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Whitsett Call for Dedicated Funding SB798

Delivers Over 100 New State Troopers

No New Taxes, 5/16/07

Salem, OR – Oregonians will start seeing 24/7 state police coverage on state highways in the next year, in large part thanks to the tireless voice of State Senator Doug Whitsett (R-Klamath Falls) this session.  The Joint Committee on Ways and Means passed Senate Bill 5533 Wednesday, taking up Whitsett’s call for increased and dedicated funding for Oregon state troopers. 

“I’m excited that we are closer to ensuring safe highways, families and neighborhoods, all without raising taxes,” said Whitsett.  “Public safety is and ought to be state government’s first priority. For too long it has been under funded, and today we are starting to change that.”

Whitsett introduced Senate Bill 798 early in session, a bill that would require 1% of money in the general fund be dedicated to Oregon State Police every budget cycle.  The House Republicans followed Whitsett’s lead and introduced a nearly identical bill, House Bill 3535 which was debated on the House floor.  Governor Kulongoski and legislative Democrats have advocated for various tax increases to pay for more troopers, such as a tax on auto insurance or increasing the beer tax.

“With over $2 billion more to spend this budget cycle, we can fund what matters most without raising taxes,” said Whitsett.  “When we establish wise priorities, we can get the job done with what we have.” 

The State Police Patrol Division has been reduced by over half of its patrol officers over the last 25 years, while Oregon’s population has increased by 38%.  The bill provides a budget of over $110 million this budget cycle, providing for over 100 new state troopers and funding 146 more troopers then in Governor Kulongoski’s budget.  The new troopers will provide for 24 hour coverage on Oregon roads. 

“Oregon’s checkbook has never been as full as it is today,” said Whitsett.  “Like every Oregon family, government can certainly live within its means and adequately provide for essential services.  Oregonians are looking for this type of responsibility and accountability from their government.” 

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              Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

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