New state financial report details $3.3 billion in available funds
Salem, OR – Oregon’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) released by the Secretary of State’s office last week states that more than $3.3 billion in “unreserved, undesignated fund balance… was available for spending.” A budget plan pushed by Senate Republicans calls for $133 million from those balances to help finance this cycle’s budget in a way that protects the economy and preserves important services.
“We can protect important government services and Oregon’s economy by using the money already at the state’s disposal,” said Senator Chris Telfer (R-Bend). “This report confirms that there are billions of dollars for use at the legislature’s discretion. We should use a small portion of this money to protect K-12 classrooms, higher education, services for the disabled and public safety.”
The CAFR, prepared by the State Controller’s Division at the Department of Administrative Services to analyze the position of the Oregon’s fiscal affairs, states:
“As of June 30, 2009, the State’s governmental funds reported combined ending fund balances of $4.4 billion. Of this amount, approximately 25.1 percent was reserved for nonspendable items, such as inventories and permanent fund principal, or for specific purposes, such as debt service. The remainder was classified as unreserved, undesignated fund balance and was available for spending, subject to statutory and constitutional spending constraints.”
Since by definition lawmakers write statute, any statutory constraints can be addressed.
“This is money that has piled up in agencies from over-collected fees and it is revenue that has not been expended as scheduled,” said Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day). “These are taxpayer dollars that should never be left stranded in the bureaucracy, but shifted to pay for services Oregonians need. If we use this money wisely, we can leave the economy to grow and recover.”
Senate Republicans have announced a budget proposal for the February session, saying that there are ways to balance the budget without increasing unemployment or drastically cutting services in the midst of a historic recession. See an outline of the budget here: