Oregon Legislative Week in Review

CU Day at the Capitol. Last week’s Credit Union Day at the Capitol was considered a very successful event by all! Not only did the participants enjoy the day, but we received comments all week from legislators on how great it was to have credit union advocates in the building. One legislator even commented that the credit union meeting was one of the best she has had this year. She said the credit union representatives were “informed, articulate and knowledgeable about the legislative process”. We heard lots of comments like this from Oregon elected officials.

In your Credit Union Day packet, you received a legislative contact report. You are encouraged to complete the report and send it in to the Association (fax: 503.350.2202) or simply email your comments to NWCUA Director of Legislative Advocacy Jennifer Wagner. We appreciate hearing all the feedback and are happy to follow-up with any legislator, if needed.

We also hope that you will send thank you notes to the legislators you visited with during our lobby day. Legislators appreciate hearing from you and it is always very nice to hear a “thank you!”

Find your Senator’s email and mailing address by clicking here.

Find your Representative’s email and mailing address by clicking here.

Thank you again for all your hard work that day!

Co-Chairs Release Proposed Budget. Last week, the co-chairs of the Joint Ways & Means Committee released a proposed $14.6 billion budget for the 2011-2013 biennium. The budget is considered a key milestone in the legislative budget process and was released in March for only the second time in the last decade. By comparison, in the 2009 session, the budget was not released until May 18.

The proposed budget calls for funding K-12 education at $5.7 billion for the next two years, an increase of $142.7 million over the Governor’s recommended budget. The budget proposal adds $100 million from the Education Stability Fund (ESF) and an additional $23 million from the Common School Fund. Under the co-chairs’ proposal, money from the ESF can only be allocated to school districts for the purposes of reducing class sizes and preserving school days in the 2011-2012 school year. Additionally, ESF money cannot be distributed to Education Service Districts.

Other program areas and their level of funding under the proposed budget include: Human Services – $3.729 billion; Public Safety/Judicial branch – $2.41 billion; Transportation/Economic Development – $286.5 million; Natural Resources – $304.5 million; and General Government – $264 million. The proposed budget includes cuts in every program area and does not include any funds specified for state employee pay increases.

The budget proposal also leaves $19.3 million in the emergency fund, which can be accessed by the Legislative Emergency Board when the full legislature is not in session. Should the revenue forecast received by the legislature in May result in an increase in available funds, the co-chairs’ budget proposal includes an agreement to consider using additional funds to enhance 2011-2013 budgets and/or the ending balance, ESF, or Oregon Rainy Day Fund.

Posted in Advocacy News.