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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Kitzhaber Faces Challenges In Push For Special Session

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber plans to resume his tour of the state later this month in his push for a special session on taxes and public pensions. But it's not clear yet whether his efforts to gather grassroots support will convince lawmakers to come back to the capitol. 

Kitzhaber says a special session could happen as soon as next month to vote on a package of bills that would raise some taxes and slash benefits to public retirees.

The idea is to boost education funding while cutting costs to government agencies including school districts. A version of the plan came up one vote short in the Oregon Senate last month.

Long-time Salem lobbyist Jessica Adamson is the veteran of more than a half-dozen special sessions. She says the governor will have to come up with a plan that appeals to more than just one additional lawmaker.

"You have to be able to craft a package that will pull in more votes," Adamson says. "If you're going for only the bare minimum, it's very, very hard to get there."

Adamson says it's not out of the question. The governor is no stranger to special sessions. But she says he'll have to put a specific proposal forward very soon if he expects lawmakers to hold a vote in September.