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K-12 feud between governor, Legislature is over
Photos and Story by Dana Haynes
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.