Two former governors support temporary tax

Two former Oregon governors Monday joined to support a temporary tax increase that voters will consider in February.

Former Govs. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat, and Vic Atiyeh, a Republican, said social services, health care and education will suffer if Measure 30 is defeated.

Measure 30, on the Feb. 3 ballot, would raise $800 million to balance the state budget. Lawmakers outlined cuts in K-12 education, human services and public safety if the measure fails.

Kitzhaber said more than 85,000 people would lose Oregon Health Plan insurance coverage. The health plan, which Kitzhaber has championed since its inception in 1994, was an effort to expand the state Medicaid program to include more lower-income residents.

Atiyeh said he understands the pain of deciding what and where to cut, but pointed out that Measure 30 got support from Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature. Atiyeh said he and Kitzhaber decided on their own to support Measure 30.

Russ Walker, Oregon director of Citizens for a Sound Economy, the national group that led the campaign to put Measure 30 on the ballot, has said lawmakers had other options for dealing with budget holes caused by declining tax revenue.