State Rep. Dennis Richardson: Budget cuts and stimulus

Budget Cuts, Stimulus Status &
Oregon National Guard Redeployments

By State Representative Richardson,

Budget Cuts. Last night 80 citizens came to Salem to voice their concerns over cutting program budgets and government services. It was the third evening this week public hearings were held. Police officers advocated to reinstate funds for the police academy; nurses and doctors pleaded for health care funding; mothers of mentally disturbed children begged that funding for developmentally disabled programs would be spared; parents and educators implored for school funding–from infancy to university. As a group, the chorus demanded public funding notwithstanding these recessionary times; as individuals, they asked the committee to spare their favored programs and services””regardless of the consequences to others.

Stimulus Status. These are serious times. The consequences on individuals and families are real. As I write this update, the final version of the Federal Stimulus Plan has been passed by the U.S. House, and Senate passage is expected tonight. It is a $787 Billion dollar potpourri that will cost more than $1.2 Trillion to pay back when interest is included. This 1,071 page bill is the largest single financial authorization in the history of the world. It is ironic that it was passed without a single Congressman or Senator, Democrat or Republican, having had the time or the opportunity to read it. Unfortunately, the stimulus bill has morphed from a Stimulus Package into a Pork & Policy Bill. The final bill is a hodgepodge of financial allocations–everything from billions for Headstart programs for disadvantaged children and for NASA climate change research, to tax credits for buyers of plug-in electric hybrid cars ($9,100) and first time home buyers ($8,000). In short, it will cost more than a trillion dollars and do little to address the current economic crisis. If we think the Federal Stimulus Plan is expensive, just wait for the inevitable U.S. bank bail-out bill. Soon we will be told action must be taken to save our entire banking system. Knowledgeable economists are quietly disclosing that the U.S. Banking System has more bad loans than assets and is technically INSOLVENT.

Oregon National Guard Redeployments. The use of National Guard troops to fight long-term wars in foreign lands is becoming an issue in a growing number of states. The U. S. Constitution provides for Congress to call “”¦forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions,” and for the President to serve as the Commander in Chief. (U.S. Constitution Art. 1, Section 8 and Art. 2, Section 2) The Constitution does not provide that the state militias are to be at the beck and call of the President to fight any foreign conflict the President might deem appropriate. In his First Inaugural Address, President Thomas Jefferson said the following on the true purpose of our state militia:

“A well-disciplined militia, [is] our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war till regulars may relieve them”¦.” –Thomas Jefferson: 1st Inaugural, 1801

I love and honor our soldiers, sailors, and air men and women. As a young man, I enlisted in the U.S. Army, received my training and flew helicopters in Vietnam. I have been in combat and I know the toll it takes on our young men, women and their families. We have “regular” military forces. The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corp. are intended to fight our nation’s long-term, foreign wars. It is time for our Legislature and our Governor, a U.S. Marine, to stand with other state legislatures and governors and inform Congress and the President that since the Iraq-Afghanistan foreign emergency is over, further deployment of our state militias is unconstitutional. It is time for the “regulars” to take full responsibility for on-going military operations in foreign arenas. As a loyal Oregonian, I want our state militia to serve Oregon’s purposes, and not be redeployed as if the National Guard were an additional branch of our national armed forces.

Am I wrong? Am I missing something? Please let me know your opinion by answering the question, “Should the Federal Government continue to redeploy the Oregon National Guard to Iraq or Afghanistan?” (Click here to vote in this one-question Survey)

In conclusion, as Oregon’s revenues decrease, stress levels are rising in Oregon’s schools, health and human service providers, and law enforcement agencies. By the end of next week, we should know more precisely where the budget-knife will cut most deeply, and which pieces of programs and services end up on the chopping block. On the matter of our state militia, I will share the results of the survey with you in a subsequent newsletter.

Until then,
Your servant,

Dennis Richardson
State Representative

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to LinkedIn Post to Reddit

Posted by at 05:55 | Posted in Measure 37 | 426 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Joe

    No matter what happens we must fund the cultural trust each and every year or we will lose all that is dear to us.

    • Steve Plunk

      I doubt the cultural trust will save jobs. Right now I would expect those to be very dear to Oregonians.

  • Reason

    There is 28 billon in the PERS fund that should be used to help shore up the Oregon economy. It will benefit every Oregonian including the employees. The fund can be given vouchers of repayment which can be redeemed when the economy gets better.

  • dian

    It’s really past time that our lawmakers get real. They are still acting and spending like things haven’t changed. I understand the concern about the climate, but it hasn’t even been proved. This is not the time to spend on fantasy’s. It’s time to priortize and I don’t frankly care of Gov Ted wants to go out in a blaze of glory as the savior of the planet. It’s not just him, it’s the legislators who act like kids in a candy store spending money.

  • davidg

    There is a simple and effective way to stop the federal government from abusing its power over the Oregon National Guard. Disband the Guard. This will send an immediate effective message to the federal government, unlike the useless resolutions now being proposed in the legislature.

    It is rare that Oregon ever needs or calls out the Guard. So its absence will not be missed. In the meantime, however, funding and recruitment for the Guard can be transferred to increase the Oregon State Police, which is not under the power of the federal government. Based on historical use (or lack thereof), that should constitute a sufficient source of reserves if they are ever needed for an emergency.

    The entire misguided Afghan adventure has been obscured for too long by the bigger debacle in Iraq. It is time for Oregon and other states to finally take some effective action to influence foreign policy: disband the state national guards. This will stop the federal abuse of power.

    • Fred Stovel

      Davidg: As I said in my comment to the article’s survey link, about 95% of the operational costs and all of the equipment for war comes from the feds. The State can’t have it both ways. If the state wants a militia without tanks, helicopters, and F-15s, I suppose it could fund one and call it the State Police Reserve.

      • davidg

        I think that the concept of a state militia/Guard without all the (federally supplied) hardware makes perfect sense and is justified by history. I doubt that there have ever been instances in Oregon history where the Guard was called out and needed the hardware to achieve its goal. Typically, when deployed (which is rare), the Guard simply does guard duty after a flood or other disaster. The big hardware just isn’t needed in those situations. If a true insurrection did break out somewhere, the state would be entitled under the US Constitution to receive federal assistance.

        So I still think the concept of disbanding the current Guard is workable and makes an important statement – even if it means giving up the unneeded federal military hardware.

Stay Tuned...

Stay up to date with the latest political news and commentary from Oregon Catalyst through daily email updates:

Prefer another subscription option? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, become a fan on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Twitter Facebook

No Thanks (close this box)