by Cascade Policy Institute Thursday, March 26. 2015
By Steve Buckstein
This Saturday you’ll have the opportunity to vote with your light switches. Either turn your lights off from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm local time to “show your commitment to climate change action now” or turn your lights on to celebrate “human progress and our advancements in various fields of industry, including technology, medical, energy, and more.”
Oregon State Senator Alan Olsen’s SB 435 would eliminate anonymous mystery bill amendments by requiring amendments to identify the state Legislator who proposed it. Anonymous legislation passing through the Legislature only reinforces the back-room deals aura of Salem and has the effect of shutting out the public who wish to know more, not less of their Democracy. The most controversial bill of the Session, the Low Carbon SB 324 (also referred to as a hidden gas tax)was amended in a surprise gut-n-stuff by an anonymous amendment. No one knows who the author is. Furthermore, without knowing who the amendment author means the public has no one to direct questions towards. There is no way to find the full intent or background behind an amendment that can such drastically change a piece of Legislation. It gets even worse when even the committee chair does not know the origin. At that point the process becomes unfriendly to all participants. Continue reading →
The latest government overreach – brought to you by the friendly thugs at the Bureau of Labor and Industries
When I think of tyranny, I think of guys with three-cornered hats and muskets and a mean old King in England. I need to have less faith that we’ve moved beyond some of these problems in modern times. Tyranny still exists and walks among us.
There are about 40,000 state workers in Oregon. Around 800 of those state employees work for the Department of Administrative Services (DAS). Some of those DAS employees demonstrated extraordinary courage and principles earlier this year during the closing weeks of Gov. Kitzhaber’s administration.
Rather than being praised or encouraged, though, they continue to be the subjects of breathtaking retribution. Retribution that began just hours into Gov. Kate Brown’s administration and retribution that is ongoing. Retribution that communicates very loudly and clearly to state workers that if they are tempted to be whistleblowers or to question orders that may be illegal, they will face extreme retribution, including criminal prosecution. Continue reading →
State Representative Gene Whisnant believes no tax dollar should go unnoticed — especially if it is a half billion education fund that lacks the basic tenants of transparency. A total of $569 million of the school fund gets directed to a special fund for the Children for Low income Families program and for English Language Learners (ELL) also known as English as a Second Language (ESL). Currently, there is no accountability on how the money is spent. Representative Whisnant has authored HB 2967 & HB 2968 which would require school districts to publish an annual report on the details of the funds received, funds spent and require measurable outcomes of the program. Continue reading →
by Cascade Policy Institute Monday, March 23. 2015
By John A. Charles, Jr.
During the 2003 session of the Oregon State Legislature, TriMet sought an increase in the regional payroll tax rate. In public testimony, TriMet General Manager Fred Hansen said, “TriMet’s proposed payroll tax increase will be used exclusively to provide new or enhanced transit service.”
The legislature approved TriMet’s request, and the payroll tax rate went up every January for ten straight years. By the end of 2014, TriMet had received $34.4 million in new payroll tax revenues attributable to rate increases. Yet during that same decade, the miles of transit service offered to patrons actually dropped by 14%, while the hours of service declined by 5%. Continue reading →