Oregonians will have their chance to weigh in on the state's spending plan during a series of public hearings around the state. The Joint Committee On Ways and Means, the legislature's budget-writing committee, is seeking input on ways to bridge a roughly $1.8 billion shortfall in the upcoming budget cycle.
Democratic House Speaker Tina Kotek anticipates a robust turnout for the meetings. She said the level of public interest in the political process has increased dramatically since the November election, including at legislative town halls.
"I usually have 100 people at a pre-session town hall,” Kotek said. “I had 300 plus. So I'm hoping that that new engagement that has come out of the recent elections will translate into having a wide variety of people coming to the budget hearings."
The first meeting is Friday night at the State Capitol in Salem. That's followed by a hearing Saturday at the Sylvania Campus of Portland Community College. Future hearings are scheduled in Hermiston, Madras, Ashland, Eugene and Tillamook.