Kitzhaber Claims Truce In Potentially Divisive Ballot Measures

By Chris Lehman

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber says he's brokered a deal that will avoid a potentially divisive battle at the ballot box this fall. The Democrat announced Monday that sponsors of a dozen initiatives on taxes and unions will stand down.

On the one side, union-backed groups had a slate of potential measures that would have raised taxes on corporations and wealthier Oregonians. On the other side were backers of a pair of initiatives that would have allowed public employees to opt out of paying union dues.

It was shaping up to be a costly back-and-forth between some of the state's most powerful interest groups, and the Governor didn't like what he saw. Kitzhaber wants to work on a possible overhaul of the state's tax code if he's re-elected this year. And these initiatives could have created deep divisions that could have hindered additional dialogue.

Sponsors had not yet started to gather signatures on the initiatives. But they would have had plenty of time to do that had Governor Kitzhaber not intervened.

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