In seeking to ameliorate Oregon's budget crisis, each candidate was asked what he would cut. Neither gave a sppecific answer.
Dudley said Oregon's labor costs are unsustainable.
“We won't scapegoat state workers, (but) the state simply can't afford it,” Dudley said.
Kitzhaber said, “The cuts have already been made.” He added the state can't cut from its three largest programs: education, public safety and human services. Those make up 93 percent of Oregon's budget.
Ultimately, the debate came down to each side's talking points, with the candidates avoiding stumbling blocks in what may be their sole joint television appearance. Dudley was asked about what development in the state he would oppose and struggled for an answer, but said development should be “restrained.”
Kitzhaber, despite a pledge in the Democratic primaries to avoid negative advertising, had to account for ads he ran that chastised Dudley's choice to live in Washington state in the 1990s to avoid paying some Oregon taxes.
Kitzhaber called them “comparative ads,” and said they were necessary because of the lack of debates between the candidates. He offered to debate Dudley in Portland next week, and Dudley declined. Dudley then invited Kitzhaber to a debate in Medford. Kitzhaber did not commit.
Each side was quick to claim victory, e-mailing press releases both during the debate and shortly after.
Dudley says questions about his decision to live in Washington state while playing for the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers in the 1990s to avoid paying some taxes amount to “unfair criticism.”
“I think it's ridiculous to say that,” Dudley said, noting that thousands of people live in Washington and shop in Oregon. “We need to change our environment so people stay here.”
Kitzhaber said a home loan he received from a man he later appointed to the Oregon Investment Council was fair and is a non-issue.
“Let's look at the facts. I bought a home, paid a market rate interest,” Kitzhaber said. “I nominated a very qualified individual to the Oregon Investment Council.”