Home Opinion Editorials EXTENDED SESSIONS FURTHER DRAIN FUNDS
EXTENDED SESSIONS FURTHER DRAIN FUNDS
The resignation last week of Sen. Lenn Hannon as chairman of the Oregon Senate Budget Committee is only one act in a long, ugly drama in a Legislature that has failed to come up with a way to deal with the state's 2001-03 budget shortfall.
Hannon, R-Ashland, stepped down as a result of a leadership struggle. The chamber's Republicans couldn't agree how much to cut spending to plug the $850 million deficit.
One faction of Republicans in the GOP-led chamber thinks it can balance the budget with cuts and no new taxes. Hannon disagreed with whether solving the problem with cuts alone would work. The House more than a week ago came up with a budget-
balancing plan, but the Senate could not agree to that approach which included a 75-cent rise in the tax on a pack of cigarettes.
THE STALEMATE continues as the Legislature's third special session this year on the budget deficit drags on. Clearly, it's not an easy task to come up with a plan to deal with a nearly $1 billion deficit.
A different approach, however, was desperately needed. Key leaders of the House and Senate should have sat down and hammered out a plan, with the governor's blessing, before calling their colleagues into session. Each senator and representative could have been contacted by phone or e-mail to see if they would support the plan.
The latest special session, ironically, provides a further major drain on the state's budget. Our senators and representatives should not have been called to Salem until reasonable assurances could be made that a protracted session would not occur.
DRIVING LAW WORKS
First, let's just say that there are a lot of good, safe teen-age drivers. But inexperienced first-year drivers can pose some danger before they gain the knowledge needed to drive safely. Oregon has dealt with this problem, and to great success, with its two-year-old teen-
The statistics don't lie. In 1998, 1,196 16-year-old drivers were driving when someone was killed or injured in Oregon; in 2000, the number was 898; in 2001, 810. That's a significant improvement.
THE LAW BASICALLY tries to boost teen-agers' experience before "flying solo." Teens must receive formal driver's training plus 50 hours of supervised driving time before getting their license. Furthermore, to get a license, they must have a learner's permit for at least six months.
It's a good time for the state to review the program and see what works and if anything about the law could be improved. The numbers, however, look very good so far.