Political Scope

Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski addressed a press conference Wednesday after the defeat of ballot Measure 30, and announced he will require numerous state agencies to tighten belts and cut wherever possible.

He said it will be necessary to make cuts as carefully as possible in areas such as healthcare, public safety and K-12 education.

“As for higher education,” Kulongoski remarked, “access remains my number one priority. Though higher education faces a cut of $7.5 million, we will look for additional operational and administrative reductions in the chancellor’s office and campus by campus, and we will take those reductions before we resort to tuition increases.”

Kulongoski ended his remarks with a hopeful, cheery note, stating that “Oregon’s greatest strength,” the people, will work together to “create a better future for our state.”

Oregon House Speaker Karen Minnis was not as lighthearted about the measure, stating that she felt the measure’s defeat was “a predictable reaction from Oregonians,” but added, “The sky will not fall as a result of tonight’s [Feb. 3] vote.”

Katz scratch budget fever

Portland Mayor Vera Katz, now in her last year in office, has decided to roll up her sleeves and do some digging into the budgets of city bureaus. She’s doing so, apparently, in order to make next year’s fiscal outlook a bit prettier. She’s hoping to save more funds by tightening budgets.

Katz proposes a saving of as much as $7 million dollars; money which could be used to fill current funding gaps and then appropriated to other projects – an alternative to such options as hiring more police officers or reducing business license fees.

Of course, the numbers and actual distribution of such funds are all still theoretical. First, the Mayor must start the excavation of city funds.

– Sara Gundell