[ODF_Private_Forests] Oregon Legislature Ways and Means Co-Chairs Budget Information
kevin.weeks at state.or.us
Fri May 22 11:18:22 PDT 2009
Private Forests News list members:
ODF Private Forests Division chief Jim Paul sent this message Thursday to Private Forests staff to explain information communicated in this week's release of the Ways & Means Co-Chairs recommended budget, and to offer some analysis for what budget reductions may mean to Private Forests' staffing levels.
Please let me know if you have questions.
Public Information Officer / Private Forests Division
Oregon Department of Forestry
From: PAUL Jim T
Sent: Thursday, May 21, 2009 4:35 PM
Subject: Oregon Legislature Ways and Means Co-Chairs Budget Information
I know some of you have seen the note below from Clark Seely providing an overview of the legislative budget information distributed on Monday, and I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with some further details specific to Private Forests and what may be in store for us in the near future, as budget decisions are made.
Keep in mind Monday marked just the beginning of the final phase of the budget process. As Clark communicates in the email below, "It is not the final decision on all budget elements, but rather the starting point for final decisions, and work still will continue on many fronts with planning, analysis and consideration of impacts and trade-offs." At this time, our budget is still 'unfinished', and negotiations between legislators continue around the issue of how the costs of the program will be shared between landowner's contributions (harvest tax) and the state's general fund.
Having said that, the General Fund reduction levels identified in the Co-Chairs' recommended budget equate to the 15% reduction plan that ODF submitted to the Legislature earlier in the session, when we were asked to prepare reduction plans up to a 30% level. At this point, we do not know if the reduction proposed for Private Forests at a 15% level is the reduction we'll need to implement in the end, but the number of options available to us has narrowed, and where we do end up may not differ substantially from this level.
The legislative negotiations towards our final budget may take weeks, and we still cannot predict how long it will take for decisions to be made. At the executive level, we continue to analyze the situation, and evaluate the impacts of reductions in various portions of the program.
There was an error in the numbers of "positions" affected by the general fund reduction identified in the Co-Chairs' budget for the Private Forests portion. It erroneously cites 10; the correct number is 25. We have contacted the Legislative Fiscal Office and informed them of the error.
I know we are in uncharted waters for the Private Forests program and ODF, where we cannot recall a time when the economy, and our necessary response, has been 'this bad'. I appreciate all of your efforts as we do our best to cope with the gravity of everything we are working through right now as a program and an agency. In the face of unprecedented impacts, it is difficult at times to keep moving forward, and to think-as we must-of the future of the Private Forests program and the important work we do. The executive team feels these same concerns and uncertainty, and my thoughts go out to all of you during these tough times.
Peter and I will continue to keep you all informed in the coming weeks as the budget process comes to closure, providing updates either within the program or through the All Forestry messages. As always, please contact Peter or myself if you have questions or concerns.
Private Forests Division Chief
Hi everyone. The Oregon Legislature's Ways and Means Co-Chairs (Senator Carter and Representative Buckley) released their 2009-11 recommended biennial budget framework yesterday at a 3:00 p.m. press conference. The Co-Chairs budget release follows the Friday release of the May 2009 economic and revenue forecast, and will provide the overall structure for the completion of Oregon's 2009-11 budget.
In summary, the framework addresses both the final shortfall in General Fund/Lottery Fund resources for the close of this biennium (2007-09), and the overall approach for dealing with the forecasted revenue shortfalls for 2009-11. At the high level, the overall state budget gap for General Fund and Lottery Fund for 2007-09 and 2009-11 is now $4.2 billion, of which $4.1 is General Fund. To close this gap, the framework proposes to use federal stimulus funds, state "rainy day" funds, reductions to some state government service charges, new state revenues, and budget reductions. The budget reductions and/or fund shifts total approximately $2 billion, or about half of the gap. Across the total 2009-11 General Fund/Lottery Fund current service level budget, the reductions/fund shifts represent a 12.4% reduction. The framework does leave some state reserve funds remaining and does propose a $170 million ending balance, but these two items really represent a contingency if state revenues decline further once we are in the biennium.
For the Department, the proposed budget includes three major actions related to General Fund - first, an agency General Fund reduction of $6.7 million, which represents 15% of our total current service level, and according to our proposed reduction plan, would come from the Private Forests program. The second item is a shifting of funding in the Fire Protection program from the current 50/50% General Fund/Landowner Assessments for basic fire protection to a 45/55% ratio, and also a sharing of the Fire Program's proportion of agency administration in that same 45/55 ratio. The third item is retention of the Governor's proposed funding of the Fire Season Severity funds in an Emergency Board Special Purpose Appropriation at the level proposed in the Governor's budget.
While the release of the Co-Chairs framework does provide more clarity about legislative priorities and use of resources, it is not the final decision on all budget elements, but rather the starting point for final decisions, and work still will continue on plans, analysis and consideration of impacts and trade-offs. We will continue to work through various plans and analysis too, and respond to questions and inquires as needed. As decisions get closer and we have some settling of our situation, we'll keep you posted on progress and decisions.
In the meantime, please contact me if you have questions at this point or need additional information, and please share this information with your employees and stakeholders.
The Co-Chairs recommended budget document (as a PDF file) can be found on the legislative website at:
Clark W. Seely, CF
Associate State Forester
Oregon Department of Forestry
2600 State Street
Salem, OR 97310-0340
email: cseely at odf.state.or.us<mailto:cseely at odf.state.or.us>
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Private_Forests