Senator Chris Telfer: Pressing Secretary of State for clarification

Telfer asks Secretary of State for clarification on available state resources

Salem, OR — Senator Chris Telfer (R-Bend) has sent a letter asking Secretary of State Kate Brown (D) for detailed information outlining what specific restrictions are limiting the use of more than $3.3 billion in unreserved and unallocated state assets. “As a legislator, I am attempting to balance a budget that enables Oregonians to receive services they desperately need,” said Telfer. “We need to know what resources are available to help families through this tough time.”

Controversy has surrounded a report audited by the Secretary of State’s office that mentioned more than $3.3 billion in unreserved and unrestricted funds in state agency accounts. A statement by Brown on January 13 made the qualifying statement, “Make no mistake about it, these dollars are subject to federal restrictions as well as statutory and constitutional spending constraints.”

“It is confusing because the report says one thing and then the signer of the report, Kate Brown, says another,” said Telfer. “I think it is vital that we get a specific breakdown of what these funds are and what restrictions might or might not affect them.”

Specifically, Telfer asks for:
“¢ The dollar amount of the federally restricted funds and the restrictions thereon,
“¢ The dollar amount of the constitutionally restricted funds and the restrictions thereon and,
“¢ The dollar amounts of the statutorily restricted funds and the associated ORS for each amount.

Using 4% of the $3.3 billion, around $133 million, Senate Republicans have created a budget proposal for the February session, saying that there are ways to balance the budget without increasing unemployment or drastically cutting services in the midst of a historic recession. See an outline of the budget here: