2 Ore. timber counties reject public safety levies

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Associated Press

Posted on May 23, 2013 at 10:08 AM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — State officials are looking for alternatives after voters in two Oregon timber counties turned down tax increases to fund law enforcement.

The outcome puts Curry County closer to going broke and a potential state takeover. Josephine County is looking at further law enforcement cuts. Voters in a third timber county, Lane, approved a jail levy.

The Legislature is considering a bill that would allow the state to take over counties that go broke, and levy income taxes to pay for services.

All three counties saw big budget gaps after a federal safety net for timber counties known as the Secure Rural Schools Act expired.

An aide to Gov. John Kitzhaber says the governor believes the state has "an interest in maintaining a network of public safety" in Oregon.

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