Oregon's future will be indelibly shaped in the Nov. 7 general election by what happens with one initiative: Measure 48. The measure seeks to limit state spending and would result in a $2.2 billion budget reduction in the coming biennium.

But Measure 48 is really about trust and who decides. If the measure is adopted, the governor and Oregon's legislators would no longer decide how much money in total will be spent on essential state services and investments in schools, roads and public safety. Public policy would lose out to a formula of inflation and population increases.

Because of this initiative's importance, we believe it is time for the major candidates for governor - Democrat Ted Kulongoski and Republican Ron Saxton - as well as House Speaker Karen Minnis, a Republican, and Senate President Peter Courtney, a Democrat, to stand shoulder to shoulder in opposition to Measure 48.

We know that each has said that he or she personally opposes the measure. But it is time for demonstrative, unified leadership that doesn't fear alienating voters. It is time for Kulongoski, Saxton, Minnis and Courtney to say that while they may disagree on many things, they do agree that Oregon will be a less healthy place - economically, educationally and socially - if Measure 48 is approved.

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