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Tue Feb 14, 2017, 06:18 AM

State budget town hall draws anger, blame and tearful pleas for funding

Hundreds of Oregonians crowded into a Portland Community College hall on a rare sunny Saturday to ask lawmakers to fund the programs that have made a difference in their lives.

Their message to lawmakers suggests that cutting funding to public schools, colleges, early childhood education or child welfare programs will face huge push-back from advocates from those programs, even as lawmakers are forced by budget realities to make selective cuts.

Those who got the chance to speak each had two minutes to make their case. Some wept, their voices shaking as they spoke. Others blamed the legislators for the $1.8 billion budget gap facing the state. Nearly all begged the lawmakers to raise new revenue by taxing corporations.

Saturday's town hall, held at PCC's Sylvania campus in Southwest Portland, is one of seven to be held throughout state by the Legislature's budget-writing committee to garner input from residents on the state's financial situation. The town hall was presided over by a panel of more than 20 lawmakers, mostly members of the budget committee and Portland-area Democrats.

Read more: http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/02/state_budget_town_hall_portland.html

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