Best 2017 Veteran photo

By Taxpayer Association of Oregon

Afghanistan wounded veteran, Earl Granville, finished the 2017 Boston Marathon.   Right before he crossed the finish line he grabbed his guide and lifted her and a flag to boot.   WCVB News has more: Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This Conservative Refuses to Excuse or Ignore Assault

Last night, Greg Gianforte was elected to Congress from Montana’s At-Large Congressional District. In his victory speech, Gianforte apologized to Ben Jacobs, the reporter he assaulted the previous night. I am deeply disappointed in the reaction from many Republicans and conservatives about Gianforte’s actions. Certainly, everyone should be appalled that Gianforte assaulted a reporter, but Republicans and Conservatives should be most of all.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of Conservatives were silent. While some rightly condemned his actions, too many said that the reporter had it coming, that he was a liberal hack, that he was rude. This may stun you, but there is actually no proper excuses for assaulting anyone.

Would you have defended Bill Clinton when the Lewinsky scandal broke? Every conservative will say “Of course not.” Defending or dismissing Gianforte’s assault is exactly the same behavior Democrats engaged in with Bill Clinton when the Monica Lewinsky scandal happened. Democrats defended Clinton’s behavior in a similar manner, blaming Lewinsky.

I know many Conservatives often believe that we hold the moral high ground compared to Liberals and the Democrat Party. I can’t say for sure if that is true. If we continue to engage in the behavior many displayed in response to reports of Gianforte’s assault, we most certainly do not hold any version of moral high ground.

Reagan Knopp is the Editor-in-Chief of Oregon Catalyst.

Posted by at 09:02 | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Join With Me on Memorial Day

I’ve been asked to speak at the Oregon Vietnam Veterans Memorial for its annual Memorial Day ceremony to tell the story of Corporal Lyle Tate. He was killed in action 50 years ago this month in the Republic of Vietnam.  Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Military, U.S. Marine Corps, Veterans | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Other Side of Volatility

In their quest for new taxes on business Oregon Democrats are making the argument that Oregon’s current tax system is very volatile.  Now they may have a point, Oregon’s tax code relies very heavily on personal income taxes, so during bad economic times where there is high unemployment and lower wages, Oregon’s tax revenues are hit quite hard compared to other states in the union.  That being said, the other side of the volatility coin is that Oregon during good economic times with low unemployment Oregon tax revenues go gangbusters. Continue reading

Posted by at 06:15 | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Gov. Brown’s 2002 quote best explains PERS failure

By Self Serving Politicians Are Driving Oregon Into Bankruptcy Coalition,

Kate Brown said “PERS ought to be fixed but now is not the time…” (Oregonian September 8, 2002)

That was in 2002, when PERS was only $4 billion in the hole.

Now 15 years later, PERS is more than $22 billion in the hole! Continue reading

Posted by at 07:04 | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Kicker Envy 2017

By Steve Buckstein

Individual Oregon income taxpayers may receive kicker refunds when they file their 2017 tax returns based on a percentage of the state income tax they paid in 2016. Based on the May revenue forecast, $408 million could be coming back to taxpayers, with the average refund being $210. A final determination of whether the kicker will “kick” and how big it will be should be announced on August 23.

But even before those potential refunds reduce our 2017 tax liability, some are questioning whose money it is, and others seem envious that the “rich” will get much bigger refunds than the rest of us. So, whether the kicker law is good or bad public policy, let’s think a little about who this money really belongs to. Is it a rebate for overpaying your taxes, or is it somehow “our” money that is better left in government coffers? Continue reading

Posted by at 10:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

No Guarantee of Blue Wave, but Early Warning Signs Are There

My dad always told me, “A year is a lifetime in politics.” With 531 days to go until the midterm elections, there is plenty of time for things to change. However, the early warning signs are there for a blue wave. If Republicans with to prevent a political bloodbath, they must correct course now and turn the national political tide before it is too late.

Continue reading

Posted by at 09:28 | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Real State of Employment in Oregon

Right From the Start

A recent article in The Oregonian reported that Portland (apparently for The Oregonian that is all there is in the state) was reaching “full employment” and that economic growth will now slow down.  Well The Oregonian did not so much “report” as they just copied information from a press release by the Oregon Department of Employment – no independent investigation, no context, no verification of facts, and no juxtaposition against other known data.

Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Bush/Obama Recession, Economy, Employment, Fake News, Gov. Kate Brown, Gov. Neil Goldschmidt, Jobs, Media, Media Bais, Poverty, President Obama | 1 Comment

Full page ad starts debate on spending reform


By Jason Williams,
Taxpayer Association of Oregon

A full page ad in the state’s largest newspaper ran in the Sunday Oregonian this week (click photo for larger view).   It was placed by Brighter Oregon, a  broad  statewide coalition of Oregon consumers, taxpayers, small and large businesses, associations and organizations who have come together to support the Oregon Business Plan framework for addressing the state budget’s structural deficit. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:20 | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Overtaxed and Underbuilt

By John A. Charles, Jr.

An Oregon Legislative committee is proposing a massive series of tax increases to pay for various transportation projects.

The proposal calls for higher taxes on vehicle registration, increased gas taxes, a new sales tax on motor vehicle purchases, a statewide employee tax to subsidize transit, and a new bicycle sales tax.

While there are many bad ideas on this list, perhaps the most offensive is the sales tax on vehicle purchases. It is being crafted so that most of the money would be diverted from highway maintenance into something called the “congestion relief and carbon reduction fund.”

Anything that includes “carbon reduction” in the title is guaranteed to be a boondoggle. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

A Shaky Assumption?

Earlier this week  wrote that the proposition a “growing population means more traffic” is a shaky assumption. I admire his making a contrarian point, and I’ve long been an admirer of his writing for Willamette Week, but let’s subject that point to some further scrutiny. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Employment, ODOT, Public Transportation, Transportation, TriMet | Tagged | 3 Comments

Anchors and Coattails: Trump in Oregon

If the Democrats have their way, the 2018 election here in Oregon will be a referendum on President Donald Trump.  Oregonians have very strong feelings about the President, so let’s dig into the numbers and see what parts of Oregon are still on the Trump Train and which parts seem to be in the firm grip of The Resistance.  In other words, where does Trump have coattails that 2018 Republicans could ride and where is the President likely to be an anchor on local candidates. Continue reading

Posted by at 09:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The Technology Dividend: Growing Government the Stealth Wealth Way

By Representative Mike Nearman

For the third straight session, I serve on the Joint Committee on Legislative Information Management and Technology. In addition to the small smattering of policy bills that get presented to the committee, we have – at least for a short time – oversight of the various large Information Technology projects for state agencies that are in process at any given moment.

One project which is in the early stages is the DMV Service Transformation Project. As you may remember, back in the early ‘90s, the DMV embarked on a very expensive software project, which failed and eventually landed it as number two on the list of epic software project failures internationally. Today, haunted not only by their earlier failure but by the more recent high-profile failure of Cover Oregon, the DMV is just beginning to upgrade. The software they are using today is the same software that they were trying to replace nearly a quarter of a century ago. Yikes.

When these projects are first proposed, the committee is invariably promised that if only the millions of dollars are disbursed and the software project is completed, the agency will realize great levels of efficiency. As a student of economics, I know that efficiency frees up wealth, which begs the question: When a state agency creates efficiency through IT projects, what happens to the wealth?

Each agency has a mission, and, presumably, is funded to be able to achieve that mission. For instance, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife oversees the management of Oregon’s wildlife. They need a certain amount of money to do that. If they find a way to work more efficiently, what do they do? Reduce their headcount, facilities, or assets, and return their money to the general fund, or to the taxpayers? I don’t see this. Ever.

So, the next time an agency comes asking for $30 million or more for a software project, promising new heights of efficiency, I think the legislature should expect that the agency re-divert the savings – and promise to do so up front, as in, “We need $30 million for a software project, and with the savings and efficiency, we will reduce headcount, and you may reduce our appropriation by $3 million per year for the next 10 years.” I call this the Technology Dividend.

A great example of how this could be powerful is the DMV project, which is projected to cost $90 million over 9 years. These dollars come from the Highway Fund, paid for by your gas tax dollars. Wouldn’t it be nice if this $90 million – or more — was returned to the fund over the life-cycle of the project and was used to pave roads and build bridges? I think this is what Oregon drivers expected their fuel tax to do.

Or maybe not. Maybe we think that we need to expand the scope and the size of government and we can hand out big chunks of change and have agencies re-adjust their mission as they see fit. Hmmm. Maybe not.

Mike Nearman is the Oregon State Representative elected from House District 23.

Posted by at 07:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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