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Governor Breaks Low Profile To Advocate For Tax Measures

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski used a tour of a social service agency in Portland Tuesday to advocate for a pair of tax hikes on the ballot in January.

As Colin Fogarty reports the Democratic governor has kept a low profile so far in the debate over the two tax measures.

Kulongoski came to this state social services branch to meet clients like Miriam Pernisco. He asked her whether it was difficult to come in to collect food stamps.

Miriam Pernisco: "Yeah, I came over more than a month ago and then I walked away."

Ted Kulongoski: "Lookit. The programs for you. That's what it's about."

But the Oregon state budget could face $733 million in cuts if voters shoot down Measures 66 and 67. They would raise taxes on wealthy Oregonians and corporations.

Though he hasn't said much in public about the measures, Kulongoski said he's always campaigning for them.

Ted Kulongoski: "It's critically important that at this time those who have the ability to invest in our state and provide opportunity for our fellow citizens, I think that they should do that."

Pat McCormick speaks for the coalition of businesses arrayed against the two tax measures.

He says his group supports spending on public programs. But he says lawmakers should have passed temporary tax increases.

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