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Focus: state economy

Rep. Smith hosts town hal

The state of Oregon's economy will be the focus of a Hood River town hall meeting hosted by Rep. Patti Smith, R-Corbett, on Thursday.

"I'm looking for suggestions about how we can re-balance the budget in a bad economy," said Smith.

She invites all local residents to share their concerns on issues related to state government from 4:30-6 p.m. in the Meadows Room at the Hood River Inn.

During that forum, Smith will update citizens on the $830 million state budget deficit and the challenges legislators are facing to overcome that crisis. Prior to the first special session in February, Smith was appointed to address budget-balancing issues on the Joint Interim Committee on Economic Stimulus and Public Policy. Those duties followed her appointment last fall to the House Special Task Force on Jobs and the Economy.

She decided to gather input from her constituents before going back into the second special session, which is expected to take place next week after Gov. John Kitzhaber vetoes the most recent funding package.

"We need to have a government that's sustainable," said Smith.

Last week, Smith visited Full Sail Brewing Company to reassure its management and employees that she will fight any proposal for a beer and wine excise tax increase. In fact, Smith said she is adamantly opposed to any revenue increase that further burdens taxpayers at this "crucial" time, especially with Oregon ranked first in the nation for unemployment.

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