In a rare pre-May forecast press conference, Governor Kitzhaber challenged lawmakers to agree to a grand bargain on PERS and new tax revenue or face a shriveled budget for education. He also called on lawmakers to take a bipartisan look at tax reform.
In his third term, Kitzhaber has become known for his keen negotiations skills that have helped to ensure bipartisan passage of his major policy initiatives during the last two sessions.
His methods have included bipartisan legislative leadership meetings at Mahonia Hall, weekly meetings with presiding officers, one-on-one diplomacy with key members, attending caucuses of both parties and, when necessary, public pressure to break logjams in negotiations. He clearly resorted to the latter yesterday.
Signaling that the legislature is at a crossroads and faces a “partisan impasse,” the governor used his public “bully pulpit” to call on legislative leadership to take on two major challenges: