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How Bad Is It?

by Laural Porter

Posted on February 2, 2009 at 7:01 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:44 PM

Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney says, the Oregon economy is terrible.
1.67 new applications for unemployment are filed in this state every minute of every hour of every day of every week, says Courtney.
Senator Courtney tells it to us straight.

The Oregon economy is bad, worse than anyone thinks.
We have 15 to 17 percent unemployment in many Oregon counties already.
The nine percent figure you heard last month is long gone.
We're into double digits.
He says no one wants him to use the word depression, but he grimaces, when he says "recession". Not strong enough.
That's what he told our Pat Dooris who is working on a story for this week's "Straight Talk" program.
The Oregon Senate approved a 175 million dollar public works stimulus package last week. Now it heads to the House.
Senator Courtney told Pat, we have to do something to get people back to work.
Will it save the world? No, he says. But, it will help stop some of the pain.
On the other hand, Oregon House Republicans are offering their own plan.
It's a proposal to give huge tax breaks to homeowners and business owners who remodel.
They say it's a better way to stimulate the economy instead of putting the state into more debt.
On top of that, now we learn the state may have to make 800 million dollars in cuts in the last five months of the current budget.
That's huge and could mean layoffs and pay freezes.
And that's not even looking ahead to the next 2009-2011 budget.
No wonder Senator Courtney shakes his head when talking to Pat.
It's bad.

Saturday night on "Straight Talk", we'll look at both Democrat and Republican plans.
How will they help Oregon? Is one better than the other? How many people may be laid off with the budget cuts and in which departments?
State leaders will tell it to us straight.
We're still working on the line up for guests.
I'll have more later this week here. Let us know what questions you'd like us to ask.

Let's keep talking.