Legislators here to hear budget concerns

Get in your two cents' worth on Oregon's financial problems tonight when Ashland state Rep. Peter Buckley and Portland Sen. Margaret Carter lead a hearing as part of a statewide tour to get public reaction to potential budget cuts.

The hearing is set from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the Rogue River Room of the Stevenson Union at Southern Oregon University, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland.

Buckley, who co-chairs the Legislature's budget-making Joint Ways and Means Committee with Carter, said the state's revenue projections continue to deteriorate because of the soaring unemployment rate, which is now the second highest in the United States at 12.1 percent.

At the same time, with more people out of work, government programs are more heavily used.

"It's an interesting dilemma that levels of government services are at an all-time high, and revenues are at an all-time low," he said recently.

The two Democrats are in the midst of an eight-stop tour of the state to talk about the budget. They are asking Oregon residents to make suggestions about what they think should be cut from the budget or about ways to raise revenues.

Total revenues for the 2009-11 biennial budget are projected to be $14 billion, which is $4.4 billion less than would be needed to maintain current service levels for education, health and other programs.

More information is available at http://oregonbudget.gov.

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