Leaders ignore economic warning signs

Press release from the Senate Republican Office

While Oregon families make sacrifices and find ways to cut costs, Democrat legislative leaders gave their stamp of approval to over $287 million in pay increases to state bureaucrats and political appointees. Governor Kulongoski and legislative leaders have repeatedly said that they think Oregon’s economy is in fine shape, but families feeling the pinch of high gas, food and health care costs think different.

“The absolute wrong time to increase the cost of Oregon government is while Oregon families are seeing the cost of food, fuel and housing spiral out of control, with jobs more difficult to find each week,” said Senator Doug Whitsett (R-Klamath Falls). “We should be saving and finding ways to cut expenses. If legislative leaders think an economic slowdown is the appropriate time to hand out pay increases, they should find a way to pay for it by cutting waste in existing budgets, not spending down the state’s savings account.”

This represents the second pay raise in a year’s time for state bureaucrats, in addition to picking up the tab for a 12 percent increase in health care premiums. Political appointees received over $46.4 million in pay increases, some equaling raises of more than $3500 a month. While the total cost to the taxpayer this budget cycle is over $350 million, the raises inflate to over $650 million next budget cycle.

“Oregon families don’t have an ATM in the sky to make up for rising costs, and Democrat legislative leaders shouldn’t treat taxpayer dollars that way,” said Senator Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day). “It makes me feel uncomfortable to use our safety cushion to fund pay increases in the face of our tough economic climate. I don’t think it reflects the priorities of Oregonians right now. We should be talking about bold steps to create local jobs and get our economy back on the right track, not expanding the size and cost of government.”

Oregon unemployment has grown for three months in a row to 5.6 percent, higher than the national average. The nation continues through an economic slump brought on by the mortgage crisis. Oregon is typically several months behind national economic trends.

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Posted by at 10:52 | Posted in Measure 37 | 6 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Steve Plunk

    From local city councils to the US congress our politicians have ignored the warning signs of economic problems. Oil prices are sucking billions of dollars away from us and directly into the coffers of hostile regimes. A weak dollar further propels oil upwards. Ignoring the home finance problems until they have become a crisis has damaged our basic industry of home building.

    They say Nero fiddled as Rome burned and I cannot help but see it that way now. From top to bottom our government wants to raise taxes and further the economic damage. They want to raise those taxes not to better the citizens lives but to grow the government they lord over. It’s ego pure and simple. Like the emperors and dictators of Rome our political class sees itself as better than those they rule. Surrounded by bureaucrats who manipulate them to serve the interests of the public service guild they are unaware of the damage they cause.

    It is time for us all to pick up the phone, write a letter, or compose an email. The elected government must be made aware of what we need and don’t need. If we do not it is not only them who fiddle but us as well.

  • John Fairplay

    Worse yet, the Governor and his allies are actively seeking ways to make energy – gasoline, natural gas, electricity – more expensive for all Oregonians. Whose side are they on?

  • Jerry

    Whose side did you think they were on? Special interests and themselves. That’s it.

  • Jerry

    State workers are grossly underpaid. This is fact. This raise (4 times the cost of living increase) will hardly help. It should be much, much larger.
    What we would all do without these people? They are the glue that holds our state together.
    Quit complaining. They need more. They will get more.
    There is nothing we can or should do to stop this.
    I am giving my tax incentive money to a state worker.

  • Anonymous

    Why shouldn’t they get more? Without them we would not have a Democrat Governor and Democrat legislature.

    Public empolyee unions long ago banded together and took over the mechanism that pays them. Through the Democrat party which has been more than willing to sell out Oregon taxpayers in exchange for control.

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