It looks like the Federal Government will continue with county payments to Lane County (at least for a few years). While it’s still possible The President won’t sign it (but he hasn’t yet seen a spending bill he didn’t like), let’s assume what the Register-Guard reports will occur.
The payments currently provide tens of millions of dollars annually to Western counties, including $40 million this year to Lane County government. The prospect of losing that money prompted counties across Oregon and the West earlier this year to consider cutting basic services and seeking taxes or other ways to raise revenue. Lane County in May proposed an income tax that voters shot down.
The plan is four more years of federal payments, decreasing each year. So now Lane Commissioners have adequate time to address the budget concerns, right?
Ask yourself, which is more likely:
- Lane County Commissioners plan ahead, reduce expenses, perform their fiduciary duty, and gradually wean off Federal money they know will end … soon.
- Commissioners do nothing, stick their heads in the sand, continue to spend money like there’s no end in sight, and in a few years ask for a tax increase.
Gee, which will it be? We’ve covered this fiscal disaster for a while, so if we were betting, we know what we’d choose based on passed performance (Hint: They’re still hiring, see for yourself at http://www.co.lane.or.us/jobs/).