2014 Oregon Financial Condition


Oregon Financial Condition Report


The impact of the Great Recession and the beginnings of recovery are told in this report about Oregon’s finances. The report covers the period ending June 30, 2014.

Oregon was hard hit, forcing difficult budget decisions to bring spending in line with revenues. The state’s biggest challenge was meeting the increased need for state services without enough state revenues, though extra federal funding helped.

As the economy recovers, and Oregonians get back to work, it is a good time to examine the state’s financial health for areas that need attention.

  • The state borrowed to build infrastructure and create jobs but the debt payments continue after the money is spent, leaving less money for future maintenance.

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  • Health and human services spending grows year after year, reflecting the continued needs of the Oregonians whose income hasn’t rebounded enough from the recovery.
  • Oregon also relied on its Rainy Day Fund during the recession but has not yet begun to rebuild it.

It’s important to note areas of success and we should be pleased to see some encouraging longer-term trends.

  • State health care costs for employees have leveled off in the past four years, and declined slightly in 2014 as a result of employee contributions.

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  • Crime rates for violent crimes continue their long decline though property crimes recently increased slightly.
  • With federal assistance, Oregon had sufficient unemployment insurance reserves to provide benefits through the recession, and has already made great progress rebuilding the reserves.

Sound financial condition is vital for sustainable government services. The state needs to continue rebuilding, and prepare for the next economic storm.

Read the report

Financial Audit

“Audits Division working to make reports accessible”

A Daily Astorian story describes some of the work underway as well as changes in how on the Oregon Audits Division reports its results. Originally published in the Capital Insider, the story profiles the office.Astor_050515

“Audits Division is an unseen gold mine of information.”

Auditors at Work

Three Fundamental Challenges for Oregon


Oregon Challenges: An Audits Overview


This report focuses on three fundamental areas of state government that pose critical challenges to Oregon’s progress:

  • Educating Oregon’s workforce
  • Developing Oregon’s infrastructure
  • Strengthening Oregon’s Finances.
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Executive Summary


This report focuses on three fundamental areas of state government that pose critical challenges to Oregon’s progress.  Each area has been the subject of multiple audits, and this report synthesizes past Secretary of State Audits Division reports and related research on each area.  The three areas are:

  • Educating Oregon’s Workforce: Oregon must have an educational system organized for student success, and we must identify ways to help Oregonians enter the workforce.  Our audits shed light on how Oregon might better educate and mobilize its workforce.
  • Developing Oregon’s Infrastructure: Oregon faces critical infrastructure needs, including the need to upgrade state information technology systems and to fund future transportation projects.  Our audits have identified strategies to address these critical infrastructure needs.
  • Strengthening Oregon’s Finances: Oregon faces critical issues with state and local government financing.  Our audits have addressed the financial strain faced by our struggling county partners, ways to collect more debt owed to the state, and ways to build sustainable finances for state government.

We highlight these challenges because they affect important fundamentals of state government – educating its workforce, infrastructure, and finances. We also highlight them because the challenges are large and difficult. While we have seen some progress and small successes, they need more attention and committed efforts from state leaders. More challenges exist and we will periodically report on them as we complete future audits, highlighting key recommendations and agency efforts underway that could address those challenges.

Read the full report

New Audit Release

Major IT Projects: Continue Expanding Oversight and Strengthen Accountability


Major IT Projects: Continue Expanding Oversight and Strengthen Accountability


The new effort to monitor and control system development, “stage gate,” is a significant step in the right direction. However, the following weaknesses should be addressed:

  • DAS has not fully staffed or defined stage gate processes
  • Stage gate efforts may not sufficiently detect or prevent significant system development problems state agencies have experienced
  • Some state agencies lack expertise to manage large IT projects
  • Consequences of failure to meet stage gate requirements are unclear.
IT Audit

Education Capstone Report


Education Capstone Report: Achieving Oregon’s Education Goals for All Students


Our audit work recommended state agencies, their partners, and the Oregon Legislature help ensure an equitable and effective education for all Oregonians in these areas:

  • coordination and clarification of roles among agencies and oversight boards
  • data informed instruction and decision-making
  • targeted support services for teachers and students
  • the high cost of child care, which restricts learning
  • education funding to support Oregon’s education goals.

Executive Summary


A strong education system is vital to the health and welfare of Oregonians. It strengthens our workforce and overall economy, and can help individuals and families transition off of public assistance.

Large changes in Oregon’s education structure the last several years are intended to create an integrated and outcomes-based system of public education. Despite plans and efforts to improve our education system, Oregon continues to struggle in areas such as low on-time high school graduation rates and high absenteeism, poor national rankings for overall student achievement, low community college and university completion rates, and continued increases in college student debt burden. Additionally, over 340,000 adult Oregonians (11%) do not have a high school diploma or equivalent.

Oregon’s workforce no longer provides the types of jobs it once did or individuals without a high school edcapstone1diploma, making education a priority for so many more Oregonians.

In the past few years the Oregon Secretary of State, Audits Division has released several performance audits focusing on efforts and opportunities to fulfill Oregon’s ambitious education goals and improve the quality of education.

Many of our education audit recommendations have been implemented, and the results of our work have been widely discussed and helped in setting policy direction for Oregon’s education system.

New Audit Release