Tuesday, February 10, 2004
The message is clear. Oregon voters have clearly told the Legislature, the Governor and the public employee unions that "enough is enough. No additional taxes."
First it was sales taxes: Rejected rejected rejected.
Then it was property taxes: Limited limited limited.
And now, on two occasions, voters have spoken that Oregon's already high personal and corporate income tax rates are high enough.
Hopefully the result will be a review of all state spending.
Oregonians have always been strong supporters of education from the early years through college. That needs to be kept in mind as there are few options left for funding education now that property taxes are limited.
The growth in state offices in Salem in recent years makes one wonder how all that space is used. Many people in the Polk County community work in those offices but each and every state program should be held up to the light and examined thoroughly.
There is no choice for local schools, higher ed and all state-funded organizations but to make cuts.
Cutting spending and jobs is never fun. It is never easy. But it is a practice that everyone in the private sector faces from time to time as the economy hits low points. This may mark the first time that the public sector has faced this challenge on this scale.
Locally we've watched the school districts recognize the likelihood of the recent election results. Plans are in place and steps are already being taken to address the reality of further reductions.
When reviewing the election results, it is interesting to see only one county in the state showed a majority of "yes" votes -- Polk's neighbor to the south, Benton County. Close behind but still going with the tide was Lane County.
The message is very clear: Let the cutting begin.