Thursday, March 29, 2007

What Scott said


State Senator Doug Whitsett(R-Klamath Falls) has just sent out a “capitol update” trumpeting House Republicans’ support for Senate Bill 798 and House Bill 3535, which would set aside 1 percent of the state’s general fund to increase the number of state troopers on Oregon highways.
The State Police Patrol Division has been reduced by over half of its patrol officers during the last 25 years, while Oregon’s population has increased by 38%. This bill provides a budget of nearly $140 million for the Oregon State Police Patrol Division, an amount almost double what they received in their last budget. This provides the long overdue stable revenue source necessary to restore the patrol division to a force adequate to serve Oregon’s needs.

Anybody who’s seen Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9-11 knows that Oregon’s state patrol department is laughably underfunded—to the point where it’s a wonder it even exists at all. But what Whitsett fails to mention here is that it was Republican leadership who slashed the state patrol division’s budget last session, cutting 20 patrol positions. The chair of that budget committee was then-majority (and now—ha ha!—minority leader) leader Wayne Scott.

Whitsett was around in 2005—you’d think that if funding for state troopers was such a top priority for him this year, he might remember who it was that royally screwed them two years ago.

The backstory scuttle here as I know it is that the cuts were made because Scott had a personal gripe with the head of the Oregon State Patrol. Scott's retribution for this gripe was to slash the OSP.

Now we're all supposed to believe that the blessed GOP has had a fundamental change of heart and should get credit for deciding to be on board for funding now.

Oddly--they're on board for this--but don't seem terribly concerned about where the revenue is going to come from. In fact, the ORGOP has been bellyaching about tax increases since before the session started.

So in essence, they're happy dancing about more money for the state patrol--but kinda vague when it comes to actually collecting taxes to do it.