Governor Issues Line-Item Vetoes, Preserving $65M for Fire Response

Governor Kate Brown on Sunday issued vetoes of several line-item appropriations from the state’s budget, which will preserve an estimated $65 million in funding for the state’s ongoing emergency wildfire response efforts.

The vetoes improve the state’s ending balance to total $164.3 million in general funds and $16.7 million in lottery funds. The governor’s office says the state’s budget will remain balanced.

In order to expedite an immediate relief package by the Legislature’s Emergency Board, the governor has also requested that legislators reserve at least $150 million in the state’s emergency fund for upcoming requests relating to the fires.

“When it became apparent that Covid-19 disproportionately affected Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and Tribal communities in Oregon, the Legislature and I worked together to steer Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars to those communities,” Governor Brown said in a statement. “Now, we must work together to help Oregonians who have lost everything from these fires.”

Under Article V, section 15a of the Oregon Constitution, the governor is granted the “power to veto single items in appropriation bills … without thereby affecting any other provision of such bill.” Both Senate Bill 5723 and House Bill 4304 are appropriation bills.

“Until we understand the total impacts and costs, we must help Oregonians while being judicious with our funds,” Governor Brown said. “In light of the current wildfires state of emergency, which occurred after the adjournment of the Second Special Session, I am exercising my veto authority to ensure that state agencies fighting wildfires have necessary resources for responding to this emergency.”

The governor’s full veto letter, which detail the line-item vetoes and was submitted to the office of Secretary of State Bev Clarno, is available below:

Click to access 9.20.20-Line-Item-SB-5723-HB-4304.pdf

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