SAN FRANCISCO - The Oregon legislature late last week overrode Gov. Ted Kulongoski's veto of the state's education budget for the 2009-11 biennium.
Kulongoski vetoed the spending plan, which included two different bills, saying lawmakers of his own party had appropriated too much from the state's reserve funds.
Democrats, who control the legislature, approved spending $5.8 billion on education, including $200 million from the state's rainy-day fund. The governor, also a Democrat, said the state needs to save its reserves in case the economy continues to slow.
Both the Senate and House overruled him Thursday, easily garnering the necessary two-thirds margins.
"I disagree with the decision to reduce the state reserve funds during this very uncertain economic time," Kulongoski said in a statement. "With record unemployment and state revenues at risk of declining over the course of the biennium, I remain concerned that today's decision puts the state's long-term financial stability at great risk."
Oregon's unemployment rate jumped to 12.4% in May, the second highest in the nation after Michigan's, and the state economist has repeatedly shaved revenue forecasts for the current and upcoming bienniums, forcing budget revisions.
Both the governor and legislators expect to spend that money over the upcoming biennium, and both want to spend $6 billion on education. The difference is that the legislature wants to appropriate more reserves now, and the governor wants to maintain the reserves until lawmakers return to session in February 2010, when the state will know more about its revenues for the biennium.