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Senate Republicans will continue focus on middle-class priorities in February session

January 19, 2012

Salem, OR – Senate Republicans announced a set of policy proposals for the upcoming legislative session on Wednesday morning. Republicans have dubbed the five concepts a “Blueprint for Prosperity,” and believe the ideas represent a long-term vision for the state that is filled with opportunity and success for Oregon’s working class families.

The agenda contains five planks that Republicans believe will make Oregon a place where families can thrive. The first three pieces of the “Blueprint for Prosperity” focus on job creation:

1. Enact a two year rules moratorium and give legislative committees veto authority over existing and future rules.

2. Give local jurisdictions power over their economic destiny by granting an exemption from Oregon Land Use Zoning laws if a county with less than 50,000 people has not seen an increase in population over the last 10 years.

3. Refocus priorities on job growth by generating job and business impact statements for major new regulations and bills. Establish the Small Business Services Division to serve as a proactive advocate of individual small employers, helping them navigate the regulatory environment and creatively look for ways to help up-and-coming Oregon job-creators succeed.

“We want to create an ecosystem in Oregon where businesses can germinate and grow, where Oregonians can find jobs that hold opportunity for long-term advancement,” said Senator Alan Olsen (R-Canby). “In order for that to happen, we have to remove the toxins and contaminates that kill the success of Oregon employers, like run-away red tape and one-size-fits all regulations.”

The fourth piece of the Republican agenda aims to cap excess government growth while increasing stability:

4. Establish a state spending cap and reserve fund. Benchmark state spending to personal income growth and enforce regular savings to build a safety net for core services. When tax collections exceed the spending growth rate allowed, excess revenue cannot be spent but will be put into a rainy day fund. Once the reserve fund is filled, excess tax collections will be returned to taxpayers.

“For too long, government spending has chased unsustainable spikes in revenue, leading to a boom-bust cycle of spending and higher taxes,” said Senator Frank Morse (R-Albany). “This proposal sets boundaries on government spending growth while filling a safety net account with excess revenue. We can protect classroom, prison and healthcare funding in future economic downturns without raising taxes.”

The final plank of the “Blueprint for Prosperity” agenda increases government accountability:

5. Set sunset dates for all major agencies, programs, boards and commissions and establish the Joint Oregon Sunset Committee to perform a careful review of each sun-setting state agency, program, board or commission. The goal of the committee is to evaluate whether an entity is still necessary and still fulfilling its original purpose.

“We believe that Oregon families have a common dream for the future of our state,” said Senator Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day). “Part of that dream is an Oregon with an ample supply of family wage jobs, where a family’s earnings grow faster than government spending, where classroom funding isn’t a victim of economic squalls, and a place where government at all levels is accountable to voters. Our February agenda can help make this dream a reality.”

The Senate Republican agenda document can be read and downloaded at http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/senaterepublicans/Blueprint_for_Prosperity.pdf.

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