All the rain we got this week was nothing compared to the buckets of cold water being thrown on state agencies.
They began reviewing their options as they confront a 9% budget cut in the coming year. The bad news came just as campaigns for the fall elections were getting under way.
Our political guys, Bill and Jeff, have joined us. Bill Lunch is OPB's Political Analyst; he's at the OSU Media Center, and Jeff Mapes is the senior political reporter for The Oregonian; he's on the line.
Jeff: A nine percent budget cut - or more than $500 million -- is very large, particularly after reductions by the 2009 legislature. You've written that the budget cuts have revived the intense debate over Measures 66 & 67, the new taxes that passed in January; how is that playing out, politically?
Bill: There's a relatively recent parallel in the 2001-02 recession. What can we learn from the public reaction to the deep cuts made at the time of the last recession?
Jeff: The Independent Party: You've written in The Oregonian today about controvery over fundraising by an Independent Party official, but let's talk more generally about the party. Where did the party come from - why has it become important?
Bill: The Independent party now has more than 50,000 registrants among Oregon voters, making it by far the largest minor party in the state. Why did that happen so quickly?
Jeff: Two entrepreneurs are trying to qualify an initiative for the November ballot that would allow a casino to be built in Wood Village, in the Portland suburbs. There's a lot of money involved in this drive, isn't there?
Bill: Whatever happens to the proposed initiative to allow the casino, it appears that there will be considerably fewer initiatives and referenda on the ballot this November than in a number of recent elections. What's behind the decline in initiative politics?
OPB's Political Analyst Bill Lunch also chairs the Political Science Department at Oregon State. Jeff Mapes writes and blogs about politics for The Oregonian.
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