Representative Matt Wingard: Mispending at Session’s end

By State Rep. Matt Wingard
Thursday, February 26, 2010

SALEM”” As the 2010 session concludes today, Rep. Matt Wingard (R-Wilsonville) today said the Legislature failed to focus on improving the economy this month, and that new spending approved this session will threaten the state budget and critical state services in the future.
“Despite the recent passage of income and corporate tax increases, the Legislature increased new spending by $30 million and expanded the state’s payroll by 200 positions,” Rep. Wingard said. “Rather than making state spending more sustainable, legislative leadership emptied our reserves and increased our state debt. Even worse, the Legislature didn’t address the chronic unemployment that is hurting Oregon families.”

Rep. Wingard said he is disappointed that legislative leadership blocked several Republican measures aimed at improving private sector job creation. However, the House passed several bills to expand regulation and red tape on businesses that are struggling to retain workers and survive the recession.

“It’s a mistake for the Legislature to approve 200 new government positions and declare “˜mission accomplished,'” Rep. Wingard said. “Oregon’s private sector is continuing to lose jobs, and the current legislature only seems interested in passing new taxes and regulations on employers. As long as Oregon remains closed for business, we will fail to create jobs and generate the tax revenue we need to protect schools, public safety and other critical services.”

Despite his disappointment, Rep. Wingard said he was pleased to support several bipartisan bills, including an extension of unemployment benefits for jobless Oregonians. Rep. Wingard also supported reforming the state’s out-of-control Business Energy Tax Credit, as well as legislation to provide more assistance to Oregon’s returning veterans.

“While I strongly supported extended unemployment benefits, I understand that my constituents want permanent, family-wage jobs,” Rep. Wingard said. “The 2010 session offered a few bipartisan accomplishments, but I’m disappointed the Legislature didn’t address the most urgent issues facing our state.”