Representative Bruce Hanna
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 18, 2009
CONTACT: Michael Gay (Ferrioli)
Nick Smith (Hanna)
Republican Leaders: Legislature Must Keep Promises to Kids, Seniors, Most Vulnerable
Republicans support use of Education Stability Fund to prevent cuts to school days
proposed rebalance plan raids special funds, such as the 911 emergency services
account, but spares benefits and pay raises for
political appointees and state employees. The plan cuts an average of
five school days across
“Last session Democrats decided to spend everything instead of saving,” said Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day). “The Legislature mismanaged taxpayer dollars and now our kids, seniors and most vulnerable are being sacrificed. Republicans are not supportive of cutting critical programs when there are better solutions for balancing the budget.”
The Democratic Legislature turned a $2.9 billion budget surplus into a $800 million budget deficit. Republican leaders said it was unwise to increase new government spending by over 20 percent without regard to sustainability. Over the past year, Republicans have called on the Legislature to address declining revenues and make gradual budget adjustments, rather than make steep and drastic cuts in the few months of the biennium.
“Last session Democrats spent too much money on too many things, and made promises to Oregonians they weren’t able to keep,” said House Republican Leader Bruce Hanna (R-Roseburg). “Now more than ever, the Legislature must prioritize spending and sustain the most critical functions of government. Our kids, seniors and most vulnerable Oregonians must come first.”
To prevent education cuts and the elimination of five school days this year, Republicans support withdrawing a portion of the Education Stability Fund and matching those dollars to reserve funds and administrative savings that are currently being utilized by school districts across the state.
“To Oregon kids, this is a rainy day,” Sen. Ferrioli said. “Working with school districts who are willing to find savings and make tough choices, we should match whatever money they can find with money from the Education Stability Fund. Kids shouldn’t be responsible for the mistakes of this Legislature.”
Rep. Hanna added,
“if we’re going to cut five days from this school year, the Legislature should
cut at least five days from this session and the per diems that legislators are
receiving for working in
Republicans also continued to urge elimination of unnecessary spending by calling for elimination of the $350 million pay increases handed out by the Governor last year. The Governor’s pay increases will cost taxpayers $650 million in the next two year budget cycle. Some state executives received raises of more than $3500 a month on top of existing six-digit salaries. Republicans have been calling for elimination of the pay increases since last June and believe state CEOs should take pay reductions as long as one in ten Oregonians can’t find a job.
“We do not support cutting education, public safety and human services while the governor continues to sign checks for massive pay increases for his agency heads,” Rep. Hanna said. “State government continues to send the message that it’s out of touch, and not recognizing the pain that Oregonians are feeling everyday.”