Political Scope

From the desks of the Higher Ed Board …

The Oregon Senate confirmed Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s appointments to the State Board of Higher Education last week, including former governor Neil Goldschmidt.

Goldschmidt was appointed by Kulongoski back in November, after the governor requested the resignations of several members of the Board. Goldschmidt’s appointment split the Senate Rules Committee during its vote, 3 to 3. Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, cast the tie-breaking vote and Goldschmidt, along with the other six Higher Ed Board appointees, were approved by the committee. The seven positions were later confirmed by the Senate on Jan. 22.

On Tuesday, Jan. 27, during a conference-call meeting, the Board elected Goldschmidt as its president. The Board will meet next on Feb. 19 and 20 on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene.

Spare some change for community colleges?

On Friday, Jan. 23, the Oregon Legislative Emergency Board released $10.7 million in reserve funding to the state’s 17 community colleges, but that money will not be available to the schools until the 2004-05 academic year.

This amount tops off the 2003-05 budget cycle with $48 million less for the Community College Support Fund than in 2001-03. If Measure 30 fails on Feb. 3, Oregon community colleges will lose another $6.8 million.

Batter up for Portland politicians

Portland Mayor Vera Katz and Gov. Ted Kulongoski have been driving forces behind the push to bring Major League Baseball to the Rose City. Now, mayoral candidate and City Commissioner Jim Francesconi has pledged his support for a stadium fit for the majors under one condition – Francesconi said he is all ears only if private owners want to come forward and finance all or most of the stadium, much in the way the Rose Garden, home to Portland’s only professional team, the Blazers, was funded privately. Francesconi calls the current plan, which lacks a private partner, a “non-starter.”

For baseball proponents here in Portland, it looks like the game is still tied at 0-0.

Dialing for dollars

Gov. Ted Kulongoski got on the phone Tuesday here in Portland, calling up voters and reminding them to vote on Measure 30.

His personal phone calls, however, came around the same time as various reports stating that personal income taxes will be less this year, no matter the outcome of the measure.

The reason is federal tax cuts. Thanks to Congress and the Bush administration, the cuts are likely to lessen the burden on Oregonian taxpayers by an average of $641 for the 2003 fiscal year. The final amount, of course, still rests on the fate of Measure 30, which comes to a vote on Tuesday, Feb. 3.