earmarks and pork barrel spending not the answer to Oregon economic crisis

Press release from Senate Republican Office

Senate President Peter Courtney’s (D-Salem) proposal of $1 billion in new government spending is not what Oregon families need to weather the state’s economic crisis. Courtney’s proposal comes after months of rising unemployment, declining revenues and looming deficits underscored by a 20% increase in unchecked spending.

“Every Oregonian should be asking the President one question: how are we going to pay for it?” said Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day). “Spending beyond our means is what put our economy into the mess we face today. Swiping the state credit card in the name of jobs not only doesn’t sound like a good idea, it isn’t a good idea. Taxpayers won’t be able to afford the bill when payments come due. Ultimately, businesses create lasting, local jobs, not government.”

On top of the $2.3 billion of debt the Legislative Fiscal Office says the state has incurred over the last two budget cycles, Courtney wants to finance another $1 billion in wish-list construction projects. In stark contrast to Courtney’s spending plans, Republicans have been advocating for a freeze in spending, a roll back of the 33% pay increases to agency directors, and a moratorium on new programs so working families can be given relief from regressive tax rates.

“Oregonians have known for over a year that our economy is in trouble, yet Democrat leaders have just now announced they want to make 2009 “˜The Jobs Session’,” said Ferrioli. “Republicans and 123,000 unemployed Oregonians would rather jobs be the focus of 2008. We have been talking about a proposal that creates 20,000 jobs for less than half the cost of President Courtney’s run-away spending plan. If we cut unnecessary spending like Oregon families have to do, we can give tax relief to the families who work the hardest and earn the least. That means families can have breathing room in their budgets while we put Oregonians back to work.”

Oregon lost another 7,400 jobs in August, raising Oregon’s unemployment rate from 5.9 percent to 6.5 percent. 123,116 Oregonians were unemployed in August.