House Majority Office


Contact Geoff Sugerman, 503-986-1904


Low Income Energy Assistance Funds Approved By E-Board

Committee Saves $53 Million For Future Use


            Some 35,000 additional Oregon families will receive help with heating bills through a federal grant approved today by the Oregon Legislature’s Emergency Board. The additional federal dollars – which require no new state expenditures – will increase the number of low income families receiving assistance to nearly 100,000.


            “These are struggling families that need some extra assistance during these tough times,” said State Rep. Nancy Nathanson (D-Eugene). “And when we can use these federal dollars it means families can afford to buy food and medicine; it means a little less of a burden on food banks and other service providers. These federal funds could not have come at a better time for Oregon families.”


            The additional help for families was part of an E-Board meeting that concluded the committee’s work for the year as the legislative session is set to begin on January 12. With very few expenditures approved, the E-Board’s final action was a motion by State Rep. David Edwards to transfer an additional $35 million into an account that can be used by the Legislature during session. That account, according to new House Majority Leader Mary Nolan, means the E-Board saved over $53 million.


“These will be important dollars we have saved as we look at the across the board cuts state agencies are making. This will give us additional flexibility in dealing with the economic crisis we face as the new legislature begins next month,” said Rep. Nolan (D-Portland).


This final E-Board of the year also marked the last official legislative duties for House Speaker and U.S. Senator-elect Jeff Merkley. Senate President Peter Courtney thanked Merkley for coming to the final E-Board meeting and for their solid working relationship the past two years. The Senate President urged Merkley to keep working hard for Oregon.


“One great advantage of going to the US Senate straight from the Legislature is that I can convey to my new colleagues the depth of the problems facing states in this budget crisis,” said Merkley. “It has been a great honor to serve Oregonians as Speaker of the House, and I look forward to working with all my colleagues here in the future.”