SALEM, Ore. – It took lawmakers nearly 15 hours, but they got it all done in one day passing 11 bills in closed door meetings.
Most notably, they were able to make cuts to fill the $1.2 billion budget hole, but it didn’t come without controversy.
“I’m linking this to a law school exam where you have no right answer and you have to choose the least worst answer,” said Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.
$400 million dollars was scrapped up by making cuts out of state agency budgets, much of the shortfall was repaired by transferring money out of rainy day funds. Something Gov. Kate Brown says she’s not happy about.
“I don’t agree with draining these one time resources. And obviously they used a portion of the rainy day funds that we have been working for years to set aside,” said Gov. Brown.
With Oregon’s economy in a free fall, thanks to the pandemic lawmakers said cuts had to be made. Legislators were mostly on the same page about education transferring about $400 million from the Education Stability Fund to the school fund, in order to prevent Oregon’s public schools from taking a hit over the next year.
“The public health crisis will require many schools to implement comprehensive distance learning.In this environment, it’s even more important than ever that we invest in our kids and their schools and that we fund our future,” said Gov. Brown.
Lawmakers were able to get through it all in Monday’s special session. Gov. Brown says they’ll have their work cut out for them in the future.
“If we use a substantial portion of it now the budget decisions next year become even harder. And we already know there are more challenging decisions ahead of us,” said Gov. Brown.
A major debate within Salem for cutting the budget was to close Shutter Creek Correctional Institution and Warner Creek Correctional Facility. Lawmakers later decided they would keep the 2 Oregon prisons open.
NBC5 News reporter Katie Streit comes from her hometown, Las Vegas. Katie went to the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism & Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
While in Las Vegas, Katie won a Student Emmy for her coverage of the Las Vegas Shooting Anniversary. She also hosted and produced the university’s political news show, where she interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-1). Her passion for politics turned into a coveted internship at the US Capitol in Washington D.C. In her final months working in the Las Vegas area, she was recognized for her journalism achievements by the Nevada Broadcaster’s Foundation.
Katie is excited to tell the stories of local Southern Oregonians and Northern Californians. Feel free to contact her at [email protected]