Excerpts from Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber's State of the State address today.
The Oregon Business Plan, which has guided our work over the past two years, is built on three pillars: creating 25,ooo jobs per year through 2020; raising Oregon’s personal income levels above the national average by 2020; and reducing Oregon’s poverty rate to 10 percent by 2020. These three pillars recognize that private sector job creation is the foundation of an enduring prosperity – but they also recognize that prosperity must lift people in every community in every corner of our state; and that without reducing poverty, all Oregonians will not have their shot at the American Dream.
And that means that over the next two years, our commitment to these second two pillars must be no less than our commitment to the first.
Far too many Oregonians continue to struggle with unemployment, debt and the rising cost of health care. That is the urgency you bring with you to the 77th Legislative Assembly. And that sense of urgency is at the core of the budget I sent you last month – a budget that reflects the priorities that have guided us over the past two years: putting children, families and education first; investing in jobs and innovation; and reducing the cost of government. It is also a budget built on the assumption that even with constrained resources, we cannot wait to begin reinvesting in children, in families and in education.
When I first came to the Legislature in 1979, kids could drop out of Roseburg High School in the 10th or 11th grade and get jobs in the woods and the mills with good wages and benefits. Those days are long gone – and over the past few decades, the economic benefits of education have steadily grown. In 1979, the average college graduate made 38 percent more than the average high school graduate. Now, the average college graduate makes over 75 percent more. And more than 60 percent of the jobs in the next decade will require at least a technical certificate or associates degree – yet only 67 percent of our students are graduating from high school, taking them off the path to economic security. ... (more…)