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Legislators want to re-examine highway program

State officials say it might cost less than expected to fix hundreds of cracked bridges in Oregon and that the $2.5 billion highway upgrade approved two years ago needs another look. Some want to use any extra money for unfunded congestion relief projects such as the Sunrise Corridor in Clackamas County and a Newberg-Dundee bypass. The project's $1.3 billion bridge-fixing centerpiece has created 1,400 jobs, nowhere near the 4,800 a year backers promised for the overall project.

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Legislators want to re-examine highway program

State officials say it might cost less than expected to fix hundreds of cracked bridges in Oregon and that the $2.5 billion highway upgrade approved two years ago needs another look. Some want to use any extra money for unfunded congestion relief projects such as the Sunrise Corridor in Clackamas County and a Newberg-Dundee bypass. The project's $1.3 billion bridge-fixing centerpiece has created 1,400 jobs, nowhere near the 4,800 a year backers promised for the overall project.

04/03/2005
State budget bonanza: Forecast jumps by $739 million

Washington's rekindled economy will pump an unexpected $739 million into the state treasury, significantly easing lawmakers' efforts to bridge a huge budget gap, revenue forecasters said Thursday. The good news, the largest quarterly increase ever, was called "the luck o' the Irish" on St. Patrick's Day by the House finance chairman. It touched off an instant debate over whether tax hike should be off the table as lawmakers deal with a $1.5 billion spending gap. Key Democratic legislators said a tax increase still looks unavoidable.

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State budget bonanza: Forecast jumps by $739 million

BY DAVID AMMONS

Washington's rekindled economy will pump an unexpected $739 million into the state treasury, significantly easing lawmakers' efforts to bridge a huge budget gap, revenue forecasters said Thursday. The good news, the largest quarterly increase ever, was called "the luck o' the Irish" on St. Patrick's Day by the House finance chairman. It touched off an instant debate over whether tax hike should be off the table as lawmakers deal with a $1.5 billion spending gap. Key Democratic legislators said a tax increase still looks unavoidable.

03/17/2005
Locke's budget offers early look at Legislature's toughest fight

It may seem like ``same song, different verse.'' Washington's new governor -- whomever that is -- and a newly elected Legislature will have to deal with a yawning budget chasm when they open for business in just three weeks. Hey, haven't we seen this movie before? It's true that dealing with a billion-dollar budget hole is getting to be old hat, but it has roared back again in a new and troubling incarnation. This time the size of the spending gap is an eye-popping $1.8 billion, and the easy trims already have been made.

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Locke's budget offers early look at Legislature's toughest fight

BY David Ammons

It may seem like ``same song, different verse.'' Washington's new governor -- whomever that is -- and a newly elected Legislature will have to deal with a yawning budget chasm when they open for business in just three weeks. Hey, haven't we seen this movie before? It's true that dealing with a billion-dollar budget hole is getting to be old hat, but it has roared back again in a new and troubling incarnation. This time the size of the spending gap is an eye-popping $1.8 billion, and the easy trims already have been made.

12/19/2004
Committee Named To Find New NAACP President

Baltimore (AP) - A committee has been named to find a replacement for NAACP president Kweisi Mfume . Mfume recently announced his resignation as president of the Baltimore-based civil rights group. Group chairman Julian Bond has named the nine-member search committee. It consists of members and staff of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, as well as people from outside the organization.

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Committee Named To Find New NAACP President

Baltimore (AP) - A committee has been named to find a replacement for NAACP president Kweisi Mfume . Mfume recently announced his resignation as president of the Baltimore-based civil rights group. Group chairman Julian Bond has named the nine-member search committee. It consists of members and staff of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, as well as people from outside the organization.

12/12/2004
Republicans will renew spending lid push

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Republicans will be back in charge of the Oregon House when the 2005 Legislature convenes on Jan. 10 — and they'll return with a plan to clamp a lid on state spending as a way to create a rainy day fund. The plan likely would involve asking voters to change the state's "kicker" law, which refunds money to taxpayers when revenue tops budget estimates. The GOP plan would divert extra money to a reserve pot, instead of into the kicker fund. When the pot was full, refunds to taxpayers could resume.

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Republicans will renew spending lid push

BY CHARLES E. BEGGS

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Republicans will be back in charge of the Oregon House when the 2005 Legislature convenes on Jan. 10 — and they'll return with a plan to clamp a lid on state spending as a way to create a rainy day fund. The plan likely would involve asking voters to change the state's "kicker" law, which refunds money to taxpayers when revenue tops budget estimates. The GOP plan would divert extra money to a reserve pot, instead of into the kicker fund. When the pot was full, refunds to taxpayers could resume.

12/05/2004
Groups seek to reinstate cigarette tax that voters rejected

SALEM, Ore. - Health care industry and anti-smoking groups plan to seek reinstatement of a 10-cent-a-pack cigarette tax that was snuffed out when voters rejected an $800 million tax hike earlier this year. The groups say raising the cigarette tax would discourage smoking among young people by making cigarettes more expensive and provide more money for health clinics for low-income people. But the move is likely to encounter strong resistance from House Republicans who say Oregonians have made it clear they don't want higher taxes.

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Groups seek to reinstate cigarette tax that voters rejected

BY BRAD CAIN

SALEM, Ore. - Health care industry and anti-smoking groups plan to seek reinstatement of a 10-cent-a-pack cigarette tax that was snuffed out when voters rejected an $800 million tax hike earlier this year. The groups say raising the cigarette tax would discourage smoking among young people by making cigarettes more expensive and provide more money for health clinics for low-income people. But the move is likely to encounter strong resistance from House Republicans who say Oregonians have made it clear they don't want higher taxes.

11/16/2004
Voters Consider Sales Tax Increase for Schools

Washington's tax-averse voters weighed in Tuesday on a sales tax increase pitched as a way to transform education from preschool through college. The League of Education Voters, a coalition of teachers, parents, business leaders and others that drove the campaign, argued for a plan that would raise more than $1 billion annually and fill in funding gaps for future generations. Opponents were wary of the tax bite and dubious about the benefits, fearing that the initiative would simply pump more money into faltering programs.

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Voters Consider Sales Tax Increase for Schools

BY Peggy Andersen

Washington's tax-averse voters weighed in Tuesday on a sales tax increase pitched as a way to transform education from preschool through college. The League of Education Voters, a coalition of teachers, parents, business leaders and others that drove the campaign, argued for a plan that would raise more than $1 billion annually and fill in funding gaps for future generations. Opponents were wary of the tax bite and dubious about the benefits, fearing that the initiative would simply pump more money into faltering programs.

11/02/2004
Ohio political maverick could be the next Katherine Harris

COLUMBUS, Ohio - He's the enforcer of an archaic rule requiring voter registration forms to be printed on 80-pound paper. He's been accused of trying to suppress the black vote by rejecting ballots cast in the wrong precinct. But on Nov. 2, Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell - and obscure officials like him in other key states around the country - will decide which votes count, in a race where every vote counts.

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Ohio political maverick could be the next Katherine Harris

BY ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS

COLUMBUS, Ohio - He's the enforcer of an archaic rule requiring voter registration forms to be printed on 80-pound paper. He's been accused of trying to suppress the black vote by rejecting ballots cast in the wrong precinct. But on Nov. 2, Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell - and obscure officials like him in other key states around the country - will decide which votes count, in a race where every vote counts.

10/27/2004
Castor to pull Al-Arian ad; urges Martinez to pull negative ads

Democrat Betty Castor, accusing her opponent of running "the nastiest campaign in the history of this state," challenged Republican Mel Martinez on Wednesday to stop airing negative television ads in their bitter U.S. Senate race. Castor's campaign said it would pull one showing a photograph of President Bush with suspected terrorist Sami Al-Arian. The ad said the former U.S. Housing secretary "allowed" the former professor to campaign with Bush in 2000.

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Castor to pull Al-Arian ad; urges Martinez to pull negative ads

BY KEN THOMAS

Democrat Betty Castor, accusing her opponent of running "the nastiest campaign in the history of this state," challenged Republican Mel Martinez on Wednesday to stop airing negative television ads in their bitter U.S. Senate race. Castor's campaign said it would pull one showing a photograph of President Bush with suspected terrorist Sami Al-Arian. The ad said the former U.S. Housing secretary "allowed" the former professor to campaign with Bush in 2000.

10/21/2004
Backers tout sales tax boost for education as reform measure

SEATTLE -- Supporters of Initiative 884 see their bid for a one-penny increase in the state's 6.5 percent sales tax as a chance to recharge education in Washington state. It's not just about money, they hasten to add. ``Money matters, but only if it's spent intelligently with a keen eye to where it's needed most,'' said Mark Usdane, executive director of the League of Education Voters backing I-884. ``We're every bit as much about reform as we are about money.'' Opponents are dubious about the benefits and fearful of the tax bite.

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Backers tout sales tax boost for education as reform measure

BY Peggy Andersen

SEATTLE -- Supporters of Initiative 884 see their bid for a one-penny increase in the state's 6.5 percent sales tax as a chance to recharge education in Washington state. It's not just about money, they hasten to add. ``Money matters, but only if it's spent intelligently with a keen eye to where it's needed most,'' said Mark Usdane, executive director of the League of Education Voters backing I-884. ``We're every bit as much about reform as we are about money.'' Opponents are dubious about the benefits and fearful of the tax bite.

10/18/2004

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