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Senate Dem breaks ranks to block tax bills

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Wow. OK, that was dramatic.

As you may know by now, the House passed two bills this week that would raise $733 million in taxes, with much of that money earmarked for education, including community colleges.

The bills went to the Senate, which consists of 18 Democrats and 12 Republicans. How many votes does it take to raise taxes in the Senate? It takes 18.

But Sen. Mark Hass of Beaverton bucked his party and voted “no” along with every Republican.

We were in Salem for hours yesterday, supporting the enhanced revenue as the only way to stave off sharp cuts to every level of education: K-12, the community colleges and the Oregon University System. Without those two bills, 2009-11 is looking might grim.

This is not, however, the end of the dance. The bills were tabled, a procedure that would allow them to come back up for a vote. And Sen. Hass has said he would vote “yes” if the tax increases are temporary.

That’s doable, but of course, the bills would have to go back to the House if they’re altered at all. And once you start horse-trading with one lawmaker…. You get the picture.

The budgets for the 17 independent community colleges was supposed to come up on Wednesday, then today. Now it’s delayed until such time as this revenue kerfuffle is solved. No idea how long that will take.

Stay tuned…

Oh, and not for nothing, but this is my 100th entry in the politics blog. Cheers.


About Dana Haynes

Dana Haynes, joined PCC in 2007 as the manager of the Office of Public Affairs, directing the college's media and government relations. Haynes spent the previous 20 years as a reporter, columnist and editor for Oregon newspapers, including ... more »