Thursday, September 9, 2010

Stressful times

Pending agency cuts
By Peter Wong • Statesman Journal • 
September 8, 2010 
State agencies have received their targets from the
Department of Administrative Services for cutting a
total of $377.5 million to eliminate the latest
projected shortfall in tax collections.

Combined with $577.1 million from the previous
forecast, the total comes to almost $1 billion less
than planned in the current two-year budget that
lawmakers approved in mid-2009 and adjusted in

The pending cuts amount to 8 percent in the nine
months remaining in the budget cycle, which ends
June 30. They are on top of the earlier 9 percent
cuts, most of which took effect in July.

Most of the cuts fall within a handful of agencies:
$158.6 million from the state school fund, which
makes payments to 197 school districts; $104.5
million from the Department of Human Services;
$33.8 million from the Department of Corrections;
$20.6 million from state universities; $13.8 million
from state aid to community colleges; $7.8 million
from Oregon Youth Authority; $6.8 million from
Oregon State Police.

Some agencies are affected little — or not at all —
because they do not rely on the tax-supported
general fund. The allotment cut for the Department
of Transportation, for example, is $273,047.

Agencies have until 5 p.m. Sept. 14 to submit plans
for across-the-board reductions, which Gov. Ted
Kulongoski can make under the authority of a 1951
law. Plans will be posted on Sept. 16.

The governor will review them; so will lawmakers on
the Legislative Emergency Board, which meets 

Sept. 22-23.


It is a time of high anxiety around our house. My husband cannot sleep for all the worry that his job may be cut in the next days, weeks, months. In his division one in seven are out of there; it's a given fact. Since the division is not large and since Michael is mid-management - a key target now, and if the Republican candidate for governor happens to be elected even more so - his position is vulnerable. 

I am not talking about the cursed typecast of the American government worker bestowed upon him/her by fellow Americans. In this personal case I am referring to a group of highly skilled, well-educated professionals (my husband is one of the CPAs on staff) who lost 8% of the team last year due to budget cutbacks. The managers there, all the way to the top, are working managers who add value to the operation of Oregon state government.  

Everyone is worried. Even those who have households with double incomes, large savings accounts, and paid-for homes. We are among the worried.....not among the latter group. 

Today I got a wee bit of an escape from the stress when I looked out the window and saw Pilgrim lounging in the driveway. That is a wonder in itself since he is an old cat who was on death's door two months ago. When the vet met us on a Sunday afternoon he diagnosed Pilgrim's quick decline due to an upper respiratory infection. Pilgrim's temperature was 105, the highest that particular young vet had seen in his career. After a touch-and-go week spent at the clinic Pilgrim came home much improved. He's back to his old self now and more than appreciative of our care. Devoted to us. 

Pilgrim is one of the four kitties who have selected our home as theirs, and who have beds in the garage where they sleep securely each night. One of those guys, Onyx, is the focus of Pilgrim's attention at the end of this short clip (sorry it is shaky, as I had to hold my arms up to get the shot from the window). And there are yet five more bona fide strays, one feral, that I feed each night in the backyard........In other words, we have a big family when you add in the pampered three indoor cats and our two large dogs. A dear dear family I love - hanging in the balance of what may or may not lie ahead. Please think of us with strong good wishes.


Fireblossom said...

Oh, dear friend of mine. I hate that this sort of stuff seems to be visiting people so often these days. Not only do you have the stress of uncertain finances, but also of seeing your beloved hubby unable to sleep because of it. The uncertaintly over your animals is no small thing either...I love animals dearly, better than people much of the time, and I would be losing my hair over all of what you describe.

If strong positive thoughts will help, then help is immediately on the way. And i loved the little video. I just love both cats and dogs.



Looking to the Stars said...

Our thoughts are with you and postive energy is being sent your way. I know what you are going thru, we were pretty stressed the last couple of months. We have had tiny jobs for awhile and had a no spending time.

Today we got a big job, it was a relief. Hang in there and keep us posted :)

Owen said...

Will keep fingers crossed for you... what awful times of uncertainty we all live in. I keep getting the feeling that the world we grew up in is gone... leaving us stranded in a place that is getting harder to understand.

roxana said...

i know... it is the same here in my country, perhaps even worse (and a friend in Japan tells me the same story).
i am thinking of you, a warm hug - we have to try to remain confident, and i so hope things will work out for you.

Lydia said...

Fireblossom~ Thank you for the strength in your dear message. It means so much. I want to be blessed to be a blessing and not in need of blessings...I think you know what I mean. Like you, I love animals more than people much of the time, and I will continue telling the ones around here that all is well. xo

Looking to the Stars~ Oh, I'm so sorry to read that the last months have been so challenging for you. In our case, my husband's pay (all OR state employees' pay) has been cut on average by one unpaid day per month for the last year -- but we know what to expect and have budgeted accordingly. Your situation is more stressful not knowing when the next job will be. Congratulations on this new big one and may more follow it. xo

Owen~ How beautifully expressed are your comments and concerns for us all. I found them extremely soothing and I'm thankful for your insight.

roxana~ We are all in this together, I know that. My husband said yesterday that he and I are all alone and I thought about that statement a lot before posting this. I knew I could be viewed as whiny or panicky (and there were elements of both those things involved) but my spirit needed to reach out, to not be all alone. I am sending my own positive thoughts out there too. xo

Fireblossom said...

Btw, Lydia, I sent you something by email last night. I hope it hasn't gone to your spam box.

Lydia said...

Fireblossom~ I was just signing off for the night (at 4:00A) and read your comment. I'll check my email before shutting 'er down. :)

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

having just been through a long, drawn out redundancy consultation myself i know pretty much how you must be feeling right now.

all fingers crossed from across the pond xx

Rhiannon said...

I'm sorry to hear of you and your husbands worries Lydia. The economic changes is affecting so many right now. The party of "no" I am so ashamed of them...on why they are doing this...not for any good reason but for self absorbed reasons relating to where their lobby money is coming from and "special interest". They haven't a clue...only if they were to experience being poor for just a day or two. I, for the life of me cannot understand why the ones angry at the country and Obama would vote for them!! Isn't it obvious it's all about money for them? And not bringing this country together in time of need?

My thoughts are with your family and your concerns.

I am waiting to hear from the DHS, and hoping that they will not lower my food stamps "again" as they did last year. My sister and another friend I am driving to a food pantry tomorrow to get some extra food...we are running out. Good way to go on a diet!...Sorry bad joke.

Wake up America! It's not Obama, he is trying but "certain" people want to split this country in half and continue to say "no"...even if they become the majority in congress and senate...they will not be helping you!

Thank you for dropping by my other new "journal" blog as you call meant a lot to me that you read my post and dropped by.

Have a good safe and "cool" weekend.

Love and Peace,


Lydia said...

Pixies~ Wow, and good wishes coming your way, too. A "redundancy consultation" sounds hellish. Hope the outcome is much less so.

Rhi~ Thank you for your concern and now I am concerned for you, too. What a struggle these times are for so many. When I read your "Wake up America" I thought about the excitement after the election. So much hope.

naomi dagen bloom said...

Lydia, We drove past Silverton sign on the way to Philomath tonight and I thought of you. Understand why you have commented about being stressed. Send all the best wishes for a saner Oregon your way. -naomi

Lydia said...

naomi~ You were close and thank you for the thoughts and good wishes. Yes, a saner Oregon would be nice for so many.
Hope to see (meet) you at the TGB blogger meet-up next month!

Hattie said...

Fingers crossed for you.

Lydia said...

Thank you, Hattie.

Freda said...

Feeling for you at such a troubling time. We are already undergoing cutbacks here in the UK. My disabled son is very frightened and my youngest son has just lost his job. So my thoughts and prayers come from some inkling of how it feels. Every Blessing

Lydia said...

Freda~ You do know much more than I how it feels. Your family will be in my prayers. Thank you for being there...for so many in the world.

susan said...

I'm sorry to read about the possibility of your husband losing his job and do hope sanity returns to those who make these dumb decisions.

pohanginapete said...

Very best wishes, Lydia. Very glad to hear Pilgrim's doing well — may it augur well for the other problems.

Manuela said...

Lydia, my thoughts are you at this stressful time! The decisions that some men in suits in some carpeted rooms somewhere make have such dramatic impacts on real people's lives, it makes me feel a lot of anger at how these impacts are ignored or not considered important. I am sending good thoughts, and no, you are not alone!

Lydia said...

susan~ Thank you for your concerns from Canada....and how is your new home? I'll be by to visit in a bit.

pohanginapete~ It is a comforting thought to tie Pilgrim's return to health with a hopeful present. Our standard poodle, Bonbon, had oral surgery last month and hasn't snapped back since completing her antibiotics. We returned with her to the vet on Saturday and Bonbon has lost weight and is exhibiting signs of pain, but nothing can be pinned down until Monday. She goes back then to be checked and scanned while under anesthesia. I hope she rallies like Pilgrim did. :)

Manuela~ Your sweet expression of understanding and assurance means a lot to me. You are right, in most cases the people making the decisions are isolated or isolate themselves on purpose so they don't fully see. George Clooney's movie Up in the Air has some amazing scenes depicting exactly that type of character.

the watercats said...

sorry to hear your predicament.. I hope things turn out right for you and yours, sending good vibes :-)
and what an excellent name for a cat (I love his black nose)!

Lydia said...

the watercats~ I thank you and hope it remains just a predicament instead of a done-deal! Really appreciate the good vibes (and the recent blog award, too).
Doesn't Pilgrim look like he's dressed in those gray-and-white pilgrim costumes you see in early America drawings/cartoons? He used to eat at a neighbor's house before deciding to make us his family. She had called him "Face Kitty" because he has such a cute face - that nose and all. So in honor of her having helped him early on when I had his tag engraved I put his name down as "Pilgrim Face" - more information than you needed, I know!



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