>La Grande Observer | Union and Wallowa Counties' News Leader

La Grande, OR forecast
& Eastern Oregon University Valley Cam

Observer news NE Oregon Classifieds Web
web powered by Web Search Powered by Google

Follow LaGrandeObserver.com

Today's front page

Image of The Observer's Front Page

Get Home Delivery of The Observer for only $8.50 per month, $9.50 for motor routes. Just click here and after filling out one simple and secure online form you could be on your way to learning more information about local, state and world news.

manage your account »

Recent article comments

Powered by Disqus

Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow SIMMONS SEEKS SMALLER CUT TO SCHOOLS


Mark Simmons ().
Mark Simmons ().

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

Oregons public schools should be protected from dramatic budget cuts in the Legislatures upcoming special session, the speaker of the House believes.

Rep. Mark Simmons, R-Elgin, is proposing that state aid to public schools be cut by $50 million to $100 million. That would amount to about 1 to 2 percent of the states $5 billion education budget. This is substantially less than Gov. John Kitzhabers $304 million cut for education, about 6 percent of the states education budget.

The Legislature will have to make significant budget cuts in the upcoming session due to a $700 million revenue shortfall brought on by Oregons struggling economy.

Simmons is part of a bipartisan legislative committee that is developing a budget-cutting proposal. The speaker discussed the plan being developed by the committee during a conference call this week conducted at a La Grande School Board work session.

Simmons, calling from Salem, said his recommendation for a 1 to 2 percent kindergarten-through-high school (K-12) cut is close to what the committee will recommend.

Simmons said legislators made K-12 education a high priority in the 2001 Legislature and that they should continue to be so.

The Legislature established its priorities at the last session, he said. It needs to stick to them.

The speaker said holding the education budget cut to 1 or 2 percent would be noteworthy because K-12 education is the largest part of the budget at 42.3 percent.

Simmons said he is opposed to any tax increases to balance the budget. He said that boosting the so-called sin taxes, taxes on things like cigarettes and wine, would raise relatively little money.

The speaker noted that any income tax increase would likely be referred on to the voters for approval. Simmons doubts that Oregon voters would support an income tax increase.

Simmons is not enjoying the process of preparing for budget cuts.

It is a very painful process. But we cant hold any portion (the budget) harmless, Simmons said.

The speaker, who is in his third two-year term, said he has not decided whether he will seek a fourth term. Simmons is eligible to run again because the Oregon Supreme Court struck down voter-approved term limits last week. Under the term limits law, passed in 1992, Simmons would have been ineligible to run for another term in the House.

Simmons is considering not running again. He noted that in Salem he is 330 miles from Elgin and that he wants to spend more time with his family.

Reach Dick Mason at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

blog comments powered by Disqus
Local / Sports / Business / State / National / Obituaries / Public Notices
Editorials / Letters / Guest Columns / Columnists
Outdoors / Ag / Spiritual / Go Magazine / Portraits
View all classifieds / Jobs / Autos / Real Estate / Rentals / Place an Ad
The Observer
About / Contact / Commercial Printing / Subscriptions / Terms of Use / Site Map
Also Online
Photo Reprints / Slideshows / Weather and Valley Cam / /index.php?option=com_rss&feed=RSS2.0&no_html=1">RSS Feed ?> RSS Feed

Follow La Grande Observer headlines on Follow La Grande Observer headlines on Twitter

© Copyright 2001 - 2014 Western Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. By Using this site you agree to our Terms of Use

LaGrandeObserver.com works best with the latest versions of Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer or Apple Safari

cialis prix pharmacie viagra sin receta cialis le vrai k√ɬ∂p viagra receptfritt acheter cialis suisse viagra e simili kamagra pris commander viagra viagra g√ɬľnstig ohne rezept pharmacie en ligne paris viagra online ohne rezept levitra sans prescription viagra billig kaufen acheter cialis inde finasterid 1mg g√ɬľnstig acheter priligy dapox√ɬ©tine cialis france viagra billig viagra market generique levitra