Republicans remain committed to 24/7 OSP protection
By State Representative Bruce Hanna,
SALEM””House Republican Leader Bruce Hanna (R-Roseburg) and fellow Republicans today said they oppose proposed cuts to the Oregon State Police, arguing the Legislature must fulfill its promise to provide round-the-clock Trooper protection. The Republicans said money is available to fund the 39 Troopers needed this biennium to improve safety on highways throughout the state.
“The Legislature must prioritize spending and enable the State Police to provide assistance to Oregonians at all hours of the day and night,” Rep. Hanna said. “We must follow-through on our commitment to putting more Troopers back on the road. If the Legislature had passed our 2007 plan to provide dedicated funding to the Oregon State Police, we would be on track to providing this critical service to our citizens.”
Budget-writers have indicated that they would delay providing round-the-clock OSP coverage, but provided no assurances that the Legislature would actually hire the additional troopers during the 2009-11 biennium.
“Our Troopers don’t want more empty promises from the Legislature, they want the resources and back-up they need to keep Oregonians safe on our highways,” said Rep. Andy Olson (R-Albany), a former Oregon State Police member. “The Legislature must also reverse deep cuts to our system of training new Troopers, which is directly threatening our ability to restore 100 positions as we promised during the 2007 session.”
Republicans said the Legislature can fund the 39 Troopers by redirecting $500,000 from the Public Employee Benefits Board’s $131 million ending fund balance. Despite the urging of Republicans to utilize a portion of the balance to offset 2007-09 cuts, Democratic leaders have so far refused to access this significant fund for urgent needs like these.