Governor Brown unveils 2017-2019 budget

Budget focuses on education, healthcare and job growth

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown talks with members of the media to preview  legislation for the upcoming session at the Oregon State Capitol, in Salem, Ore., on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Timothy J. Gonzalez)
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown talks with members of the media to preview legislation for the upcoming session at the Oregon State Capitol, in Salem, Ore., on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Timothy J. Gonzalez)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown presented her budget proposal for the next biennium, aiming to address a $1.7 billion shortfall while maintaining funding for critical areas, including education and health care.

In her proposal Thursday, which goes to the Legislature, Brown proposes closing a loophole in so-called pass-through taxes, increasing a tobacco tax, and discarding the customary increases in budgets for state universities and community colleges. In addition, the proposed budget maintains current service level funding for early childhood and kindergarten through 12th grade.

Brown’s budget will also look for efficiencies, including keeping vacant state jobs open for 60 days and eliminating non-mandatory travel for state employees.

The cuts and revenue increases together are expected to address the shortfall.