Oregon votes for rainy-day health fund

March 15, 2007 at 8:44 PM
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SALEM, Ore., March 15 (UPI) -- The Oregon State Senate voted Thursday to establish a rainy-day fund that would pay for healthcare and other social services in lean years.

The legislation, which has already been passed by the House, would make Oregon the first state in the nation to have such a fund, the Salem-News reported.

The fund, which will start out with about $300 million, will function like a savings account for the state. In good years, budget surpluses will be stored in the fund.

In years of economic downturn, the state will take funds out to avoid cuts to essential programs.

In many states, bad economic years are double trouble, because state tax revenues go down and the need for Medicaid and other government services goes up. The result is often deep cuts to programs just when they are needed the most.

The bill now awaits Gov. Ted Kulongoski's signature.

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