Press release from House Republican Office 5-10-07:
BRIBERY?: DEMOCRATS TRADE TAX DOLLARS FOR VOTES
ON PUBLIC SAFETY BUDGETS
Democrats Play Budget Poker with State Police, Prisons and Other Programs
SALEM”” Budget-writing Democrats are using a “poker” system to reward legislators who vote for budget bills up for consideration in the Joint Ways and Means Public Safety Subcommittee. Members who support these budget bills in the subcommittee are allowed to spend up to a million dollars in $250,000 increments, or “chips,” on their own priorities in the public safety budget.
House Republicans on the subcommittee refused to play budget poker, opposing the Department of Corrections (DOC) budget bill yesterday because of steep cuts to the Community Corrections program. As a consequence, chips previously offered to Rep. Kevin Cameron (R-Salem) and Rep. Bruce Hanna (R-Roseburg) were taken away.
“Nobody likes to be bullied, bribed or threatened,” Rep. Hanna said. “Yet, I was threatened that if I did not vote as directed, my input on important public safety funding allocations would not be considered.”
Rep. Cameron opposed the DOC budget bill because it severely underfunds Community Corrections, the state-county partnership for housing state prison inmates.
“The State of Oregon heavily relies on Marion County to fulfill its public safety requirements,” Rep. Cameron said. “It’s unacceptable the public safety budget includes a $12 million cut to Community Corrections, at a time when the state has $2.5 billion in additional revenue to spend in 2007-09.”