Last week, the Co-Chairs of the Legislative Ways & Means Committee (the budget committee) released their budget framework, which lays out their spending and budget priorities for the next two-year budget cycle. The Co-Chairs support most, but not all, of the Governor’s Recommendations from her budget that was released in February. Their framework invests in key priorities, like education, behavioral health, housing, and homelessness, and also includes resources that put us on a path to settle strong contracts for SEIU members.
Unfortunately, legislators are worried there could be a recession in the next 1-2 years, and that is making them very cautious about the budget. A recession would mean the state could have less resources to invest in the budget, or worse, need to make cuts. The Legislature’s number one responsibility is to pass a balanced budget, which means they cannot spend more than our resources allow.
This caution means that the Co-Chairs are proposing 2.5% cuts to most agencies. These cuts will mostly mean taking away vacancy savings and other more minor budget adjustments (including using federal dollars to help make up the gap) but we will need to be on the lookout as a union to ensure there aren’t major cuts to programs or positions.
We strongly believe that legislators need to do everything they can to avoid making unnecessary or harmful cuts to the work our members do to serve Oregonians. We need to put pressure on the Legislature to use all available resources – including reserves if needed – before they make cuts to critical programs.
Want to take action? You have TWO important ways to get involved: you can write your legislator today with the click of a button, and you can sign up to testify about our budget priorities at the Ways and Means or Budget Roadshow!
Click below to learn more about the Roadshow nearest to you:
By taking action today you can help us send a clear message: SEIU members Make Oregon Work, and we need the Legislature to invest in us!