Office of the Senate President
Office of the House Speaker
Contact: Robin Maxey Geoff Sugerman April 2, 2009
(503) 986-1605 (503) 986-1904
Co-Chairs Outline 2009-2011 Budget Process;
Potential List of Cuts to Be Released Friday
Included in the schedule are numerous opportunities for public input at hearings, as well as the ability to see all the potential cuts that must be considered as the Legislature develops the 09-11 budget.
That budget balancing process begins Friday when the co-chairs will release a list of potential cuts from every state agency amounting to 30 percent. That information can be found at a new website -- http://www.leg.state.or.us/budget/ – put together by the Legislative Fiscal office. The list will be posted at 1 p.m.
Carter (D-Portland) and Buckley (D-Ashland) noted these are not cuts recommended by the Legislature, but give legislators a list of cuts to prioritize as they prepare for the May revenue forecast.
“We are in dire circumstances and cuts this deep will have a profound affect on all Oregonians. We want to hear from the people about how their day-to-day lives will be affected as we evaluate the impact cuts of this magnitude will have on our communities, our families and our schools and as we seek to mitigate the worst of the cuts,” Carter said.
Buckley said after the agency
lists are released, the Ways and Means Committee will embark on two weeks of
public hearings around the state. The first of those hearings is scheduled for
“We will go to the communities of
the people who will feel the effects of these potential budget cuts. We are
seeking their input on the services we must keep, and the services they believe
we can live without,” said Buckley. “These are difficult choices facing
Why $4.4 billion? In the March forecast, the 2009-2011 budget hole was pegged at approximately $3.1 billion by the state economist. But Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Dave Hunt said the Legislature needs to be prepared if the May forecast drops projected revenues even further.
“These 30 percent cuts will prepare us for the May forecast,” said Courtney. “If we plan smart, we will be ready for any budget shortfall.”
The Legislature has several additional tools beyond cuts to mitigate the impacts of the budget hole. Legislators will be able to tap federal stimulus dollars and state reserve funds to make up some of the deficit. Those federal and state dollars amount to a total of less than $2 billion, requiring at least $2 billion in cuts or revenue increases.
“We’ll need a balanced approach to get to a balanced budget,” said House Speaker Dave Hunt. “State reserve funds and federal stimulus dollars won’t fill the entire hole. So we’re going to need a combination of budget cuts and targeted, fair revenue increases to balance the budget in these difficult economic times.”
Following the public hearings in late April, Ways and Means subcommittees will begin public hearings on various agency budgets as they work to prioritize the cuts list. When the revenue forecast is delivered in mid-May, legislative budget writers will issue the “co-chairs budget,” hold additional hearings and begin sending budget bills to the floors of the House and Senate.
“This will be a very open and transparent process, with multiple opportunities for citizens to weigh in,” said Hunt. “Oregonians will see the scope of the cuts. They will see how the state reserve funds and federal stimulus dollars will fill some of the budget hole. And they will see the gap that must be filled with a balanced approach to budget cuts and additional revenue.”