After five full months in session, Oregon lawmakers adjourned with a two-year budget and partisan gripes. Lawmakers struggled to reach compromises surrounding difficult issues like tax reform, even discussing potentially raising small business taxes by nearly $200 million (the measure ultimately failed). House Minority Leader Mike McLane called the session one of the most partisan and divisive he’s ever been a part of, according to the Portland Tribune.
“The session will be more about missed opportunities than anything else,” said McLane according to the Portland Tribune. “The sound of a can being kicked down the road is resonating.”
State lawmakers also had to deal with a $1.4 billion revenue shortage by making cuts to the budget and ending certain tax loopholes. The major savings for the bill came through reducing costs for public employee health benefits estimated to save around $1 billion through 2021.
A major transportation funding bill also passed, increasing the gas tax, registration and title fees, a tax on adult bicycles more than $200, and a 0.5 percent excise tax on the purchase of new vehicles, according to the Portland Tribune. Some lawmakers signaled concern that voters would challenge the tax increases during a May 2018 election on any referrals.