Senator Bruce Starr: Renews Call for Special Session

Starr continues call for special session in light of growing deficit
Legislature should protect key services like education and senior programs
State Senator Bruce Starr,

Salem, OR — Following the announcement that the state budget gap continues to grow at an alarming speed, Senator Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro) is again calling for a special legislative session to control spending and prioritize painful cuts to services. Starr first demanded legislative action in May to stem out of control spending and soften Governor Kulongoski’s (D) proposed across the board cuts. “It was true in May and it is even more true now: we need a special session in order to protect education funding and other key services from damaging cuts,” said Senator Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro). “We need to put this budget back in balance based on wise priorities that protect the programs that matter most to Oregonians.”

A letter from Kulongoski to the Democrat leadership in the Legislature warns that the budget gap could grow another $500 million, bringing the total difference between scheduled expenditures and actual revenue to more than $1 billion. Ignoring economic warning signs, Democrats brazenly increased spending by 15% last session, fueling a rapidly rising deficit despite massive tax increases on Oregon businesses and families. Rather than calling a special session and carefully prioritizing state spending when the first deficit was announced in May, Democrats swept their fiscal mismanagement under the rug with rushed across-the-board cuts. The Governor has the authority to call the Legislature into a special session or the Legislature can call itself in with a majority vote of the members of both houses.

“There is no doubt that the out-of-control appetite for spending has created this mess, but our most important services should be protected in spite of those decisions,” said Starr. “I hope Democrats have the courage to do the right thing this time and call us into special session. We were elected to do a job that includes balancing the budget.”

Starr and other Republicans spent much of last session warning that the levels of state spending proposed by Democrats could not be sustained. Democrats raised more than $1 billion in new taxes to support their spending habit, but revenue shortfalls have continued to plague the state.

# # #