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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Public Employees Rally At Oregon Capitol

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network
Members of AFSCME rally on the front steps of the Oregon Capitol Friday.

One of the largest state workers unions rallied in front of the Oregon Capitol Friday. Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said budget-balancing discussions by Oregon lawmakers unfairly target public employees.

Brenda Johnson came to the rally from Lakeview, Oregon, where she works as an executive support specialist in a state prison. Johnson told the crowd she doesn't think state workers should shoulder the blame for the state's budget crunch.

"Once again we are expected to do more with less,” she said. “The budget cannot be balanced on our backs."

Oregon lawmakers are looking at ways to bridge a $1.6 billion gap between expected revenue and what it would take to provide state services at their current levels.

A legislative committee that's expected to examine potential revisions to the state's business tax will hold its first meeting on Tuesday.