Published in the August 2009 Oregon State Board of Pharmacy Newsletter
The February 2009 Newsletter carried an article titled, No. 448: License Fee Increases Proposed for 2009-2011 Budget. For the 2009-2011 biennium, the Oregon State Board of Pharmacy proposed a budget that included a fee increase for several of its license categories, including pharmacies, pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians. The Board is a state agency under Governor Ted Kulongoski’s administration, and its budget must be approved by the governor and the legislature. However, the Board does not receive any state general funds for its operations. The agency’s operating revenue is derived completely from the licensing and registration fees it collects.
It turns out that, as is often the case, the budget proposed for 2009- 2011 by the Board was not approved by the legislature. The budget for the Board that was ultimately approved appears slightly different (smaller). It does not include the proposed fee increase or the revenue that would have been raised by the proposed fee increase.
While this may be relatively good news for those who stood to pay a higher license fee this year, it does present a challenge for the Board. Board members and staff have worked many hours together over the past year to review priorities, rearrange expenditure line items, and generally tighten the agency’s belt in an attempt to make ends meet without needing to eliminate full-time equivalents. Although management staff have been put under salary freezes or pay cuts and have been required to take unpaid furlough days for the last few months of the 2007-2009 biennium, and a number of other operational cost saving measures have been employed, the full impact of the agency’s legislatively adopted budget on staffing and operations for 2009-2011 has not yet been determined. State and public employee representatives continue to negotiate the final contract settlements and all indications point to the continuation of budget constraints, belt tightening, and furlough days for the next two years.
Complicating the overall budget picture for the upcoming biennium, is the list of bills that have passed through the current legislature, which will have a direct impact on the Board’s workload. A number of these bills require the Board to engage in rulemaking, research, and reorganization of internal structure and staffing. It is very likely that a fee increase will need to be considered for the 2011-2013 biennium.