Novel concept for new program accountability

From the Oregon Senate Republicans:

Senate Bill 1065, heard in the Senate Rules Committee Thursday morning, would create a new level of performance monitoring in government programs and agencies by simply forcing a six year sunset on every new program, tax or fee. The legislature would then be required to review the effectiveness of the program, tax or fee every six years before renewing the sunset.

“Without sunsets, it is easy for a bad program to exist for eternity, lost in the dust and cobwebs of government’s corners,” said Senator Jackie Winters (R-Salem), sponsor of the bill. “We need a way that ensures every program is being reviewed and examined on a regular basis, so inefficient programs can get the axe instead of quietly continuing to waste taxpayer dollars.”

The bill’s intent is to make sure that programs are functioning as they were originally intended. This means taking the time to intentionally review these programs. Under the bill, legislators would be required to continually renew a program’s sunset every six years, forcing a regular review of its validity. The bill would also establish a Sunset Advisory Commission that would be charged with reviewing and evaluation state agencies, programs, taxes and fees that are administered by the state.

“Government grows like a weed on miracle grow, while taxpayers are sent larger and larger bills,” said Winters. “I think it is wise to slow down a little and make sure things are operating like they should, instead of taking it for granted.”

The bill is waiting for a work session in the Senate Rules Committee.

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Posted by at 04:44 | Posted in Measure 37 | 16 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • retired UO science prof

    Why not a sunset review of all programs, the ones that have been around forever, instead of just the new ones?

    Prisons? Roads? Public schools? Do we really need state police?

    • Rupert in Springfield

      You are seriously arguing that if all programs were subject to review after six years that police and roads would be deemed unnecessary?

      Or are you dusting off the worn out liberal tactic of imputing to someone that if he questions the validity of one program then he questions the validity of having government at all?

      Maybe this sort of logic worked in the classroom at one point. I don’t think it works to well in the real world anymore.

      • Jerry

        He’s dusting. What else does the left have left to do??

        • Rupert in Springfield

          Well, its pretty cold out right now. I suppose he could start a fire with some of the cash left over from this months diamond plated pension check.

          • r UO sp

            Hoh hoh! That pension of mine really eats at you, doesn’t it? What are you doing to save for retirement? I worked for a living, educating students and doing research. What do you produce in your business?

    • Moron Detector

      You aren’t to smart.

    • Steve Plunk

      The professor has a hard time not resorting to the lamest debating tactics. This is another reductio ad absurdum argument even though he’s been called on them before. Rather than rationally discuss what programs need review or what programs are making sense he instead loses his cool and rants about getting rid of everything. Those of us who want smaller government obviously want no government in his eyes. He needs to understand we are not undergrads easily fooled or intimidated.

      Next I suppose he’ll bring up my son attending SOU and how can I logically be for smaller government while he’s at a state government school. The lack of reason and logic is still surprising.

      • valley p

        The professor has described himself as a Republican until recently, now an independent. He is hardly on the left. He is just left of where most of you happen to be, which is true of the vast majority by the way.

        Rupert writes: “You are seriously arguing that if all programs were subject to review after six years that police and roads would be deemed unnecessary?”

        I don’t think that is what he was proposing. Its a perfectly sensible to make sunset provisions, if they are a good idea to begin with, to apply more broadly. Why would we want to sunset out every NEW law every 6 years and NOT take a similar look at older laws, many by citizens long dead or moved away, and including those passed by citizen initiative? Why would we NOT want to sunset out the property tax limitations of the 90s, lock them up and throw away the key measures of the 90s, and the measure that requires a super majority to raise taxes? Why are those laws sacred? Are you afraid they would not hold up to new analysis based on the experience of having lived with them? Or do you only want this applied to acts of the current Democratic legislature?

        The professor was “ranting?” He “lost his cool?” You are projecting Steve.

        “Next I suppose he’ll bring up my son attending SOU and how can I logically be for smaller government while he’s at a state government school. The lack of reason and logic is still surprising.”

        Its a legitimate point, not an unreasonable one. Conservatives seem to have lost any sense of the value of services they get for their taxes. But he has made it enough times by now. Dead horses being beaten rarely rise up.

        • Steve Plunk

          valley p, Let me ask you something very simple, did the professor use a form of reductio ad absurdum argument? That makes it a rant, a nonsense argument without basis in logic and reason. No one is suggesting we do away with government.

          As far as conservatives seeming to have lost an appreciation for government services we have a legitimate disagreement. I think we are overpaying and you appear to think we are underpaying or paying the correct amount. Now how does that apply to my son going to SOU? Why does my call for more efficient government have anything to do with having a child in a state college?

          Neither you or the professor are making any sense at this point. In debate class your appropriates grades would be an ‘F’ for both.

          • valley p

            The way I read what he wrote, he suggested not stopping at the new programs. He suggested also sunsetting out old programs. Perhaps tongue in cheek, he noted some that he knows are more popular with conservatives who post on Catalyst in order to give pause for thought (beware the law of unintended consequences).

            His point may have been that on the merits there is no good argument for only sunsetting out new programs and ignoring old ones. Since older programs were passed by people now dead or otherwise gone, why wouldn’t we start with those if we want to find laws no longer useful or appropriate to the times? If we wanted to lower the cumulative legislative burden, that would actually be the logical place to start. Not the new laws, which by definition are needed now or they would not have passed.

            So my answer is no, I do not think he made a reductio ad absurdum argument. And even if he did, so what? Its a valid form of argument if it shows the initial hypothesis to be false based on a logical conclusion. Nothing wrong with that if he used it to make a point.

            “Rant” is normally defined as loud, hyperbolic, noisy, bombastic, wild, or incoherent. I saw none of that in his choice of words or tone. I’m not familiar with your use of rant as being nonsensical.

            My position is we are getting a lot more than we are paying for from government, which is why we are so deeply in debt. So called “conservatives” passed Medicare Part D, which was an unpaid for increase in a major entitlement program, and led us into 2 unpaid for wars that are still ongoing.

            I think the SOU reference is legitimate, but has been overused by the professor. It is legitimate Steve, because you have not (to my knowledge) ever recognized the value of the education your son is getting due to taxpayers having established a public university system. Nor for that matter have I ever sen you recognize that your trucking business is entirely dependent on our public road system. You bite the hand that feeds you, and I do think that is a legitimate rebuttal point.

            I’ve never studies debate. But I’m pretty sure you are not qualified to give grades in it.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            The professor popped off with an ill thought out ad absurdum argument and got called on it.

            Standard tactic of the left, if someone questions some of government, that person is to be painted as against all government.

            Dean uses it all the time. It never works.

            Nothing to see here people, keep moving along.

          • valley p

            “Popped off?” Is that like a rant?

            Why new legislation Rupert? Why shouldn’t older legislation be subject to sunsetting?

            “Without sunsets, it is easy for a bad program to exist for eternity, lost in the dust and cobwebs of government’s corners,” said Senator Jackie Winters (R-Salem), sponsor of the bill.”

            Why would something get lost in the cobwebs after only 6 years, but stuff passed 10 or 20 or 100 years ago is not lost?

            I’ll tell you why. Because Republicans are currently in the minority and oppose all current legislation. In the 1990s they were in the majority and saw no need for this bill. A Reductio Republico Hypocritico argument.

  • Jerry

    The only problem is they should sunset before they are implemented.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      I don’t even think they should sunset. Sun setting sounds too nice for some of the boondoggles we waste money on.

      Some programs, such as the BETC, can be so egregious in their waste of money that really there should be action – in the form of eliminating the program, and actual accountability – in the form of holding those who implemented and ran the program accountable financially.

      No one had any problem holding Ken Lay or Bernie Made Off accountable for their actions. The average Oregonian was affected not one whit by the actions of those two, but financial mismanagement in Salem costs citizens plenty.

  • eagle eye

    I’ve read these posts here, interesting how the prof gets people going.

    I looked for a rant by him, I sure can’t find it. Maybe a little bit of sarcasm? But not a rant. Or maybe he is serious about sunset reviews for everything, I don’t see why not.

    What’s the story, prof?

  • r UO sp

    I’m quite serious.

    If it’s a good idea, why not apply it to old programs, especially the ones that actually cost a lot.

    If it appears absurd — I didn’t say it, others did — maybe that shows the basic idea is absurd.

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