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Kitzhaber Claims Truce In Potentially Divisive Ballot Measures

File photo of Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber
Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network
File photo of Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber

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.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.