Budget Battle Looms

The Oregon State Legislature is back in session tomorrow, the beginning of what will be a whirl wind month for legislators.

”It’s sort of like speed dating, hey time to move, go to the next table.”

State Senator Alan Bates can afford to joke now, but come wednesday in Salem, legislators will be all business… with some major goals to accomplish.

“One of course is obviously to balance the budget.”

Economists are projecting state revenues to be down more than $300 million dollars… and that number could climb… fortunately Bates says the budget work has already begun.

“At the present time there is no significant or known cut to K-12, but there are cuts to Human Services, but ones we think we can deal with.”

Since legislators have only 4 weeks to complete the February special session, there will be no messing around.

“If there is a major piece of legislation that you really need to move, move it, if not save it until 2013 when we’re there for 6 months.”

A rush job, a near even split of Republicans and Democrats and it being an election year gives Salem all the makings of a powder keg… but Bates believes they can get the job done.

“This isn’t Washington D.C., this is Oregon. We work together here and I am extremely proud of what Republicans and Democrats have done and I think we can work together in February and I think it’ll be a good session because of that.”

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