As Street Roots reports, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners voted today to adopt a resolution opposing Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber's radical proposal to place an 18 month lifetime cap on benefits for families with children living in poverty (the program otherwise know as TANF). The governor's proposal comes during a state-wide budget process that has already seen tens of millions of dollars given away to corporations and the wealthiest Oregonians.
...County Chair Jeff Cogen said he wouldn’t normally criticize the budget process, but that “this is such an egregious mistake that I think it’s entirely appropriate for us to do so especially because the impact is so deep in Multnomah County,” Cogen said. “Given the depth of these cuts and the pain that it will cause on the most vulnerable members of our community, people who are barely hanging on, it just seems like the wrong call.”
Street Roots also notes that "State Rep. Tina Kotek, who represents Portland’s North and Northeast neighborhoods, has proposed reauthorizing funds to keep TANF functioning, along with the employment component, with less severe cuts, including setting the eligibility limit at 48 months." A recent article in The Oregonian implied that Kotek backed the governor's proposal and I repeated that misrepresentation of her views in a recent op-ed piece. I've since written and asked for a clarification of her proposal.
Update: Rep. Kotek e-mailed me this afternoon to say that she will not vote for a budget with the governor's proposed TANF budget cut.
I applaud Chair Cogen and the Board of Commissioners for their leadership on this issue. Faith leaders from across Oregon have also spoken out against the governor's proposal and we need more local elected leaders to do the same.