The purpose of this phenomenological study is to describe how Oregon governors Barbara Roberts and John Kitzhaber, whose tenures both coincided with the passage and implementation of property tax limitation measures, determined the community college budgets within their recommended state budgets. The stories of Robert's 1993 and Kitzhaber's 2001 decisions are explored and analyzed to assess what influences, experiences, and information impacted each governor's decision-making for community college funding. This study confirms the role of the governor in the budget decision-making process as one of 'chief legislator' or arbiter of the final budget. The findings call for community college leaders to get to know their governors and those individuals close to the governor who are responsible for providing advice on education and community college policies and budgets. Interactions should lead to a clear understanding of the administration's policy priorities and the placement of education and community colleges among those priorities. Greater knowledge of the priorities will enable community college leaders to build a relationship grounded in a recognition and awareness of these priorities and provide the basis for influencing the governor's overall perception of community colleges. Development of community college messages should be framed around the governor's perceptions and priorities for optimal impact. This study finds that there are other influential players in the state-level budget development and decision-making process. As discussed above, the policy advisors close to the governor provided important influences of perception and decisionmaking. Community college leaders must build relationships with a governor's education policy advisors, as they have access and opportunity to influence the governor's perceptions and decisions, since they act as translators, interceptors and gatekeepers. Successful relationships with education policy advisors will lead to better understanding of policy priorities and, again, the ability to frame the community college message for maximum influence and impact. Community college leaders must also be familiar with the state-level budgeting process and timeline to ensure that the messages are most effectively delivered and within the established timeframe.