Budget Hearings Planned in Six Cities Across Oregon

Senator Richard Devlin (D-Tualatin) and Representative Peter Buckley (D-Ashland), co-chairs of the Legislature’s Joint Ways and Means Committee, announced that the committee will hold six public hearings across the state to consider comments on the state budget.

This is your opportunity to tell the Ways & Means Committee what your priorities are! The current budget proposed by the Co-Chairs will mean more cuts to basic services for Oregonians.  Right now, the budget assumes savings from reform to the Public Employee Retirement System, and tax expenditures, as well as $125 Million in additional cuts to human services. These cuts will likely impact the services that we know residents across our state rely on – temporary assistance for families, and safety net services for seniors and people with disabilities.

If you are able to do so, we encourage you to attend one of the meetings and tell members of the Ways and Means Committee that ensuring all Oregonians have access to a safe, stable place to call home should be a priority, and that there are critical needs for assistance in our communities. This is an opportunity to remind members of the committee that our communities are better and stronger when we and our neighbors can meet our basic needs, and can afford to pay rent and still have money left over for food and medicine.

If you’re able to go to one of the hearings, you will have about three minutes to tell Legislators about your priorities for the budget. Below are a few points that you may want to share with the legislators:

1. Consider starting with a brief story of need you see in your community

2. Then, use a value statement such as:

  • During times of economic downturn and hardship, we all have moments of needing assistance, and families often need help to protect themselves and their children.  Our basic safety net programs are a life-raft that helps kids and families survive hard times, and to help them get back on their feet.   Now, more than ever, we need to continue to protect the programs that help us meet the basic needs of all of our Oregon families, children, and communities.
  • As we work to solve the current budget crisis, we need to prioritize providing basic needs to those who are most hurt by the recession.  As a community, we need to protect those who are most vulnerable because of the economic downturn. We can protect funding for safety net services such as the Emergency Housing Account or State Homeless Assistance Program.
  • Today in Oregon, too many hardworking parents don’t earn enough to pay rent and put food on the table for their children. Nearly half of renters can’t afford a two bedroom apartment at market rate. Families in our community don’t have access to opportunity and pathways out of poverty, and too often, one small event such as a health emergency or car repair bill can trigger a series of shortfalls and lead to crisis. We need to continue to fund safety net programs that pave the way to stable housing, improved school performance, better health, and a way out of poverty.

3. Then consider asking the Committee to make different choices – to consider finding additional funds from tax expenditures or other revenue sources, rather than relying on additional cuts to safety net services. We know that as a state we can make choices that reflect our priorities, and none more so than the choices we make about the budget.  We want all kids to succeed in school, everyone to have a safe place to call home, and people to be able to access the care and services they need when they need it.  Now is the time to put all our options on the table – we must look at tax expenditures, consider recommendations to make government more efficient, look at using a portion of the rainy day fund, or examine other ideas to balance the budget.

The hearings will begin in Eugene and will include stops in Ashland, Bend, Hermiston, Portland, Tillamook, and a hearing at the State Capitol. Several of the meetings will offer live streaming of the meetings, and the Hermiston meeting will offer video conferencing so participants in other eastern Oregon locations can participate remotely.

The schedule is as follows:

Friday, April 12


Ed Ragozzino Performance Hall

Lane Community College

4000 East 30th Avenue


Saturday, April 13


Music Recital Hall

Southern Oregon University

1250 Siskiyou Blvd


Friday, April 19


William Healy Armory

875 SW Simpson Ave


Saturday, April 20



Hermiston High School

600 S 1st St


(Live link available in other eastern Oregon locations, details pending)

Tuesday, April 23


Moriarty Arts & Humanities Auditorium

Portland Community College, Cascades Campus

705 N. Killingsworth St.


Thursday, April 25


Officers Mess

Port of Tillamook Bay

6825 Officers Row



We hope you are able to attend one of these meetings and help us move our 2013 Housing Opportunity Agenda forward. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Alison or Omar.