Governor Brown Wants Oregonians to “Take One for the Global Team” over CO2

By John A. Charles, Jr.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has announced her intention to pass legislation in the short session of 2018 to place a regulatory limit on emissions of carbon dioxide by large industrial sources. Once a company exceeds the annual limit, it will have to purchase allowances for additional emissions.

Proponents estimate that the regulations will cost businesses $1.4 billion per biennium. These costs will be passed on to consumers.

Such regulations might be appropriate if there were known environmental or health benefits to reducing carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, such a clear link does not exist. Not only are benefits speculative, but they are global in nature and very long term—possibly centuries in the future. Continue reading

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

Voter Fraud Cases Referred for Criminal Prosecution

Secretary of State Dennis Richardson

As Oregon’s chief election officer, my core mission is to maximize voter participation and access, while ensuring election integrity.

My office is utilizing new technological tools that will improve election integrity. Through complex data matching techniques, the Elections Division identified 46 voters in the November 8, 2016 election who appear to have cast ballots in both Oregon and another state. Also identified, were ballots submitted under the names of six deceased Oregon voters and two registered Oregon voters who each cast two ballots in Oregon. Continue reading

Posted by at 12:31 | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The Game Theory of deterring fare evasion on light rail

As I’ve mentioned before, if TriMet builds more light rail capacity, fare evasion will become a greater problem. Buses have a built-in fare inspector as the driver adds little additional marginal cost for inspecting passengers’ fare compliance. MAX however, does not.

Light rail requires additional labor to enforce payment. In game theory, this is a situation where a pure strategy does not exist. That is to say, there does not exist one optimal strategy for TriMet to consistently follow, given the two pure strategies of inspecting every train or not inspecting any trains. The Nash Equilibrium in this case will be a mixed strategy.

Sometimes TriMet should be inspecting fares, and other times it should not, because, at around $40 an hour, TriMet’s fare inspectors are too expensive to check every trip. TriMet would lose more money from labor costs than lost passenger revenue. However, if TriMet never inspected fares, the lost revenue would eventually exceed the cost of paying for some deterrence. The optimal mixed strategy would entail a rate of inspection such that the labor costs remain less than the increased revenue. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Public Transportation, TriMet | Tagged | 2 Comments

$20 Trillion: Not With a Bang But a Whimper

Last week after President Trump signed a bipartisan agreement to increase the debt ceiling for three months the United States National Debt broke $20 Trillion dollars.  So the long time bipartisan tradition of not tackling our government spending problem continues.  While many a deficit hawk would consider this milestone to be unacceptable, it seems that both political parties have reached some mutual agreement to just stop worrying about debt and deficits.  It seems all of us are taking to heart the words of the great Ronald Reagan when he joked “I’m not worried about the deficit — it’s big enough to take care of itself.” Continue reading

Posted by at 03:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New initiative clarifies state Constitution on tax, fee increases

Coalition of Oregon business and grassroots groups address abuse of three-fifths requirement on revenue raising legislation

PORTLAND, Ore., Sept. 13, 2017 – While Oregon’s Constitution requires a three-fifths vote of the legislature to enact legislation that raises state revenue, legislators and their lawyers have found creative ways around the mandate in recent years. A coalition of small businesses and grassroots groups filed an initiative today making it harder for politicians to sidestep the requirement. Continue reading

Posted by at 01:38 | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The Least Authentic Politician of Our Time

Right From the Start

I was just gobsmacked, wiped out.”

Former Democrat Presidential Nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton

Shortly after I returned to Oregon to become the state vice president for the telephone company (lo those many years ago) we won a significant legal victory in the state district court. I had absolutely nothing to do with it given that the case began and was fully submitted prior to my return. At the next officers meeting of the company, the chief executive officer (CEO) congratulated me on the win. I demurred noting I had nothing to do with the matter except be there to receive the result. The CEO told me to accept the congratulations because had it gone the other way I would have been assigned the blame. It is what is known as “positional responsibility.” Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in 2016 Presidential Election, Benghazi, Bernie Sanders, Corruption, Ethics, Hillary Clinton, Media Bais, President Donald Trump | 2 Comments

Rock album foretell Gorge fire?

Random thoughts: Gorge fire, album cover, punishments for offenders.
By Jason Williams
Taxpayer Association of Oregon

Upon hiking the Gorge’s Eagle Creek a few months ago, I came upon hikers who shared the tale that Eagle Creek’s Punch Bowl Falls was featured in an album for the rock band Styx. The image comes from what appears in the backside or inner fold-out (as there were multiple album versions) of the Styx’s second album entitled Styx 2 released in 1973.  Styx likely featured this Punch Bowl photo to parallel the Greek mythology behind their band name that Styx which refers to the river of Hades. Hence the albums hellish flaming atmosphere.  This tree-less fiery barren landscape may be tragically what it looks like now. I hope not.

There has been a lot of discussion on the fate of the teens who started the fire.

Continue reading

Posted by at 09:29 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Oregon’s New Health Care Taxes Are Unjustifiable

By Lydia White

Soon after the Oregon Legislature passed a bill last summer which was expected to generate $550 million of tax revenue to help pay for Medicaid, the state found that nearly 45% of all Medicaid recipients are currently ineligible to receive health care benefits.

The new law imposes a sales tax on health insurance premiums and hospital revenue that will be borne by Oregonians. For example, 217,000 people in the individual market and over 11,000 college students who buy their own health insurance are among the hundreds of thousands of Oregonians who will pay. Local Oregon school districts will pay some $25 million and community colleges will likely be forced to raise tuition costs, all because of these new taxes.

If the state hadn’t awarded Medicaid benefits to over 37,000 unqualified people, costing $191,000,000, wasted over $300,000,000 on the failed Cover Oregon insurance exchange website, or spent an additional $166,700,000 on another failed IT system, even proponents of these new sales taxes would have had a hard time justifying them. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Remember 9/11: Final phone message

By Jason Williams
Taxpayer Association of Oregon

In remembrance of 9/11 today, I leave behind this meme I found of the last words of 9/11 victim, Brian Sweeney, who was a passenger on United Airlines Flight 175.  This is his voice message he left for his wife and 18 month old child.  Let us remember and continue in the vigilance to fight terrorism.

Here is a text of his final message… Continue reading

Posted by at 04:55 | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Holding the President’s beer in Korea

When the Trump administration was seriously moving toward abrogating the excellent trade agreement the Bush administration negotiated with Korea, it was the policy equivalent of that common meme refrain: “hold my beer,” as if he were trying to top past policy blunders. For a president that doesn’t drink, it’s remarkable how few sober ideas come out of his oval office. If now seemed like a good time to cut off our mutually beneficial trade ties with South Korea, imagine how that bad judgment would be made worse with inebriation. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Free Trade | Tagged | 7 Comments

Rep. Knute Buehler: PERS crisis hurts our schools

By State Representative Knute Buehler

This month, Oregon students and teachers begin returning to one of the better funded public education systems in the country. The National Education Association, the largest teacher’s union, estimates Oregon’s spending per student in 2017 to be $12,161, which ranks 18th in the country and is above the U.S. average.

This should be good news, but unfortunately it’s not. Continue reading

Posted by at 02:54 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

DACA: What Are We Even Fighting About?

Regardless of how you feel about President Obama’s 2012 policy Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, better known as DACA, it in all likelihood would be struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional.

Earlier today President Trump Tweeted:

Before that the President Tweeted:

So while Republicans and Democrats have to do the WWE routine of putting up a fake fight for the audience, at the end of the day it doesn’t appear that many actually disagree on the ultimate outcome, and the roll back of the program in its current form would likely have been inevitable regardless of actions taken by the Trump administration.

Prior to President Trump taking up the issue of DACA, Texas along with a number of other states were in the process of suing the federal government over the program. Because of the Trump administration’s recent actions, the Attorney General of Texas announced that they would be dropping that lawsuit. Had that lawsuit been allowed to move forward, it is quite likely that DACA would have been struck down on constitutional grounds.

The main indicator of how the Supreme Court would vote on the issue of DACA is the ruling from the United States v. Texas case where The Court was asked to weigh in on DAPA or Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents which was essentially a program designed to protect the parents of those folks covered under DACA. Lower courts issued preliminary injunctions blocking the DAPA program which went on to be affirmed by an equally divided Supreme Court. With Neil Gorsuch sitting on the bench and a Trump administration that would be unlikely to put up much of a fight defending the program in court, much like how the Obama Administration refused to put up a fight for the Defense of Marriage Act, I would have been very surprised to see DACA withstand a constitutional challenge at the Supreme Court.

Oregon with a number of other blue states have already filed lawsuits against the Trump administration for rescinding DACA, but this seems to be more of a political stunt than anything. The case seems to rely heavily on implying that President Trump’s motivation for scaling back DACA is primarily driven by racial animus towards people from Mexico. The state AGs wrote:

“As President Trump’s statements about Mexico and those with Mexican roots show, the President has demonstrated a willingness to disparage Mexicans in a misguided attempt to secure support from his constituency, even when such impulses are impermissible motives for directing governmental policy,”

All that being said, now it seems like the fate of DACA will be decided in the halls of congress. With the President’s latest tweets it seems like he is signaling that he would be willing to sign some form of a bill that would enshrine DACA into law. Democrat’s support for the program seems to be almost monolithic and quite a few Republicans appear to be willing to support the program if it goes through the legislative process. So what are we all really fighting about here? With this latest compromise regarding the debt ceiling President Trump has shown a willingness to work across the aisle with Democrats at times, so why not on this?

At the end of the day, I don’t believe a large portion of the American population, including President Trump, want to see the mass deportation of those protected under DACA. Maybe Jeff Session, Stephen Miller, and other immigration hardliners around Trump would be okay with that, but lately, President Trump has seemed more in step with the “Jared and Ivanka” faction of his White House than with the formerly named “Steve Bannon” Populist faction anyway. With a court decision looming over the future of the program kicking this fight to Congress where it belongs was not only inevitable but constitutionally proper. So let’s all keep our fingers crossed and hope that congress does its job and finds a solution.

So in the words of President Trump:

Posted by at 03:55 | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Congress: Hand Wringing vs. Resolving Problems

 

Congress has already demonstrated that it is incapable of resolving any complex issue. The Democrats, succumbing to the guile of former President Barack Obama, gave us Obamacare which has, as predicted, virtually destroyed healthcare coverage for the middle class. While the Republicans, preferring big talk to bold action, have failed to deliver on their seven year promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. And years of currying favor (by Democrats and Republicans alike) with Washington’s powerful lobby has resulted in a tax code that is so complex that taxpayers cannot even rely on the advice of agents of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in preparing their returns – that is not an exaggeration; that is an admonition from the IRS itself:

“It is unfortunately all too common for government manuals, handbooks, and in-house publications to contain statements that were not meant or are not wholly reliable. If they go counter to governing statutes and regulations of the highest or higher dignity, e.g. regulations published in the Federal Register, they do not bind the government, and persons relying on them do so at their peril.” (Caterpillar Tractor Co. v. United States)

So bad is the tax code that Congress long ago abandoned the purpose of the tax code – to raise the necessary revenue to fund the legitimate purposes of government – in favor of social engineering and picking the winners and losers in what should be a competitive marketplace. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Congress, Debt Ceiling, Federal Budget, Foreign Relations, Hurricane Harvey, North Korea, Obamacare, Preident Bill Clinton, President Donald Trump, President Obama, Tax Reform, Trump Derangement Syndrome | 2 Comments

Rep. Werner Reschke Urges Repeal Senate Bill 719

By Representative E. Werner Reschke

>> Visit www.repeal719.com for more details. <<

Our system of government is both unique and powerful with “We The People” being in charge. This is a captivating concept where the people in the United States of America consent to be governed. To bring this concept to the state level, when we dislike the way we are being governed—with unfair laws—there are various means to change the government to better serve us, through public protests, elections and voter referendums.

To this point, Senate Bill 719 was passed by the Oregon Legislature in the 2017 session and signed into law by the Governor. This new law fails all citizens by being in direct violation of the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution. SB 719 was originally well-intended to remove guns from the possession of someone who is mentally unstable, however it is unlawful and unconstitutional.

SB 719 calls for the forced confiscation of property (guns) by the police with no due process, no conviction of a crime and no accusation of a crime. It allows anyone, including strangers off the street, to make assessments and a case before a judge. It allows judges, with no mental health credentials, to render judgement on another person’s state of mind whom they have never met or spoken to. Furthermore, it actually forbids judges from considering assessments of the respondent’s mental health by people who actually do have mental health credentials. The law even goes so far to allow a judge to confiscate every firearm in a household because one person in the household has a past DUI conviction.

SB 719 declares guilty first—without due process—which is unconstitutional. Only after judgement is rendered, and guns are confiscated by police, is the person allowed the right to prove their innocence. This is completely opposite of how our country is supposed to work. Due process is built upon the concept of innocent until proven guilty. SB 719 reverses that foundational right. While the intent of the bill may be noble, in trying to prevent suicide, the actual results of this law are an insult to every American.

I ask you to join with me in repealing this unconstitutional Oregon law. My colleagues and I, in the House of Representatives, have started a petition to collect signatures to put SB 719 on the 2018 Ballot so “we the people” can vote on it. Help us repeal this new Oregon law, so government can serve us better by protecting our 2nd Ammendment right to bear arms, not take it away. I urge you to visit www.repeal719.com for more details.

Posted by at 09:03 | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Executive Club 9/6 — Unveiling Governments Bets Kept Secrets


How posting all public spending online is
uncovering government’s best kept secrets
By speaker Adam Andrzejewski,
Founder Open the books and Forbes writer

Wed. Sept 6th 7:00pm
Portland Airport Shilo Inn, 11707 NE Airport Way
Event is free – $20 dinner option available

Continue reading

Posted by at 08:57 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Time to Stop Forcing Union Membership

By Steve Buckstein and Kathryn Hickok

Everyone knows today is Labor Day, but did you know that August 20-26 was National Employee Freedom Week? National Employee Freedom Week is a national effort to inform union members about their freedom to opt out of union membership if they choose and to make decisions about labor representation and the use of their union dues. The effort “empowers union employees with information to make the decision about union membership that’s best for them, including identifying non-union alternatives that better suit their needs.” An interactive map at employeefreedomweek.com lets workers in Oregon and other states find links to information helpful to those wanting more employee freedom. More than 100 organizations across the country, including Cascade Policy Institute in Portland, are affiliated with the annual campaign. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

The South Fork Forest Camp saves Oregon money

Oregon is burning. Standing between you and the heat are many highly dedicated people fighting these fires, among them are an elite group from the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) called Forest Inmate Crew Coordinators (FICCs).

When I say elite, that’s not because these men commonly get the recognition they deserve. It’s because real data supports the use of that word. Last year, I was hired to do a cost/benefit analysis of the use of prison inmate labor at the South Fork Forest Camp. ODF records data from its assessment of the contracted crews it has hired to fight wildland fires.

We applied the same methodology to South Fork crews for a comparison. When it comes to fighting forest fires in the State of Oregon, South Fork is second to none. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Corrections, State Government, Timber | Tagged | 2 Comments

Exec-Club 9/6 — Unveiling Governments Best Kept Secrets

How posting all public spending online is uncovering government’s best kept secrets
 By speaker Adam Andrzejewski,
Founder Open the books and Forbes writer

Wed. Sept 6th 7:00pm
Portland Airport Shilo Inn, 11707 NE Airport Way
Event is free – $20 dinner option available

Continue reading

Posted by at 11:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Oregon Takes a Big Step to Battle Opioid Overdoses

By Steve Buckstein

For a variety of reasons, many Americans are becoming addicted to both legal and illegal opioid drugs, risking overdose and death.

Oregon just made it easier for friends and family members of those at risk to save their lives by administering what is known as the “overdose drug” naloxone. It “counteracts the potentially lethal effects of heroin, oxycodone and other abused narcotics.” It has become relatively easy to use in the form of a nasal mist and does not require a physician prescription.

Passed overwhelmingly in both the Oregon House and Senate, House Bill 3440 was signed into law by the Governor last week. Among other provisions, the law shields persons “acting in good faith, if the act does not constitute wanton misconduct” from “civil liability for any act or omission of an act committed during the course of distributing and administering naloxone….” Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Kicker Envy, Reprise

By Steve Buckstein

In May we told you about the income tax refund Oregon taxpayers may receive when you file your state income tax return in 2018. State economists now confirm that those refunds will be credited against your tax bill next year. Based on a percentage of the taxes you paid in 2016, they estimate the average refund will be about $227 while the median will be about $89.

Continue reading

Posted by at 04:55 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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