Busy agenda, and just 35 days for Ore. lawmakers



SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon lawmakers return to Salem on Wednesday facing some daunting challenges, including a struggling economy, deep budget cuts and major changes to health care and education.

Legislative leaders say the top priority will be further trimming a budget that was already hacked last year. They say nothing is off the table.

Officials say prisons and social service programs will probably be hardest hit.

Projections released in November showed the state will take in $300 million less than lawmakers assumed when they wrote the budget. The next revenue forecast will be released Feb. 7 and could show an even steeper decline.

Gov. John Kitzhaber wants to advance big health care and education initiatives. Republicans are pushing tax cuts to spur job creation, and Democrats hope to help homeowners in foreclosure.