Kitzhaber Counters Legislative Budget Deal

Feb 16, 2012

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has a budget counter-offer to state lawmakers. The Democrat he says his plan would prevent a prison closure and some cuts to human services. His proposal Thursday would also tap reserve funds.

Earlier this month, legislative budget-writers floated a plan to close a minimum security prison in Salem, and eliminate possibly hundreds of middle management positions. Kitzhaber’s plan would instead use about $13 million in reserve funds and make other, quote, "strategic and targeted reductions" throughout state government. Legislative budget-writers said Kitzhaber’s plan doesn't go far enough in making long-term spending cuts. But the governor’s budget director, George Naughton, downplayed any disagreement between the governor and lawmakers.
George Naughton: "It's really a dialogue about the governor raising some issues. There's policy reasons why we might want to reconsider them. But ultimately that decision's going to be made by the legislative process."
Despite some skepticism, the Senate's chief budget-writer, Democrat Richard Devlin, said it's likely some of the governor's suggestions will appear in the final budget rebalance. Devlin says that should be ready sometime next week.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network