Well, so much for the remarkably smooth Oregon session of '09. Owing to a single flipped vote - that of Beaverton Democratic Senator Mark Hass - the Senate declined to pass a business tax package approved the day before by the Oregon House. Because of that, a second tax bill was table (alongside that first one). And because of that, the whole question of how to balance the state budget has been thrown wide open.
This wasn't entirely a surprise (one reason, presumably, the vote was held until late afternoon). The debate wasn't long (there was some but not a lot of Republican argument against), and during it, Senator Alan Bates, D-Ashland, warned that people were "teetering" and "I implore you, to vote for this bill tofay and the one following it. The state will go into chaos without these bills."
Now, presumably, we start to find out what that entails.
It could mean, as senators got some indication, that the budgets are reopened and mass cuts ensure. Or maybe not. On Blue Oregon, a commenter remarked, "Hass just said he wants to send the corporate minimum back to senate revenue for a fix- they MAY not have the votes on the floor and might have to come back another day."
Overall, the legislature may be here a few days longer than they had thought. But what direction this goes next looks up for grabs.
First big glitch in what had been a remarkably smooth-running machine.