See you next Saturday?

House Speaker Tina Kotek

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The lovely spring weather is a sure sign that we are in the home stretch of the legislative session, with about six weeks left to go.  We plan to work hard until the last day and do our very best to make progress on the remaining big things – the budget, transportation, and housing.  Here are some quick updates:

Budget and Tax Reform Town Hall

Please join my colleagues and me next Saturday, June 3rd for a budget and tax reform town hall.  We are working to close a $1.4 billion budget gap, and this meeting will be a great opportunity to hear the latest and give us your feedback on proposed solutions.

Saturday, June 3 at 10 AM - 11:30 AM
Benson Polytechnic High School
546 NE 12th Ave, Portland, Oregon 97232

Mending the State’s Budget Gap and Investing in Our Future

Early in session, our budget-writing Ways and Means committee traveled around the state to listen to Oregonians about their budget priorities – a tour that was especially important considering the looming $1.8 billion budget shortfall.  Over 1,100 people signed up to testify at hearings in 9 communities across the state – from Portland to Ontario, Coos Bay to Hermiston, and several places in between.  Many people shared powerful, personal stories about how state investments directly impact their lives.

After additional projected tax revenue in the March and May economic forecasts, the budget shortfall tightened to its current level of $1.4 billion.  Legislators have actively studied how to make targeted cuts and implement new strategies to curb the overall cost of state government.  On May 4th, I joined my colleagues Representatives Phil Barnhart and Nancy Nathanson in proposing the Oregon Education Investment Initiative to combine cost-saving ideas with new revenue to get us to $2 billion in new investments for education. They wrote a helpful guest column explaining why it’s time for tax reform: "Simplified tax can mend broken system."

I believe we need a long-term solution to our budget challenges, and the bottom line is that we must curb spending AND raise additional revenue.  Otherwise, we won’t have the schools and other critical services we want.  We can find a better path forward. 

Transportation Plan Heads into Final Stage

When it comes to our state's transportation infrastructure, Oregonians from across the state have sent a clear message:  fix it.  So, since last year, legislators have been working to create a statewide transportation investment package that will protect the infrastructure we have and modernize our transportation systems to keep up with the needs of our growing state.  The chairs and vice-chairs of the Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization will release the first draft of a bill next Wednesday.

The Joint Committee spent many hours touring transportation trouble spots and gathering feedback from hundreds of community members in public hearings around the state.  Last December in my newsletter, I asked to hear your thoughts, too, and 492 people completed my transportation survey. Thank you!

Here are a few key takeaways:

  • Most respondents (66%) agreed a transportation package should be a top priority for the 2017 session.
  • The top three transportation priorities were maintaining existing roads, bridges, etc. (22%), expanding pedestrian and bicycle options (22%), and expanding transit options (20%).
  • Many respondents listed additional funding priorities, including safety improvements to reach the “Vision Zero” goal of no traffic-related fatalities or serious injuries, Safe Routes to Schools, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Lack of alternative transportation options (35%) and congestion (32%) were the top two complaints for local trouble spots.


Here are a few suggestions we received about how to make the transportation successful for all Oregonians:

  • “Keep communities of color and low income high on your priority list to make access to transportation more equitable for all residents of Oregon.”
  • “Safety should be the goal. Follow the Vision Zero goals of reducing deaths by re-engineering the roads. Take action on every death to prevent future ones.”
  • “Increased opportunities for active transportation - cycling, walking, transit. Increased infrastructure improvements to help all Oregonians feel safe where they live, work and play. Prioritize investments for folks who are most vulnerable.”

I will keep these priorities and suggestions in mind as we start the final deliberations on a transportation bill, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts as more details about the plan become public.

Taking on the Housing Crisis

In a previous newsletter, I talked about how the legislature is working to take on the housing crisis by focusing on three key strategies: preserving the affordable housing stock that we have, building more affordable and market rate units, and protecting tenants who are experiencing immediate hardships. You can read that broad overview here.

With all the bills and budget asks that have been introduced this session, here’s a quick list of things the legislature should do before it adjourns in order to make progress on our state’s housing crisis:


  • House Bill 2004A - limits the use of no cause evictions and lifts the statewide preemption on local rent stabilization programs.
  • House Bill 2724 - creates Rent Guarantee Program to provide incentives and financial assistance to landlords that who rent or lease to people with barriers to renting who have completed a renter education course.


  • House Bill 2007A - addresses local barriers to the development of market rate and affordable housing.
  • House Bill 3260 - allows coastal counties to impose a local transient lodging tax on residential short-term vacation rental properties to fund affordable housing.
  • House Bill 3373 - creates two positions to help communities increase the availability of affordable housing.
  • House Bill 2912 - establishes the Affordable Housing Land Acquisition Revolving Loan Fund Program to make loans to eligible organizations to purchase land for affordable housing development and to provide supportive services to residents and low- income households.


  • House Bill 2002A - expands laws regarding preservation of publicly supported housing and provides the state or local jurisdictions with an opportunity to purchase and right of first refusal to purchase publicly supported housing projects that are at risk of flipping to market rate.

Additional Funding: 

  • House Bill 3357A – increases the document recording fee and provides additional funding each biennium for the following programs:  Homeless Services (EHA/SHAP) $2.4 million; Home Ownership (HOAP) $3.4 million; and Affordable Housing Development (GHA) $18.2 million.
  • $100 million in general obligation bonds for affordable housing development (LIFT Program)
  • $10 million in lottery bonds for preserving affordable housing
  • $10 million in general funds for Emergency Housing Assistance (EHA) and Shelter Assistance Program (SHAP). 

With a coordinated strategy on all fronts of the crisis, we can make a difference and help more Oregonians have the stable housing they need.

Please Stay Engaged

As always, please feel free to contact my office with your questions, comments, or concerns.



Tina Kotek

State Representative
House District 44
Speaker of the House

email: I phone: 503-986-1200
address: 900 Court St NE, H-269, Salem, OR 97301