Rep. Vic Gilliam: Government needs to wake up

Below is part of an article by State Representative Vic Gilliam as featured in The Statesman Journal
Guest Opinion, March 18, 2009, Full article here

During the past few weeks I’ve met with many interest groups urging me to protect their programs from being cut in the state budget. In between these appointments, I often think about my daughter who is attending college. So far, my daughter’s college package is unscathed by this recession, thanks to family savings, her curious mind, good grades and scholarships. But I know things could change.

There is a logical expectation when you enter into a traditional four-year college degree program that you’ll maintain your GPA and complete the degree within those four years. In return, you’ll receive support each year “” maybe even increased support for inflation or a semester abroad or moving off campus, etc. But what if things change? What if parents lose their jobs or you decide that going to parties is more important than going to class? Circumstances can change despite our understandable and natural expectations. Unfortunately, our leaders in Salem fail to recognize this reality.

Oregon is facing dramatic shortfalls in the current budget and the 2009-11 budget, but chronic deficits are a symptom of a larger problem. Oregonians are losing their income and savings, yet incoming tax receipts are flat despite a very deep economic recession.

During our last period of economic growth, when the state had $2.9 billion in new revenue, the Legislature spent tax dollars as if the boom times would never end. The 2007 Legislature increased new government spending by more than 20 percent and saved very little for the foreshadowed economic recession.

— To continue the article click here