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K-12 feud between governor, Legislature is over

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The great K-12 debate is over.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski vetoed the Legislature’s budget for K-12 public schools. But now both the Senate and, as of today, the House have overridden his veto.

In the House, the vote to override passed 51-to-8; that’s 11 more votes than the two-thirds majority required.

The governor had his reasons. He said the education budget bit too deeply into rainy-day funds, when there’s no way to know if the economy in 2010-11 will be worse than the economy for the 2009-10 fiscal year. True, that.

But on the other hand, Kulongoski always wanted his legacy to be “the education governor.” And one of his last official education-centric acts before he’s termed out of office next year is to throw a wrench into the K-12 budget process, during the worse recession America has seen in decades.

On this issue, I side with the majority of legislators. They looked at the rainy-day fund, then looked at the economy and said: hey, it’s raining pretty hard right now.

I also take heart in some of the economic indicators, which seem to say the economy has bottomed out. Remember, the state budget lost $3 billion in revenue between December and March, but lost only half a billion over the next three months.

(I grant you, when the bar for “good news” is set so low that “…lost only half a billion…” qualifies, you’re in tough times.)

That leaves the question: Will this be a V-shaped recession like 2002-03, in which we pull out quickly? Or will be be L-shaped, like the Great Depression, and run for years?

The Legislature bet on the former.


About Dana Haynes

Dana Haynes, joined PCC in 2007 as the manager of the Office of Public Affairs, directing the college's media and government relations. Haynes spent the previous 20 years as a reporter, columnist and editor for Oregon newspapers, including ... more »


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