by NW Spotlight
Oregon today is facing a growing problem of homelessness among its former state legislators. Mary Altzeit, a social services expert from Pacific University, explains “The problem is that Oregon legislators quickly become accustomed to an extravagant life style made possible by the exorbitant pay they earn in the Legislature, and when that goes away, they still have the new lifestyle to pay for.”
Rep. Patrick Sheehan – Fall from heyday as jetsetter to homelessness
Typical of the phenomenon is former state Rep. Patrick Sheehan (R-Happy Valley). Sheehan quickly became accustomed to the lavish lifestyle afforded by his state representative’s salary. Continue reading
Right From the Start
As this column is being written the determination as to whether the administration of President Barack Obama and the leadership of Iran will strike a deal on limiting Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons remains undetermined. At last report Iran has refused to include its existing enriched uranium stockpiles for purpose of inspection and removal.
There will be a deal. Mr. Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry will cave on virtually every point of contention in order to “record” a deal. It has been obvious from the start that Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry want a “deal” more than the ayatollahs who control Iran. But the “deal” is likely to trigger a backlash amongst America’s allies in the Middle East and the members of Congress (Republicans and Democrats alike). Continue reading
by Maggie Gallagher
Will Any GOP Candidates Step Up to the Plate for Religious Liberty?
Mike Pence is the only Republican defending Indiana law
Something very important is happening right now in Indiana. Pay attention: The Democrats are attempting to use their power in the mainstream media to get Republicans to retreat and mute the GOP on religious liberty or face being labelled anti-gay.
Last year, the Left succeeded so well with this tactic on a similar RFRA bill in Arizona, they even got Mitt Romney and John McCain to denounce the bill. Continue reading
Executive Club Meeting
Guest: Rep. Gene Whisnant & Rep. Greg Barreto
Wed. April 1st., 7:00pm
Airport Shilo Inn, Portland
First, come applaud our Taxpayer Association of Oregon
15th annual Thomas Jefferson Award winner!
Rep. Gene Whisnant
Rep. Whisnant as he is being awarded our 15th annual Thomas Jefferson Award for his accomplishments as Oregon’s budget crunching taxpayer champion and one of the boldest voices against government waste. Continue reading
SB 927: Metro’s plan for a taxpayer subsidized Hyatt Hotel. Is this the new Cover Oregon?
By Taxpayer Association of Oregon
Yes Vote: Bates (D), Beyer (D), Burdick (D),Courtney (D), Dembrow (D), Devlin (D), Edwards (D), Gelser (D), Hansell (R), Hass (D), Johnson (D), Anderson (D), Monroe (D), Prozanski (D), Riley (D),Roblan (D), Rosenbaum (D), Shields (D), Steiner Hayward (D),Winters (R),
No Vote: Baertschiger Jr (R), Boquist (R), Ferrioli (R), Girod (R), Knopp (R), Kruse (R), Olsen (R), Thatcher (R), Thomsen (R), Whitsett (R),
The fact that government wishes to involve itself in building a convention center hotel are already showing signs of being the next Cover Oregon boondoggle. The Senate passed Senate Bill 927 (see vote below) which helps Metro build a Hyatt Regency hotel with $60 million in revenue bonds (from lodging taxes) and subsidized with $18 million in lottery funds and other public support (loans, grants). They wish to add taxpayer dollars to prop up a convention center that failed to meet forecasts. At one point, as much as $10 million a year was lost on the Oregon Convention Center by the city. Throughout the process the hotel has been criticized by many voices including an outside Metro consultant Piper Jeffray. When Portland helped use government resources to help build the Nines hotel. This luxury hotel cut rates and damaged other downtown hotels who were not receiving government help. The problem of the Nines hotel making good on their promises and payments was a problem for many years. Continue reading
By Steve Buckstein and Patrick M. Gleason
If Congress doesn’t act by the end of this month, when payment cuts to Medicare providers are scheduled to hit, there will be a major health care crisis. Topping the to-do list is addressing urgent problems with Medicare, the most costly federal program and the largest driver of national debt. Failure to act would have harsh ramifications for seniors and caregivers in Oregon.
The first step is to address accounting gimmicks that hide Medicare’s true cost and its effect on federal debt in the years ahead. The program operates under a phony spending baseline that conceals its true cost.
How did this come about? In 1997, Congress instituted a new spending formula, the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). It would institute physician reimbursement rate cuts in order to ensure that Medicare spending did not exceed the rate of economic growth. Noble goal, except that’s not what happened. Continue reading
Will Minimum Wage, corporate tax be on 2016 ballot?
By Taxpayer Association of Oregon
One of the Capitol rumors among State Lawmakers in Salem is that the highly controversial $15 minimum wage bill (HB 2500) may be referred out to the voters for the 2016 election. In addition to a minimum wage increase there could also be a corporate tax increase. Putting such measures on the ballot is not uncommon. Already a $15 minimum wage ballot measure has been drafted for the 2016 ballot. The measure is sponsored by Local 503 SEIU. Also several business tax measures have been submitted for the 2016 ballot including a measure to increase the corporate minimum tax and another to increase income taxes on higher wage earners (over $125,000).
The strategy may be to deflect the pain of voting on such anti-business measures from the lawmakers to the voters as well as putting something on the ballot to increase voter turn-out in a key Presidential election and unusual governor election. Referring the measures to voters would save government unions from having to spend any money or time getting the measures to the ballot. Continue reading