Kulongoski Outlines Plans

From the O:

Gov. Ted Kulongoski said Wednesday he plans to take full advantage of Oregon's new political order and his resounding reelection to push an agenda that includes spending a record $6 billion on public schools over the next two years and raising taxes on corporations and smokers. ...

At times grinning, at other times sparring with reporters, Kulongoski said he will begin his second term in January by proposing a budget that sets aside 61 percent of the general fund for education, vastly expands health coverage for children with revenue from a cigarette tax increase and diverts $200 million in corporate tax "kicker" refunds into a state savings account.

He said his 2007-09 budget proposal would include higher corporate taxes to pay for more Head Start programs and a possible surcharge on auto insurance to pay for more state troopers. The governor said the combination of a growing economy, a Democratic Legislature and voter approval for his platform should make for smoother sailing in his second term. ...

Democratic legislative leaders said they generally support Kulongoski's agenda but haven't reached agreement yet about the details. For example, they aren't ready to sign on to Kulongoski's call to use the corporate kicker refund to create a rainy fund. And they point out that Democrats do not walk in lockstep, either with each other or the governor.

Republican leaders said the governor would have to work with them if he wants new revenue bills, which require a three-fifths majority to pass, or 36 votes in the House and 18 in the Senate. But, stung by the outcome of the election, they weren't in a mood to argue too strenuously with Kulongoski.


  • BlueNote (unverified)

    Good luck to the governor and Dems in the legislature. Working with such a narrow majority in the House is going to be challenging. I don't understand why so many well qualified Oregon Dems were unsuccessful in challenging Republicans incumbents. In Washington State the Dems obtained very large majorities in both houses and even won a few seats in eastern Washington that have not been held by Democrats in 50+ years. Is Oregon growing more conservative than our neighbor to the north? Just wondering.

  • Jessica (unverified)

    I like the term "political capitol" so much better than I did in '04!

  • (Show?)

    I don't understand why so many well qualified Oregon Dems were unsuccessful in challenging Republicans incumbents.

    BlueNote... I'll refer you to my earlier post. Picking up four seats was better than any previous Democratic performance in the last 30 years. We haven't won seats in a midterm election since 1982, so winning anything is big -- and four is enormous.

    (On Election Night, Earl Blumenauer told me that we won five in the post-Watergate year of 1974. Someone else told me that we did as well in 1958.)

  • (Show?)

    Before I make a fullblown post out of this--and let me stem right now any qualitative comparisons between the leaders of FuturePAC and the DCCC--let me dip my toe in here since it's been brought up: does anyone think maybe the OR Dems missed the boat a bit? If we had a "60-district strategy" in place, I didn't see it. Could Jim Gilbertson have won? Did Bev Backa get any attention in Clackamas? How hard did we work on getting a decent challenger into every district?

    I do not want to accuse the House Dems campaign on something I haven't fully researched, but I think it's worth addressing: did a focus on Tier 1 pickups in order to get us just over the hump on House control, perhaps sacrifice the possibility of larger gains, either in the short or long term? And I don't want to rush the fading of 2006 afterglow, but what can we do to make an improved statewide showing in 2008?

  • Garrett (unverified)

    Start whacking away at Republican strongholds now. Campaign when there isn't a campaign. We do it pretty well around election time and organizing a door knocking event just to remind people what their Republican congressman in the House or Senate probably wouldn't hurt the Democratic cause. Doing it regularly is a really good idea.

  • Garlynn (unverified)


    I agree with you, I'm not positive that a full-state strategy was in place in 2006. I though that perhaps there was a better chance for folks like Jim Gilbertson to win. On the other hand, he apparently out-spent his opponent, and still lost. I think there may need to be a lot more Bus Project-style campaigns run, some actual community-building, taking place between now and 2008.

    Let me just through this out there: It's called the Democratic PARTY. Why not... actually throw some parties? Some community events, with free beer (microbrews, of course) and good old-fashioned fun? Throw these in every state house district, maybe even a couple in each district, and invite every voter. Town hall-style meeting about the issues early, then... I dunno, music and dancing later. More focus on building community than on campaigning?

  • Zak J. (unverified)

    Right on, Garrett--start working for the permanent Democratic majority right now!

    The Republican's attitude of "we screwed you when we were in charge but you'll get nothing done without us!" (paraphrasing the O article) shows they don't plan to back off from their campaigning or their crazy, discredited economics and social meddling.

    If you think Karen Minnis plans to stay in her new broom closet office in Salem, you got another thing coming. Dems need to step up recruiting and fund-raising NOW while enthusiasm is in the air. Don't forget: we won because of TURNOUT.

  • jrw (unverified)

    I like the party idea that Garlynn put out, but then again, I'm a party girl.

    Carla over at Loaded Orygun makes a very good point about some of the assumptions that folks still living in rural Oregon make about those of us in the urban setting. Most of us who grew up rural left the world of rural, because we just plain could not make the sort of living we really wanted to make. I can say, however, that there are a lot of us in the urban setting who would dearly love to go back to the rural life--if we could make a living at what we do in a rural setting. But--part of making that work is decent infrastructure, like decent roads, decent internet connections, decent cell phone service--transportation and communication are the key if we are going to turn things around for our rural areas. I work up on Mt. Hood, and the discussions I've heard about the impact of the flash flooding up there on the Mountain upon our local transportation options is scary.

    There is NO FREAKING EXCUSE for letting our transportation systems fall apart like they have over the past 12 years.

    Building community is desperately important after this election. We need to be winning hearts and minds, and developing connections, emphasizing similarities instead of kicking people's butts around. Let's figure out ways to diversify rural income so that the kids don't have to leave the farm and we can plug up that brain drain from our rural areas.

    And for those of us who grew up rural but are now living urban lives, we need to rebuild those connections in the lives of our kids. My son identifies himself as "half-urban, half-rural." He got us back into hunting after he turned 18 and asked to go back out. He wants to go fishing. It's not at the same level or intensity that we do those activities, but still...it's a start. It gives him a chance to learn about those things. We took him out camping, hunting and fishing at a young age.

    This "other Oregon," "two Oregon" image that the Oregonian keeps projecting is bogus and imposed upon us by outside interests. Let's STOP listening to outsiders. Let's focus on working together. We need to get rid of this attitude, and the way to do it is to work together to improve the well-being of all Oregonians, urban and rural, through rebuilding the infrastructure that's been allowed to go to pieces since the early 90s.

    Rant OVER.

  • LT (unverified)

    Thank you jrw Building community is desperately important after this election. We need to be winning hearts and minds, and developing connections, emphasizing similarities instead of kicking people's butts around.

    There were some local races where I live which really mobilized volunteers. But except for a city council race in the primary and a state rep. race decided this week, all the hard work didn't end with our candidates winning.

    However, there is a sense of community there wasn't a year ago. People who lived within a few miles of each other but had never met became friends through campaigning. At a thank you party for volunteers last week there was a full room of people talking about all sorts of things, getting to know other people better, running into people they'd met years ago in a different context.

    I say that is very worthwhile. Although some candidates lost, the friendships and experience working together aren't erased when the candidate loses. Hard to quantify, but can't be bought.

    <h2>It is time to start debating specific proposals to make things better.</h2>
in the news 2006

connect with blueoregon