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Feb-20-2009 11:45printcomments

Majority Leaders: Democratic Leadership Will Weather Tough Times

Nolan and Devlin express disappointment in lack of Republican cooperation.

Aerial photo of Oregon State Capitol
Aerial photo of Oregon State Capitol
Salem-News.com photo by Tim King

(SALEM, Ore.) - Despite news of a precipitous drop in state revenues caused by the global financial crisis, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate expressed confidence in the legislature’s ability to reconcile budgets for the current biennium and plan for the next.

The state faces a shortfall of $800 million for the remainder of the 2007-2009 budget. Legislative budget writers on Wednesday unveiled a list of $350.2 million in potential cuts to state services for the current biennium. Shortfalls for the next biennium are projected to be much greater.

“The fact of the matter is that we’re in very tough times. You don’t need a revenue forecast to see that. You can ask families across Oregon and they can confirm how hard things are,” said Senate Majority Leader Richard Devlin (D-Tualatin). “These numbers we saw today are the harsh reality of a changing world where everyone is feeling the strain of this recession.”

Neighboring states have already had to make drastic service cuts and must make more in the future, including lay-offs of thousands of workers. Democrats were able to protect Oregonians from severe service cuts until now because of prudent budgeting, creation of a new general purpose Rainy Day Fund, and a strong ending balance in 2007 and 2008. During the recession earlier this decade, Republican control of the legislature demonstrated the negative consequences of reckless budget management.

“For a time, we held off the national economic tsunami brought on by the failures of Republican governance. For a time we were able to avoid the effects of a conservative ideology that gave tax cuts to the rich and allowed corporations to operate without boundaries,” said House Majority Leader Mary Nolan (D-Portland). “But now that tsunami is at our shores and Democrats must craft responsible solutions to the problems caused by an irresponsible Party.”

Despite comments to the contrary, Democratic leaders have made a good faith effort to include Republicans in the current budget process. Both parties participated in discussions about potential cuts due to rapidly falling revenues.

The Democratic co-chairs of Ways and Means have met with both Republicans and Democrats, seeking out input, and giving both sides of the aisle the same briefings about potential cuts to state government.

“Democratic leadership has extended opportunities to our colleagues across the aisle to work with us productively to find a resolution to the state’s financial crisis,” said Devlin. “We sincerely hope that they will decide to contribute constructively to these discussions. As yet, they have not.”

Devlin and Nolan said the Republican Leadership has not offered a list of specific cuts or specific sources of new revenue to balance the budget, nor have they said how they plan to fund education, healthcare or public safety. So far this session Republicans spoke against the state’s economic stimulus plan and against measures to protect the state’s budget.

“Right now, we are dealing with the mess created from years of disastrous economic mismanagement by Republicans in the White House on down. Now they are sitting on the sidelines throwing more garbage on the pile while we try to clean it up,” said Nolan.

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Henry Ruark February 22, 2009 3:09 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Please note that the comments pointed up in my last-here relate solely to one side --guess which one ? For the record, as "see with own eyes" evidence from LMA files, here's ref. to two very revealing book/reviews in The OREGONIAN, access easy via their archives: "Hostile Takeover"; David Sirota (his 1st !);2004. Rv by Les Aucoin, Oregon Rep. in DC for 18 years;SUnday May 21,'06 and "The Disposable American";Louis Uchitelle, NYT Economics columnist; rv same issue, May 21. 06. Point here simply BOTH sides involved in this debacle, BOTH sides must now face up to that fact, BOTH sides must now work together; OR in all truth there will be a Second American Revolution, surely more bloody and probably far less decisive that the first one --esp. if we continue to listen to those whose own malign personal/gain purposes drive them to deceit, distortion and perversion any time opportunity presents in the new media channels we now use replacing mainstream media responsibilities to inform the large majority of responsible citizens still forming our respectable, influential middle class. Moresoon on middle class, based on probing new worldwide study by the famed British publication The ECONOMIST. See upcoming Op Ed for details re noise machine diversions now all too common.

Henry Ruark February 22, 2009 1:01 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Since when do schools and police rate as "non-essential luxuries' ? What possible relevance to issue here (action in face of tsunami caused by GOP irresponsibilities" does wife's prettiness, or "half-black, half-white" have to do with topic here ? Without ID, we know now if any commenter is Oregon resident, and if NOT, why any interest in our strictly-state business ? All concerned via this comment, please now ID to Editor, on request, as is the usual pattern here when so demanded. OR if refused, there again goes solid indication of shill at work spreading GOP noise machine manipuliation wherever and whenever possible. Speak up, guys...ID to Editor confidential if indeed justified... See upcoming Op Ed for more detail on necessity here, per wise words from Oregon Editor and Governor Charles Sprague, provide via our S-N emphasis on "see with own eyes" and "evaluate with own mind", due in part to his teachings.

stephen February 20, 2009 4:32 pm (Pacific time)

gotta say this: 1. I am several years older than obama, and after watching him play basketball, I could win without breaking a sweat playing one on one. 2. I play several instruments, sing and write/record my own music. Obama cant. 3. My wife is much prettier, I can send a picture to anyone who thinks beauty is in the eye of beholder. She also is a medic among many other talents. 4. I do what I say, and if I cant for some reason, I explain it clearly in regards to why not. obama does not 5. I am a rifleman, obama needs body guards. 6. I do not lie. obama has. 7. I chose the correct economic path for my life. Maybe obama did too, whether out of intellience or cheating, but he is not choosing the right path for the american people. 8. I served in the U.S. Navy..obama never served anything, but wants everyone else to. getting my point here? obama is a half white, half black man that went to college, and then politics. That is all he is. period. If it is hope, and charm, and the paid mainstream media you are looking at..look back at the history of hitler. deja friggin vu. sorry, not going to repeat history.

stephen February 20, 2009 4:05 pm (Pacific time)

not to worry.. just found out that the new obama stance is to invade Iran. And doing it with lies the same as bush did to invade Iraq. same ol same ol. Russia will not stand by, and neither will China. Maybe that is why per Tims article, that there are navy in the northwest. Or, maybe China will come collect the money the U.S. owes them? Actually, the Chinese are being smart. They are between a rock and a hard place with all the dollars they have. So, they are coming to the U.S. and buying infrastructure and real estate. Anything to get rid of their dollars without losing the value of the dollar.

stephen February 20, 2009 3:18 pm (Pacific time)

I am NOT republican, but I completely disagree with the bailout. We had one just months ago that obama supported that did not do anything but give banks money, and cause more pain. Because I dont want to follow the path to hell, makes me hindering the economy getting better? I will tell you this NOW. These types of articles are coming out for one reason and one reason only. When this fails, they can blame it on those who did not support it. I have seen this exact scenario over the decades. Articles like these are nothing but a distraction, and ammunition for those who will end up being wrong.

Anonymous February 20, 2009 3:11 pm (Pacific time)

This article reflects the democratic party talking points I gather. Whenwas the last time a republican was governor? Governor's can still veto in Oregon, right?

ChrisJones February 20, 2009 12:48 pm (Pacific time)

We don't need any more schools or police anyway. What is that going to do for the economy? Unless you are in law enforcement or certain elements connected to the public education funds disbursements? Our public schools are horrible and remodeling them or throwing money at the problem isn't going to solve the underlying cause. Perhaps, at the least, we could wait 2-3 years before spending trillions on these sort of non-essential luxuries.

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