During his first term Representative Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis) was no stranger to working on state budgets. He Co-Chaired the budget Subcommittees on Natural Resources and Public Safety and sat on the Joint Ways and Means Committee tasked to develop and approve each state budget. Now in his second term, Rayfield has been appointed to serve as Co-Chair of the Human Services budget committee – a role that will force him to grapple with a roughly one-billion dollar funding gap in the program area.
“The programs and budgets in this area dramatically impacts the quality of life for many Oregonians, from in-home care for seniors to health care for children,” Rayfield said. “We’ll be looking for ways to continue the same level of care and services to these folks care within the context of a significant budget shortfall.”
The Subcommittee on Humans Services develops the budgets for the Oregon Health Authority and the Department of Human Services. The Human Services budget area is facing close to a one-billion dollar shortfall due to expected decreases in the federal Medicaid reimbursement rate, increased case loads, and the elimination of one-time funding from the federal government. The 2015-17 budgets for these agencies totaled more than 29 billion dollars. A large portion of the funds that make up these budgets come from the federal government due to favorable matching rates as high as 9 to 1 for every state dollar spent.
In addition to this new role, Rayfield has been appointed Co-Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means. This move makes him the second ranking House member to serve on the state’s budget committee. Rayfield will also serve on the House Rules Committee as vice-chair.
“I am excited for the session to begin,” Rayfield said. “While it’s daunting to face a significant shortfall, it also presents opportunities to do things better and forces conversations that otherwise may not have been possible.”
Following the 2016 election, Rayfield was re-elected by his peers to serve in leadership as the House Majority Whip. The 2017 Session will organize on January 9th with daily committees starting to meet on February 1.