Governor Kitzhaber proposes strategic reductions to balance budget
(Salem, OR) — Governor Kitzhaber today recommended amendments to the Ways and Means Committee Co-Chairs’ budget that reduce the cost of government while maintaining critical services to ensure public safety and protection of Oregon’s most vulnerable people. With the Governor’s amendments, the Co-Chairs’ budget reduces the state work force by approximately 1,000 positions through reductions and holding vacancies; avoids prison closures and maintains key health care, family and early childhood services.
The Legislature must adopt a revised state budget because General Fund and Lottery Funds revenue projections have dropped by a combined $340 million since the end of the 2011 legislative session. The Co-Chairs are proposing a $14.7 billion budget that combines specific staff and program reductions across agencies, the use of one-time funding and $28 million in unspecified reductions
“We are at or near a low point in state revenue, but we are at or near the high point in terms of human need,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “Like the Co-Chairs' budget, my recommendations recognize state government must do more with less and provide Oregonians the critical services they need in the most efficient and effective way possible.”
Specific elements of the Governor’s proposal for the $28 million in unspecified reductions include:
$25 million in program and administrative reductions at 20 state agencies;
Eliminating or holding vacant 157 positions, including middle managers and front line workers, in addition to the approximately 850 positions eliminated in the Co-Chairs’ budget.
Avoiding further cuts to K-12 and higher education.
After reviewing the Co-Chairs’ budget and the impact of the $28 million in unspecified reductions, the Governor proposes using about $13 million in reserve funding to avoid prison closures and critical cuts to key health care, family and early childhood services, including:
$4.6 million to avoid closing Santiam Correctional Institution and minimize the use of temporary beds for DOC inmates
$2.3 million to avoid further reductions in child outpatient mental health
$1.1 million to avoid further reductions to several Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs
$0.6 million to continue second year funding for Early Head Start
“I am proposing strategic and targeted reductions to rebalance the state budget with a focus on putting limited resources where they can do the most good,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “We must maintain critical services and public safety even as we make work force reductions. With this proposal we can avoid closing a prison, protect Early Head Start, protect reductions in mental health care for children and protect assistance to our most struggling families.”
For details on the Governor’s budget recommendations:
Tim Raphael, 503-689-6117
Amy Wojcicki, 503-689-5324