Representative Kim Thatcher: Thoughts on Special Session, cuts

State Representative Kim Thatcher,

This has been a busy summer for state agencies — trying to figure out how to cut 9% from their budgets under orders from the Governor to fill a nearly $600 million hole in the current state budget. These agencies are also concerned about a nearly $3 billion shortfall projected for the next budget cycle. Something’s got to give.

As you may recall in my last newsletter we talked about the Governor’s across-the-board reductions to state programs. Legislative leaders refused to call a special session to avoid cuts in critical programs so now we’re left with political posturing. Here’s just the first of many examples to come. The Department of Human Services sent out letters to thousands of seniors and people with disabilities, who rely on caregivers for help with everything from grocery shopping to bathing, telling them they will no longer get services. Many, instead would have to go into more expensive state-subsidized facilities. Then the Legislative Leadership calls the Emergency Board into session to restore some of these cuts for a few months – at least until, you guessed it, after the November election is over. I have to wonder if this E-Board action is more about publicity than a genuine desire to help some of our most vulnerable citizens. If the leadership was truly interested in that, they would hold a Special Session and put all the cards on the table. That way we can target cuts to non-essential programs and provide funding to seniors for the long term so they once again don’t have to feel like political pawns worried about what’s going to happen when the funding is all gone next year.

I predict this process of restoring budget cuts for political gain will repeat in the fall. This time it will be funding for K-12, just in time for back to school media coverage and again, right before the November election. I remain less and less hopeful that the leadership will do the right thing and hold a special session. These off-and-on budget cuts will come to a crashing halt next year when legislators are faced with what to do about that multi-billion dollar budget shortage.

I remain committed to prioritizing services based on core functions. It’s no secret, the state budget has gone up by double digits in recent years. Lawmakers have been spending like there’s no tomorrow. Well, guess what? Tomorrow is here and we’ve run out of money. It’s time for leadership at the Capitol to step up and do the right thing by allowing the Oregon Legislature as a whole to make the tough choices. We don’t need these piece meal budget changes and we certainly don’t need politicians pressuring us for another tax hike on Oregon families who are already overtaxed.

Sincerely,

Kim Thatcher

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Posted by at 06:00 | Posted in Measure 37 | 11 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Anonymous

    gut K-12. the schools are getting worse and the student less prepared for life no matter how much more money we pour into that black hole. simply returning K-12 to its funding level of 6 years ago (which was already bloated then) would put Oregon far into the black.

    • Anonymous

      Oh the youth are prepared by the public schools, to be non-thinking dependent on the government. Just what the progressives want.

  • Ron Marquez

    A special session is just an opportunity to come to the conclusion that all possible cuts have already been made and that the only alternative to to “seek new revenue sources”, code speak for new taxes and fees.

    Sorry, Kim, but no special session. At least the taxpayers will be safe until the next regular legislative session.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    No special session – If people have elected fools who didn’t see this coming (as Ted famously said, he was surprised revenues were down) then there are consequences to that.

    The revenue shortfall has been heading towards us like a tortoise going up hill. Everyone saw it coming, our leadership did nothing. The time for deliberating was then, instead our legislature debated plastic bag usage and the like.

    No special session – let the people live with the leadership they elected. It is the only way to hold the plastic bag debaters accountable.

  • Insider

    Kim, we are still waiting for you to tell us where the cuts should come from?

    Stop the rhetoric, Kim. Show us your cut list.

    • Inside Outside

      Hasn’t she been very detailed and specific?

      “I remain committed to prioritizing services based on core functions.”

      What more do you want!

  • Beaverton working guy

    Insider, your “trick” question is getting old. People like you are always looking for emotional weapons to use against people like Kim, who actually think and add and subtract. Your shameless attempts at emotional manipulation typifies liberal policy and goes to show that you are not capable of rational debate. You are the type that fills hearing rooms with handicapped people to force skittish legislators to fund your bloated budgets (and by extension your fat pensions) lest they appear cold hearted. Shame on you.

    • Inside Outside

      Oh, those pensions again. So is she somehow going to cut pensions more than Kulongoski, who ran into trouble with the courts, has already done? It would be nice to hear the plan.

      But really, what does “prioritizing services based on core functions” mean?

      At some point, it takes more than cliches and bromides. Ditto for Dudley. Hey, I like that “Ditto for Dudley.” But seriously, let’s hear the plan from the good lady. Or from someone.

      Oh, right, the Republican “plan” from the last time out. Roll back salary increases and the like. But that didn’t fly. In the real world, the Democrats are going to be the deciders. All the Republicans can hope to do is shape things some. Less money for K-12? Close a prison or two? Or a state university? Something is going to get cut, really.

      So let’s hear the plan!

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