Is Ted Kulongoski turning Oregon into a banana republic? If you believe a new Republican radio ad, he is.
The ad rips into the governor because he has not yet signed two bills that would increase corporate income taxes and personal income taxes on high-income Oregonians. The Republicans claim Kulongoksi's intentionally stalling so that opponents of what they call the "job-killing" bills won't have time to collect enough signatures by Sept. 25 to get repeal measures on the fall ballot.
"Sign the bills, governor, and give the people their rights," says the ad. "This is Oregon, not Honduras" - referring to the Central American republic where the government recently was toppled in a military coup.
"The governor is intentionally delaying the signature collection process by not signing the bills, making it very difficult to collect the necessary signatures in the required 90-day period," continues the ad, which you can read on the Oregon Catalyst site or listen to on Jeff Mapes's blog.
The ad concludes by urging Oregonians to write to Kulongoksi and tell him: "Governor, stop trying to take away our right to vote."
Of course Kulongoski isn't taking away anybody's right to vote. He legally has until Aug. 10 to sign the bills, and if he wants to engage in a little gamesmanship with the process - well, that's fair game in politics. Just as it's fair game for Oregon Republicans to attack him - but we think the Honduras comparison is a bit over the top.
That is, unless the Republicans have inside information that Kulongoski is going to call out the National Guard to prevent them from collecting signatures.