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Efficient, effective budget a priority

TWO VIEWS • State leaders lay out agenda for successful legislative session

Oregon's House Republicans campaigned on themes of government accountability, getting Oregonians back to work, and making sure our children and senior citizens receive the best schools and health care possible with our available resources.

Republicans return to the House as a strong majority that is prepared to accomplish what voters sent them to Salem to do. But both parties will have to work together to make voters' wishes for a more responsible and effective government a reality.

Although our economy is getting better, if we keep spending at our current level, we are likely to face a shortfall in the next budget. At the same time, voters have told us time and again that new taxes are not an option.

In their campaigns, both Democrats and Republicans vowed not to raise taxes. I trust both sides will hold to that commitment as we balance the budget.

Despite the boom-and-bust cycles of our economy, the Legislature has done nothing to even out the peaks and valleys. The responsible thing to do is to create a reasonable spending cap and an account that will help us save in the good times so we can get through the tough times.

House Republicans are championing a proposal that would do just that while keeping the kicker intact. If our plan had been in place 10 years ago, our state budget would be slightly higher than it is today, we would have $800 million in a reserve account, and we would have sent $2 billion more back to taxpayers.

Republicans also recognize that we must be proactive to keep our economy moving and to provide good jobs, as well as use the resulting tax revenue to pay for better roads, schools and health care. Oregon must become a place where businesses want to be. Republicans will work to make access to industrial land easier and remove unnecessary roadblocks to running a business. We want to fund education first this session so that it does not become a political football used to raise taxes.

If Republicans and Democrats can work together and better manage taxpayers' money, we will be well on our way to a successful and productive legislative session.

Rep. Wayne Scott, R-Canby, is the House majority leader. He was elected to the Legislature in 2002; he became the House majority leader last year.