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Oregon Freezes State Hiring, Cuts Off Social Program Enrollment

SALEM, Ore. - In coming days, the state of Oregon is going to start turning away new applicants to several social service programs. The move was announced Tuesday as part of a series of temporary cost-cutting measures that will be in place at least until lawmakers gather at the capitol in February.

Oregon’s legislative budget writers and Governor John Kitzhaber say the state can’t afford to wait to do something about dwindling revenues. They announced a hiring freeze that includes putting a hold on state police recruit classes.

The cost-savings strategy also includes cutting off new enrollments in several social service programs including daycare subsidies and the Oregon Health Plan.

Ryan Fisher is with the Human Services Coalition of Oregon. He says in the short term, he’s realistic about the need to bow to a dire budget reality.

“They’re doing what they can with what they have,” Fisher says. “It doesn’t make sense to add new families and then cut them off in February.”

The cuts will stay in effect through the February legislative session. That’s when lawmakers will get an updated outlook on the state’s revenue picture.

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

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