2017 PERS rate increases: Growing cost to Oregon schools

Sen. Tim Knopp_thb

Sen. Tim Knopp

PERS rates projected to almost double in next 9 years

Salem, Ore. – Last week, Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) responded to the adoption of 2017 Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) advisory rates estimated to cost school districts already reeling from a $1.785 billion shortfall in 2015-2017. Bend-La Pine School District faces a 3.76% to 4.76% rate increase, and Redmond School District faces a 3.87% to 4.87% rate increase.

“These expected PERS cost increases will force school districts to lay off teachers, increase class sizes, and cut more school days,” explained Knopp. “We cannot ask our schools to shoulder an even greater PERS burden while legislative leaders continue to ignore the looming $5 billion liability local governments and school districts will be forced to pay. The 2016 session is our last chance to enact constitutional reforms before the bill for Oregon’s $5 billion PERS liability comes due.” Continue reading

Posted by at 05:38 | Posted in Education, Oregon Senate, PERS, Public Employees Retirement System, State Budget | 12 Comments

This Thanksgiving, Are You Part of the One Percent?

CascadeNewLogoBy Steve Buckstein

You may not have learned this in school, but prior to the 1623 Thanksgiving celebration in the Plymouth colony it had the equivalent of a modern-day socialist economy. Land and crops were held in common; and food was distributed based on need, not on production. Able young men were often unwilling to work hard for the benefit of other men’s families.

After several disastrous harvests, each household was given its own plot of land. They could keep what they produced, or trade their crops for things they needed. Private property and a free market economy resulted in a truly bountiful harvest in 1623 and beyond.

Today, most Americans are actually rich, thanks in large part to retaining those private property and free market traditions. Perhaps not rich in relation to other Americans, but rich in relation to people around the world. Continue reading

Posted by at 10:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments

President Obama: Idealism Adrift

Right From the Start

Right From the Start

The Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris, Mali, Egypt, Cameroon (and the list goes on forever) have heightened criticism of President Barack Obama and pressed a demand that the United States take a leadership role in combating ISIL in Iraq and Syria. While I think that is necessary, I am absolutely opposed to the United States taking any combat role in either country under this president. Quite frankly, were I the leader of any other nation seeking to combat the Islamic terror network, I would resist strenuously any leadership role by the United States under this president. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Foreign Relations, Individual Responsiblity, John Kerry, Leadership, Liberalism, President Obama | 12 Comments

Apologists for Islamic extremists are misguided

Dan Lucas_July 2012_BW

by Dan Lucas

The world has been rocked again by another violent attack by Islamic extremists. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed credit for the recent horrific coordinated attacks in Paris that killed at least 130 people and wounded more than 400.

Speaking at the U.S. Embassy in Paris the week after the attacks, Secretary of State John Kerry was attempting to contrast the recent Paris attacks from January’s Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris when he said “There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of – not a legitimacy, but a rationale” to the Charlie Hebdo attack. A “legitimacy,” a “rationale” to the Charlie Hebdo attack where 12 people were killed earlier this year because as CBS noted that French satirical newspaper prints “caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed” which “have frequently drawn condemnation from Muslims.” The Charlie Hebdo attackers had ties to al Qaeda and ISIS. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Benghazi, Hillary Clinton, Iraq, Islam, John Kerry, President Obama, Terrorism | 21 Comments

That “old technocratic central planning impulse” is alive and well in Oregon

CascadeNewLogoBy Steve Buckstein

One of the most memorable and talked about lines from the November 10th Republican presidential debate came from Senator Marco Rubio, who said, “For the life of me, I don’t know why we have stigmatized vocational education. Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers.”

The fact-checkers quickly came up with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to counter his earnings claim; but the larger question might be whether the president, or any level of government in America, should use the power of the state, and taxpayer money, to choose one career path over any other for students in a free society.

In Oregon you can find lots of politicians who are sure that our state education system needs to focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, or STEM for short. Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian wants to return shop classes to high schools. In 2013 the Legislature created the Oregon STEM Investment Council (under John Kitzhaber’s Oregon Education Investment Council, which no longer exists). Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Election, Economy, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Oregon Government, Progressivism, State Government, Unemployment | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Leiken calls on Gov. Brown, Sec of State Atkins to improve transparency

Sid Leiken_thb

Sid Leiken (candidate for Oregon Secretary of State)

SALEM, Ore.- An audit, released this week by the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office, shows that Oregon’s public records system is in need of significant improvements. The findings reinforce concerns voiced by a report from The Center for Public Integrity. The organization gave Oregon an “F” grade for government accountability and transparency. Some of the problem stems from the roughly 400 exemptions in public records law which limit the public’s access to certain information.

The audit recommends state agencies craft procedures to better handle “non-routine or complex” record requests, improvements to the fee structure, and possibly adding an independent ombudsman or commission to handle disputes related to public records requests. Continue reading

Posted by at 10:00 | Posted in 2016 Election, Government reform, Oregon Government, Oregon Secretary of State, State Government, Transparency | 5 Comments

ODOT cover-up is evidence of continued corruption in state government

Bud Pierce_thb

Bud Pierce for Governor

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon gubernatorial candidate Bud Pierce will join Oregon Republican leaders in calling for the immediate resignation of the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Matthew Garrett. Evidence shows Garrett and members of Governor Brown’s office knowingly provided questionable facts on greenhouse gas emissions last session to legislators.

“Governor Brown should have asked for Garrett’s resignation when his failure to present accurate numbers scuttled a delicate deal on a transportation package. It’s now clear why she did not. The governor’s office did so to further her political agenda. This is an appalling breach of the public trust on the part of Garrett, Governor Brown’s staff, and yes, Governor Brown,” said Pierce. Continue reading

Posted by at 08:19 | Posted in 2016 Election, Cylvia Hayes, Ethics, Gov. Kate Brown, Gov. Kitzhaber, Government corruption, Green Energy, Transportation | 2 Comments

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