Gov. Ted Kulongoski's
," which includes his top aides and most trusted agency directors as well as other allies, produced one depressing report today.
The group, put together last October to review how Oregon
can continue to provide government services amid a dismal economy and other challenges, forecasts
a decade of multi-billion dollar deficits and reached this conclusion:
Oregon faces a crossroads decision in 2011.
If we choose to stay the course and attempt to sustain current services with current practices, we will
continue to stumble through the decade of deficits. In that scenario, lawmakers and voters will find
themselves again and again between the rock and the hard place of cutting services or raising taxes.
But, if we are able to restructure services and control costs to better meet our responsibilities, we could
chart a path to a decade of stability. Achieving this stability will require hard choices, but it need not be
all pain and no gain. A more stable fiscal future will create an environment in which we can shift
resources to new investments – investments that would not otherwise be feasible during another
decade of deficits – to better meet the long-term needs of our citizens and build a more prosperous
That's a pretty depressing outlook and one somewhat at odds with a message sent by Eastern Oregon voters to re-elect Reps. Bob Jenson (R-Pendleton) and Greg Smith (R-Heppner). Both Eastern Oregon Republicans took heavy fire for supporting 2009 income tax increases in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.
One message you could draw from the two GOP lawmakers' re-elections, despite conservatives recruiting primary opponents for both and sending people and money to support their overthrow, is that Oregonians want to preserve the current level of government services even if that requires tax increases.