The election is upon us. How we vote will determine not just the fate of our personal finances, but those around us, and into the succeeding generation.

In Oregon, because of record unemployment, there have been sharp decreases in state revenue. More people out of work means fewer people paying income taxes, yet more people desperately needing services - a vicious cycle.

Families are suffering. Recently, my husband helped a young man and small son get their car going again. As they talked, the young man mentioned he was looking for work to support his family. His wife and baby were back at the motel waiting for them. The young man explained they had tried camping out, and that would have worked all right with his older child, but "infants don't camp too well." 

This is the face of this crisis: a man not wanting a handout, just a job, some way to support his family. We've got to get back to the basics - jobs. We need elected officials who understand the fiscal realities of stabilizing Oregon's economy through a sustainable budget.   

According to The Oregonian ("Hard Choices: Something must give in Oregon's budget," Sept. 25), when the state legislature opens its doors in January, it faces a projected $3.2 billion shortfall in the next two-year budget. The state treasurer has said we can't borrow more money, as has been done in the past. 

In 2003, the state legislature chose to borrow $431 million to meet basic operating expenses ("Hide the Plastic: Oregon is maxed out," The Oregonian, Sept. 27). That's like whipping out the credit card to pay for milk, eggs and bread after our paycheck has been spent. You and I will be paying on that bond through 2013.     

The problem is this: The state legislators have failed to do their jobs. In 2003, a line in the sand needed to be drawn that said we will cut spending to meet the shortfall rather than increase borrowing. Unfortunately, instead of decreasing expenditures, in 2007, the legislature increased spending by a stunning 23 percent over two years, as detailed in "Oregon budget stands at precarious crossroad" (The Oregonian, July 24).   

Make no mistake, the hard choices which need to be made will be just that, hard. But, like it or not, these difficult decisions must be made - now. We need legislators who have the collective will and courage to make the tough choices necessary to get us back on track.

Please vote for Chris Dudley for governor and Bob Horning, Lew Barnes and Ed DeCoste for Oregon state Senate and House of Representatives, candidates with courage for change.




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