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Prisons Closures, Elderly Aid Cut-Off Top List Of Proposed Oregon Budget Cuts June 9, 2010

Posted by FairSentencing in : Current News , trackback

Among the proposed budget cuts released today are possible closure of three minimum-security prisons.

Three Oregon prisons would close and about 1,000 minimum-security prisoners would be let go, under a proposed set of state budget cuts released this morning.

Also on the chopping block: Oregon Project Independence, which helps seniors stay out of nursing homes by providing them in-home care; a state program that delivers meals to 240 seniors and people with disabilities; and a program that subsidizes daycare costs for low-income parents, affecting about 5,000 people.

These are among the options outlined by state agencies, who have been ordered by Gov. Ted Kulongoski to slice 9 percent from the final 12 months of their two-year budgets. Kulongoski ordered the cuts after state economists projected a $577 million shortfall in the 2009-11 budget.

If the scenarios of freed prisoners and abandoned elderly seem familiar that’s because they are. Similar proposals have been made in recent years as state revenues continue to plummet.

It’s unclear at this point whether this time the cuts will stick, or if Kulongoski or the Legislature will find another method for balancing the budget. For example, closing prisons requires either legislative action or special commutation of inmates by the governor.

“The governor received these plans at the same time the public did,” said his spokeswoman Anna Richter Taylor.

In a news release, Kulongoski called the list of cuts, which have come from every agency, “the next step in this difficult process” of rebalancing the current budget. “There are no good answers and no easy solutions.”

Also unclear early is how many state workers face layoffs under the proposed list of cutbacks. Many agencies, such as the state police, are leaving positions unfilled, but not issuing pink slips. State police would delay hiring 24 recruits, which also will postpone its goal of providing 24-hour patrols on state highways.

In other agencies, layoffs are unavoidable. School districts, which must find $250 million in cost savings, already have announced some layoffs and shortened school years.

Kulongoski and other state leaders continue to hold out hope of a federal bailout. Congress is considering two measures that could provide hundreds of millions of dollars to public schools and health programs.



1. Patsy - June 10, 2010

Gov. K should also consider releasing or granting retrials for Measure 11 convicts whose verdicts were NOT unanimous, which it doesn’t have to be in Oregon or Louisiana. Sentencing laws are tough enough as it its. Lack of a unanimous jury verdict indicates doubt. Requiring only 10 out of 12 is downright unconstitutional!