Oregon Could Close Budget Gap Without New Taxes, Secretary of State Says

Secretary of State Dennis Richardson claims that if all government agencies in the state joined a single eProcurement system, the savings would be enough to close the gap in Oregon's 2019-21 budget.

Posted: Dec 19, 2018 10:45 AM

SALEM, Ore. — With a few administrative changes in government, the state of Oregon could save enough money to close the coming budget gap without raising taxes, according to a statement from Secretary of State Dennis Richardson. At present, that gap is estimated at $623 million.

According to an audit produced by the Secretary of State's office, if all government agencies moved to a single "eProcurement system" like OregonBuys, the resulting savings would run between $400 million and $1.6 billion.

"I’m pleased that my office will be the first agency in the state to begin using OregonBuys in a few months. Governor Brown wants to expand this to all agencies, and I will partner with her in any way I can to move this forward," Richardson said.

The savings that the audit identified springs from a gap between current procurement systems that many agencies use and the available technology.

"Oregon has the potential for massive savings by utilizing modern technology instead of relying on outdated procurement systems and practices dating back to the 1990s," Richardson said.

Putting a finer point on the issue, Richardson says that the audit identified "hundreds of situations" over the past several years in which Oregon state agencies paid more for items that other agencies were able to buy for much cheaper.

A new, modern, standardized procurement system would help agencies easily identify savings and cut down on waste, the audit found.

"This audit shows one of many ways Oregon can balance future budgets through efficiency and better prioritization instead of new taxes. Take a moment to appreciate the tremendous magnitude of estimated savings between $400 million and $1.6 billion. That equals between $96.55 and $382.21 per person for every Oregonian. This audit is a budget game changer," Richardson said.

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