2012 legislative session, the governor will send out budget instructions to his departments, asking them to prepare budgets based on how they"ll help contribute to the 10-year goals, Marks said.
This would be different from previous budgeting years in a number of ways, Marks said. Rather than continuing previous funding levels, departments will start with a blank slate. Next, the governor"s office will compare the agency's programs with newly created performance guidelines. This will all get worked into the governor"s budget for the 2013-2015 cycle, which is due in November.
The biggest change, though, will come once that budget has been put into practice, he said. At the end of the two-year cycle, the governor"s office and the departments will review the programs and look at how they"re advancing the long-term goals and adjust future funding according to those findings. It"s likely, too, that the long-term plan will be refined and reworked based on the needs of the state.
It"ll be at least another few months until we get a look at what, exactly, the governor"s 10-year plan has in store for Oregon -- and at least November before we know whether he and his staff actually come up with a 10-year plan. It"s also up to lawmakers to approve this new approach in the 2013 session; they have a huge impact on the process.
For now, this is a promise In the Works.
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