Chairman Andy Duyck's Statement on School Funding and Gain Share

Release date: 06/06/2013
Sponsored by: Board of Commissioners

Chairman Andy Duyck’s Statement on School Funding and Gain Share


Washington County and the City of Hillsboro are well-known for attracting new businesses, creating job opportunities, diversifying our economy, and contributing to the livability of our own communities, and our beautiful state.  

Two weeks ago the County and City leadership met with key legislators in Salem to discuss ways to share in this success and future allocations of income tax revenues collected from jobs and payrolls in Washington County. For nearly a year, we've been working together and actively studying various options to improve what is already a great program. Our discussions have primarily focused on:  

1. Oregon's Strategic Investment Program (SIP)  has proven itself as the single-best tool we can offer for economic development  in Oregon;  

a. It has created thousands of jobs, paying good wages, while attracting massive amounts of private sector investment at a time when Oregon's economy needed it most; but  
b. It has required local jurisdictions to abate property tax and incur additional costs as a result of growth, while our state has clearly benefited from new income tax revenue coming from the jobs these companies have created and retained in Oregon. But this return has only been possible because of the local investments we have been making here.   
c. However, through our Gain Share partnership with the State of Oregon, the innovative program created by state lawmakers in 2007, our communities and local taxpayers are finally seeing a tangible return on some of those invested dollars. In January, Washington County, City of Hillsboro, and local agency partners received our first "Gain Share" payment from the State, and "shared" $11.57 million in sorely needed and well-earned returns.   

2. We believe, however, there are several areas where improvements can now be made:  

a. Washington County schools have been the fastest growing in the State, while school enrollment has been dropping in two-thirds of Oregon counties over the past 15 years;  
b. We believe that local schools  deserve special consideration and additional funding to deal with the increased growth that comes with economic investment and a growing population;    
c. Fortunately Washington County residents are well represented and served by our state legislators working in Salem who have been especially supportive of finding ways to create new jobs and try new ideas that will diversify and expand Oregon's economy;  
d. These lawmakers recognize that our economic growth in Washington County  has helped balance the state's budget and fund schools, and that other counties need economic growth opportunities as well.  

3. For public education, Washington County and the City of Hillsboro have proposed to:  

a. Allocate $10 million dollars during the 2013-15 biennium from the local government's share and dedicate this money to Washington County schools to help them handle the additional growth they have experienced in recent years;  
b. These dollars could go through the Northwest ESD to be allocated to our local school districts;  
c. It is important to remember, approximately 38% of the personal income tax dollars being generated for the State already go to fund public education.       

I would also like to remind you all that in the 15 years between fiscal year 1995-96 through 2010-11, the County distributed to the Northwest ESD for distribution to the K-12 districts in Washington County a total of $32,830,381. In addition, the County also distributed to Portland Community College $2,297,672. This brings Washington County's total distribution to local schools and education programs to $35,128,053.  

4. In addition, we have recommended that some of the additional income tax revenue being collected by the State, be used to support economic development in our state, here in Washington County, and in the City of Hillsboro. For statewide economic development, we have  proposed:  

a. From the State's share 10% of the income tax dollars generated from SIP-qualified jobs and payrolls should be dedicated to  
i. The Governor's strategic reserve fund  (Oracle and SalesForce are two recent local success stories for this program)  
ii. Preparing industrial lands and restoring brownfield sites throughout the State    

Summary:  

There is no question that Washington County and local taxpayers have invested heavily to promote economic development, diversify employment opportunities, and keep Oregon economically viable. And, while we have been through tough times, think how bad it would have been without the long term commitment that has yielded such great results.  

With every program, there are changes. We want this very successful effort which has created more jobs, paying higher wages than any of us could have ever expected, to continue and serve both the State and the County. We continue our offer and call upon our state legislators and local partners to craft the best program possible and provide the assurances and continuity to enable these programs to continue to be successful.  

Thank you for your interest, and the opportunity to speak with you all this morning. I'll be happy to answer a few questions.

 

Contact:

Julie McCloud, Public & Govt. Affairs Assistant
503-846-8785
julie_mccloud@co.washington.or.us