Working Hard For You
Hello from Salem,
With the 76th Legislative Session underway, I wanted to share some of what I’m working on now that things are in full swing.
As Co-Chair of the Joint Ways and Means Committee, the chief budget-writing committee for the Legislature, my top priority is to ensure that we produce a balanced budget for the upcoming biennium. I am working with my Co Chairs, Representative Buckley (D—Ashland) and Representative Richardson (R –Central Point), to produce a budget proposal that meets Oregon’s priorities for today while setting the course for a better future tomorrow.
This session we face daunting budget challenges. With no significant revenue generators on the horizon, depleted reserve funds, reduced federal funding, and increasing demand for services, we can no longer provide services at the same level as we have in the past. Business as usual simply cannot continue here in Salem.
Crafting a budget in this economic climate is not an easy task. Some programs will be reduced; others will need to be cut altogether. Despite the difficult decisions that must be made in the coming months, I plan to maintain my focus on creating jobs, educating children and protecting the most vulnerable Oregonians. With less money and greater need, it’s critically important that we spend every dollar as wisely as possible. I’m confident that we will get the job done, but it will take a lot of work.
Additionally, the passage of Measure 71, the annual session measure, by voters last fall will require us to create a budget that addresses the needs of Oregonians, but on a tighter timeline than we have known in the past. We are working hard to conduct our business as efficiently as possible and the days are packed with meetings from morning until night. I’m confident that we will meet the deadlines set for us – adjourning by June 30th – but it will take cooperation and coordination to meet our commitment to Oregonians.
Even with all that’s going on here in Salem, my priority remains being available to my constituents. If you are planning a trip to Salem and would like to talk about your priorities for the Legislature, please contact my staff to set up a time to meet. Alternately, I am available every other Saturday morning in district if you’d like to meet to discuss your thoughts and concerns. I look forward to working hard together and overcoming the challenges Oregon is facing.
Senator Richard Devlin