March, 2009 

Dear Friends & Neighbors,


There's never a slow moment here in Salem.  Last week, the House passed two budget bills that will rebalance the State's budget for the remainder of this biennium (2007-09), through one-time and ongoing budget cuts.  We spent the first two months of this session ironing out those reductions. Now, we will work on creating the budget for the coming two years.  Last month, we received the dismal revenue forecast for the next biennium: we are facing a shortfall of $3 billion or more.  Agency budget proposals that were developed last summer and fall, in preparation for this legislative session, must be scrutinized with fresh eyes.


If you ever have questions, or would like to express your opinion, please don't hesitate to contact my office.  I know how tough these times are, and I will help if I can. 




Nancy Nathanson

Nancy Nathanson, State Representative

District 13

At the Capitol


In regular legislative sessions, legislators can introduce individual bills in addition to those drafted by committees or state agencies.  In the last regular legislative session, 1,677 bills were introduced in the House alone.  So far, this year, the count is 1,603.  Despite the hours spent working on budgets, I have introduced several bills for consideration.  Here's a brief description of a few; I'll provide updates in future newsletters. 


Helping Oregonians who are hardest hit

I am working on a bill to help make more people aware of the Earned Income Tax Credit, and help them claim the money that is due.  The EITC is a tax credit for low-income working people.  The bill calls for increased coordination among state agencies, and reaching out to the non-profit organizations that join in this effort, such as United Way and AARP.  My proposal is aimed at creating a more aggressive promotion of the EITC in order to get eligible individuals and families the help they need.


Helping Oregon's small businesses

With small business making up more than 98% of all Oregon businesses and providing over half of Oregon jobs, it's important to help them remain competitive and productive.  My bill is targeted as an incentive for investing in equipment.  Adding or upgrading equipment can be especially important for manufacturing and agriculture.


County-State relations

For the past few years, our counties have faced dire financial shortfalls.  With the Secure Rural Schools Act due to sunset in 2011, it's time we take a hard look at how our state and local government programs are structured.  I have introduced a bill that creates a task force to review opportunities to provide services in the most effective and cost-efficient manner.  My bill is up for a public hearing this Friday.

Nancy speaks at a news conference about the high cost of healthcare.


Veterans services

As our troops return from Iraq and Afghanistan, they deserve fair and generous treatment from a public grateful for their service.  Oregon loses millions of dollars providing services to clients who are veterans without knowing they are eligible for federal service or federal reimbursement to the state or county.   Federal aid and assistance remains unclaimed, unrealized, or under-utilized. My bill ensures that public agencies providing state services will collect appropriate information and claim federal reimbursement or assist clients with obtaining federally funded services.  Agencies will add links to services for veterans on their internet web pages, and will add information to paper or electronic forms, telephone interviews, etc.   During these challenging times, it is essential that Oregon receives its fair share of revenue from the federal level.    

Recent meetings

My appointments with visiting advocates and others from our area in the past couple of weeks include:  professional engineers; librarians; a local craft brewer; and university students.


Difficult Budget Decisions

You can find a full listing of the budget reallocations by going to and clicking on 2/25/09 Update: 2007-09 Budget Rebalance Plan.

Nancy visited by high school students on School-Based Health Care Day

A few notes about the cuts

Keeping students in school
The Legislature allocates funding for schools, but decisions about classes, programs, and other services are made by the local school boards.  The School Day Restoration Fund, included as part of the budget balancing just adopted, provides some additional money for school districts to finish the entire year.


Reserve funds

The Legislature used some of the federal “stimulus” money to keep providing human services and help get through the K-12 school year.  Other reserve funds, the Rainy Day reserve and the Education Stability Fund, have been saved to help with the even greater budget gap we anticipate for the next two years.  Some other special funds that had been held in reserve were “swept up” as we scoured the books looking for money that didn’t seem to be absolutely essential to use in the next four months.  In some cases, a portion of unspent (and unplanned) special purpose reserve funds were used to balance this year’s budget, while leaving a substantial part of those reserve funds for future use.


In the District


Federal stimulus dollars in our neighborhood

We will soon see federal stimulus dollars at work in areas around Oregon, some of it in the Eugene area.  The Oregon Transportation Commission has already approved three stimulus funded projects in Lane County for highways, and pedestrians and bikes.  The Commission allocated money for bridge and trail work on the  Delta Ponds path system in the Goodpasture Island Road/Robin Hood Avenue area.  The Delta Ponds area, located in House District 13, is a unique place for wildlife, natural systems, and environmental education.  


Coffee Hour

A lively conversation at Brewed Awakening last month.

What: Coffee Meet and Greet

When:  Saturday, March 21 . 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Where: Lago Blu Gelato. 2780 Shadow View Drive, Eugene, 97401 off of Crescent in the new Crescent Village.  

Contact: (503) 986-1308, or





Scam Alert Network: Protecting Oregon Consumers

Many of us have received emails from "royalty" from far off lands asking us to wire them money, claiming that they will pay us back two fold.  Scams like this target people of all walks of life, and they can have devastating consequences.  Scammers are coming up with more and more tricks in order to dupe the public.  One new example is intended to trick elected officials, asking for an autographed photo for their "collection."  The scammer can then use the photograph and signature in order to steal an identity. 

Oregon Scam Alert Network is a new service started by John Kroger, Oregon's newly elected Attorney General.  Regular scam alerts are distributed to the media, elected leaders, consumer watchdogs, and advocates for the elderly and disabled.  You are welcome to sign up for news from the scam alert network; you can do so by clicking here. 



*Next Newsletter:  Resources for helping Oregonians deal with financial pressures and difficult mortgage problems.


Click here to access my legislative website.

March 2009