Letters to the Editor for Oct. 18, 2010
Dudley wrong to blame Kitzhaber
To the editor:
Any fair-minded person has to feel outrage, or at least mild disgust, at Chris Dudley’s attempt to blame John Kitzhaber for the current state of the Oregon economy. Everyone knows the national economy is dragging every state down, and Gov. Kitzhaber left office eight years ago.
In the KGW debate, Kitzhaber pointed out that he had tried, as governor, to establish a rainy day fund for Oregon, as nearly everyone now admits is necessary, but the Republican legislature stopped it. This is only one example of how Kitzhaber, with the opposition party controlling the Legislature during his years as governor, was generally prevented from pursuing the reforms he knew were badly needed. His term was notable for his record number of vetoes, but Oregon would be in much worse shape today if not for the man who was derisively called Doctor No.
Nevertheless, Kitzhaber had some solid achievements in getting bipartisan legislation passed, and his 14 years in the Legislature had prepared him for such success. By contrast, Dudley’s total lack of such experience would likely mean stalemate in Salem, and stalemate is a luxury we can only afford when the economy is humming along and nothing much needs to be done.
Dudley’s main campaign promise, to drastically cut the capital gains tax and open up an $800 million hole in the budget to benefit a wealthy few (trying to con the voters into swallowing the old trickle-down snake oil once again) is just the kind of recycled, overhyped idea that Kitzhaber has seen many times before, and Kitzhaber advocates a more moderate alternative. Dudley seems quite fond of Washington state’s tax system; especially their lower capital gains tax rates (not to mention the low property taxes on his former home), but the news from Washington is the state is in deep financial crisis, with a $4.5 billion projected shortfall in the 2011-2013 budget, resulting in drastic across-the-board cuts in schools, public health, prisons, etc.Craig Martell