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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Kitzhaber Proposes 'Education Investment' Spending Plan

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Legislative Media

SALEM, Ore. - Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is asking state lawmakers to cap cost of living pay increases for public sector retirees. 

That’s one of the cost-cutting proposals included in a 16 billion dollar state spending plan the Democratic governor announced Friday. Kitzhaber said his budget would increase spending on schools, early childhood education and professional development for teachers. The plan also assume savings in public pensions, prisons and health care. Kitzhaber said the changes he’s seeking in the state’s pension system are not a reflection on the value of public employees.

John Kitzhaber: “And it’s not about revamping a retirement system that on balance is one of the best funded in the nation. It’s essentially about finding a way to balance our retirement system with our ability to put dollars in the classroom today to insure that our students are successful tomorrow.”

Kitzhaber’s proposal to cap cost-of-living increases for public sector retirees faces opposition from public employee unions. The Democratic governor is asking lawmakers to extend a hospital tax to help fund the Oregon Health Plan.