Five Pillars of Prosperity - 2016
The 2016 Oregon Legislature is preparing for a long, five month legislative session that begins February 1, and has begun considering its priorities for this year.
We believe the 2015 Oregon Legislature will advance the prosperity of the entire state if it focuses on five key issues.
Together, these five issues form the five pillars of prosperity for our state.
These are the issues we’ll be paying attention to, talking about, and holding our elected officials accountable to this year.
Oregon’s challenges are well documented, from high unemployment to stagnant incomes to systemic education problems. But, solutions to move Oregonians forward are attainable.
Five Pillars of Prosperity 2016
1: Grow Jobs and Incomes
Oregon’s unemployment rate has constantly been above the national average for the past two decades, leaving a higher percentage of Oregonians without jobs and steady incomes. Reducing unemployment—and creating high-skill and high-wage job opportunities—is crucial for Oregon’s economic growth.
Oregon’s rural economies have long experienced below-average growth as compared to their urban counterparts, leaving many small communities struggling. Careful environmental stewardship to sustainably produce food, nursery products, wood products, and other agriculture crops will allow these rural economies to expand and grow.
Oregon’s infrastructure is simply getting too old. The American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2013 Report Card for Oregon’s infrastructure gave it a C- grade, and found that Oregon has 67 dams deemed high hazard and 431 bridges that are considered structurally deficient. Fixing Oregon’s roads, bridges, dams, and other major infrastructure will make the lives of Oregonians safer while revitalizing the transportation industry and allowing for faster, more efficient deliveries of Oregon products.
Oregon’s graduation rate is shockingly low—only 68% of public high school students graduate in four years. That’s 12 percentage points below the national average, and indicates that Oregon high school students are not getting the support and help they need to graduate. Helping Oregon students develop skills and plan for their careers will revitalize their educations and help the entire economy grow. Investments into K-12 education as well as career and technical education and other institutions of higher education will boost the labor force as well as give Oregonians a better future.
The US’s total public debt is over $18 trillion, more than 100% of total yearly US GDP, and is still growing. Carrying this staggering level of national debt will slow economic growth, and a less vibrant economy will reduce our standard of living. Ultimately, we will face an economic crisis if we don’t change course.
Oregon’s congressional delegation needs to be constructive participants in a plan that stabilizes debt as a share of the U.S. economy and then puts it on a clear downward path. Credible, gradual debt reduction can reverse all of the negative economic consequences of elevated and rising debt by improving business confidence and reducing uncertainty.
The Oregon Prosperity Project will engage you on these five crucial pillars for our state in 2016, and help you learn more and get involved in support of all Oregonians.