Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Oregon Governor Pines for Good Old Days

Cross posted at The Next Right

"In the meantime, [Governor Kulongoski] is gearing up for a discussion about making what could be some of the most difficult changes in state government in decades. It's making him sorely miss the 2007 session, when the state was flush with money and the banking crisis hadn't hit.

"'When you do not have enough revenue,' Kulongoski said, 'a lot of the fun leaves.'"
Harry Esteve, The Oregonian

So what is Governor Kulongoski (D) planning to reverse Oregon's third worst in the nation unemployment rate?

Apparently, nothing.

Instead of working on how to bring Oregon out of its deepening recession, Kulongoski is dreaming of ways to adjust to a worsening Oregon economy.

More revenue from property taxes, less spending on incarceration of criminals, maybe having the state appoint school superintendents and building the first state-owned casino (competing with tribally-owned casinos in the state).

Even Oregon Democrats are critical of Kulongoski's lack of action.
"[Kulongoski's] caution has prompted sharp criticism from his own party as well as Republicans. The gist is that Kulongoski has been holing up when he should be out on the stump. And they're wondering how, exactly, he plans to lead the state through a recession that has forced thousands out of their jobs and left gaping holes in the state budget.

"The answer appears to be: He's working on it. In his most extensive interview yet on the state's hard times, the governor told The Oregonian that he's waiting for the right time to put the spotlight on his proposals, which could include revotes on such game-changing initiatives as Measure 5, the property tax limit, and Measure 11, which set stiff minimum prison terms for violent felons."
. . .

"[Kulongoski] gave one example: What if, he said, Portland built a 2,000-room hotel adjacent to the Oregon Convention Center and on the bottom floor opened the first and only state-owned, full-service casino? 'Dedicate all the profits -- 100 percent -- to schools.'

"It would be a success, he said, but 'my staff hates the idea,' and he guesses Portland would never go for it. But a few more years of flat or feeble growth in the economy and resistance might soften, he said." [emphasis added]

A few more years? Oregon's Democratic governor wants a "reset" of state government in which the realities of a few more years of deepening recession will be accepted by the public and the growing numbers of unemployed.
"'This is not a lack of will on my part to want to take it on,' Kulongoski said. But the public hasn't come to grips yet with the financial havoc still to come if the recession digs even deeper, he said."

Governor Kulongoski's reset of state government is not aimed at promoting growth in Oregon's economy and employment. Instead it's a reset in which Oregon state government scrambles to increase funding sources all the while ignoring the economic hardship and unemployment its citizens are facing. No wonder Oregon has only two more states to pass to have the worst unemployment rate in the nation.

Hat Tip: OregonWatchdog