Gov. Kate Brown unsheathed her veto pen today, showing she's capable of playing hardball.
In the recent legislative session, Democrats desperately needed a Republican vote to pass the $670 million hospital provider tax. State Rep. Sal Esquivel (R-Medford) agreed to vote with Democrats in exchange for nearly $4 million worth of goodies in his district—including a $1.9 million irrigation project, a $1 million theater renovation, and a $750,000 baseball field. His vote provided the three-fifths majority the measure needed.
But after the bill passed, Esquivel joined other GOP House members in referring the tax increase to voters. He says he was unhappy that some of the new revenues would be spent providing insurance to undocumented immigrants and also for publicly-funded abortions.
So today, along with vetoing two other bills entirely, Brown used a line-item veto to excise Esquivel's rewards from House Bill 5006.
Esquivel is angry. He says the deal was for his vote and made no reference to a referral. "She reneged," he says.
Brown disagrees. "The cornerstone of all negotiations whether they occur in a public or private arena, is the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing," the governor said in a statement.