Oregon Gov. Slams Budget Package
Mar. 05, 2002
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SALEM, Ore. (AP) _ While criticizing the Legislature's budget-balancing package as ``stunningly irresponsible,'' Gov. John Kitzhaber said he'll let most of it stand.
``This entire budget is an embarrassment and deserves to be vetoed,'' Kitzhaber said at a news conference Monday. Instead, Kitzhaber said he'll make three line-item vetoes and then make his own cuts to balance the budget because the state otherwise could face serious cash flow problems.
The plan passed by the Republican-run Legislature in a six-day special session that ended Saturday lacks the tax increases that the Democratic governor had sought.
It slashes state spending by almost $350 million and uses about $500 million in reserves and other one-time revenue to plug an $846 million budget gap caused by declining income tax revenue.
House Speaker Mark Simmons disagreed with Kitzhaber's analysis.
``The problem here obviously has been the governor's desire for tax increases,'' Simmons said ``Seeking one's own political agenda above the needs of the public is not a courageous act.''
The governor said he'll veto lawmakers' use of $67 million from the tobacco settlement reserves and will veto two spending cuts, including one that would reduce dental benefits for low-income adults.