Kitzhaber Proposes 10-Year Budgeting

Even as his state confronts immediate fiscal problems, including a $3.5 billion budget shortfall in the upcoming biennium, Oregon Governor-elect John Kitzhaber wants to take a longer view, the Associated Press reports . " Our challenge is to view the next budget not simply as a two-year balancing exercise but rather as the opportunity to lay the foundation for a 10 year strategy to build the future we want," Kitzhaber wrote in a 14-page document outlining his approach to the budget shortfall. For example, he wants to focus on the needs of young children to create prosperity in the long term. Still, Kitzhaber will face hard choices now to balance the budget. He's considering cuts in public employee compensation and renewed efforts to collect unpaid taxes.

Iowa Governor-elect Terry Branstad yesterday entered into a war of words with Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal for continuing to block a vote on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. "Just because you are a leader in the Legislature doesn't mean you are a dictator," Branstad said, according to the the  Omaha World-Herald. "Certainly the senators should be given an opportunity to vote on this." In the months since the Iowa Supreme Court legalized gay marriage last year, Republicans have pushed for a constitutional amendment to overturn the ruling. Democrats have rebuffed them. Branstad, a Republican, was elected governor last month and Republicans won a majority in the Iowa House of Representatives. Voters also ousted three of the justices who handed down the decision. But Democrats retained a 26-24 edge in the Senate, and Gronstal, their leader, continues to oppose a vote on the issue.

Del Marsh wants to slash the $3 million budget of Alabama 's Senate president pro tem by a third. That's notable because Marsh happens to be the incoming president pro tem. Marsh's proposal is part of a broader push to reduce legislative staffing in Alabama, the Montgomery Advertiser reports . Newly empowered Republicans are looking for ways to cut spending, and some believe the legislature had been spending too much on itself under Democratic control.  "The way I'm going to look at it, if someone is needed, they're needed. If they're not, they're not. These are state dollars," Marsh said, according to the Advertiser .

The Republicans who have come to power in both chambers of the Maine legislature are reducing regulations on business.. They're creating a new "Joint Select Committee on Regulatory Reform," the Bangor Daily News notes. Senate President Kevin Raye told the Daily News that business regulations were a frequent source of complaint on the campaign trail this year. "It didn't matter whether they were selling lawn and garden equipment or running a restaurant, they all told the same story," he said. Meanwhile, incoming Governor Paul LePage , also a Republican, is holding "red tape workshops" to come up with a list of recommendations for regulatory changes to submit to the legislature.

Connecticut Governor-elect Dan Malloy says he won't allow backup tapes containing millions of state government e-mails to be destroyed, the Hartford Courant reports . A proposal from the state's top technology official under outgoing Governor Jodi Rell would have allowed the tapes to be destroyed after 60 days, but it hasn't been implemented. Malloy indicated yesterday that he'll prevent that by issuing an executive order.  "My word to anybody who works for state government in a Malloy-Wyman administration is that which you do at work, using the facilities of work, is a matter which ultimately can, and most likely will, be discovered — so you should act accordingly," the Courant quoted Malloy as saying.