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SALEM, OR -- The Oregon Legislature faces difficult budget decisions, this year, and they're getting input from residents over the next three weeks. 

 

Lawmakers face a budget gap of $1.8 billion. They're holding hearings throughout the state to find a solution, beginning with meetings in Salem and Portland over the weekend. At one, an attendee told the crowd, "We need to save higher education." That's one priority. Others include K-12 education, veterans affairs and human services.

 

There is one theme, so far: Where to get the money. One man said, "Those who do business in our state need to pay their fair share and deliver on the promise of a better Oregon for all citizens." Retired state worker Katherine Stern insisted, "It is insane to reward corporations for tax breaks for coming to our state without accountability for what, if anything, they provide in turn." Oregon's corporate tax structure is seen by most as the solution to the shortfall. Measure 97, which would have increased corporate taxes, was defeated by voters in November. A similar plan is expected to be discussed during the 2017 session. 

 

Budget hearings are scheduled for five other cities in the coming weeks, including Saturday, February 18 in Madras:

Hermiston Friday, February 17
5 to 7 p.m.
Main Commons
Hermiston High School
600 S 1st St, Hermiston
Madras Saturday, February 18
1 to 3 p.m.
Performing Arts Center
Madras High School
390 SE 10th St, Madras
Ashland Friday, February 24
5 to 7 p.m.
Rogue River Room
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd, Ashland
Eugene Saturday, February 25
1 to 3 p.m.
Rooms 308-309 Building 17 (The Forum)
Lane Community College
4000 E 30th Ave, Eugene
Tillamook Friday, March 3
6 to 8 p.m.
Officer’s Mess
Port of Tillamook Bay
6825 Officers Row, Tillamook

 

 

 

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