Will the PUC Make Oregon’s Solar Energy Incentives Equitable?

CascadeNewLogoBy Lydia White

In accordance with House Bill 2941, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is making recommendations to the Oregon State Legislature to ensure Oregon’s solar energy incentives are equitable, efficient, and effective.

One recommendation is to modify the compensation method for solar energy, net metering. Under net metering, solar owners consume energy their panels produce. When energy produced is insufficient, solar owners purchase additional energy from traditional sources. When excess energy is produced, solar owners sell energy. Solar owners are compensated at above-market rates and are exempt from paying their portion of incurred costs. Such costs include operation and maintenance of the grid and “spinning reserves,” the alternative power source utility companies run continuously in case solar produces less energy than projected. The state’s incentive structure shifts costs from solar owners to non-solar ratepayers. As the number of solar owners increases, ratepayers bear higher costs. The PUC is recommending these costs instead be shifted to taxpayers. While the PUC proposal’s efforts to alleviate inequity are commendable, their proposed recommendations still constrain Oregonians. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Economy, Energy, Environment, Green Energy, Portland | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The latest from Oregon Legislative Days

Sen Doug Whitsett

by Sen. Doug Whitsett

State legislators were in Salem this week to attend committee meetings during Legislative Days. Representative Gail Whitsett participated in her five assigned committees while I participated in my four assigned committees, as well as the Senate floor session to confirm Governor Brown’s appointments.

ODFW Budget

My first meeting took place with the Joint Interim Task Force on Funding for Fish, Wildlife and Related Outdoor Recreation and Education which convened on Friday, September 16. The Task force is attempting to establish a new and stable source of revenue to fund an $80 million per biennium increase in Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) budgets. During that meeting, Task Force members discussed the outreach its members are doing with stakeholders, who deal regularly with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, to explain the proposed budget increase of more than 20 percent. We also worked on defining key questions and decision points for the task force, developing the group’s next steps and identifying its key messages. My personal opinion is that ODFW must undergo significant consolidation and prioritization of its myriad programs, and must continue its efforts to deal with inefficiencies and program duplication before the legislature should even consider additional funding for the agency. Continue reading

Posted by at 08:44 | Posted in Green Energy, Oregon House, Oregon Senate, State Budget, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jeff Gudman for State Treasurer — a Democrat supports a Republican


by Ronald A. Buel

Jeff Gudman is running against Tobias Read (Democrat) and Chris Telfer (Independent) for the Position of State Treasurer. Why would a long-time Democratic activist like me be supporting a Republican for this office? I am sure that Tobias Read agrees with more of my own policy positions than does Jeff Gudman, for example.

But State Treasurer is not your typical partisan office, nor is it a typical stepping-stone to Governor (such as Secretary of State, for example). In fact, Gudman openly declares that he is not going to run for Governor at any time — he wants only to be Treasurer — or I wouldn’t be supporting him.

Simply put, Gudman is more qualified to be Treasurer than Tobias Read. He is currently the Treasurer of the Legacy Emanuel Foundation, and he has held the Treasurer positions for Hyster and for subsidiaries of Northwest Natural Gas. He is a graduate of Wharton School of Economics and holds an MBA in finance and business from that school. He serves as a City Councilor in Lake Oswego, where he is a leader on matters of budget and finance. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in 2016 Election, Columbia River Crossing, State Treasurer | Leave a comment

Business community backs Knute Buehler for state representative

Dr Knute Buehler_thb

Knute Buehler for State Representative

Rep. Buehler works for policies that support small business, grow tech sector and strengthen education

A cross section of local business owners and business advocacy groups have announced their endorsement of Knute Buehler for state representative of Bend. This year Rep. Buehler has toured a broad range of local businesses from tech companies to manufacturers and craft distillers, where he’s heard consensus on the need to strengthen the state’s education system to improve Oregon’s economy, grow jobs, and increase wages.

“As I talk with local business owners about their challenges and opportunities, I consistently hear about the need for a well-educated workforce,” said Rep. Buehler. “That’s why I’ve worked across aisle to support increased funding for STEM education and am endorsing Measure 98 to combat Oregon’s high school drop-out rate. I’m proud to have the support of our local business community, and I’ll continue to work closely with them so I can represent their interests in Salem.” Continue reading

Posted by at 05:38 | Posted in 2016 Election, Oregon House | Leave a comment

Unemployment and the Federal Reserve Board

Right From the Start

Right From the Start

The Federal Reserve will meet Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. There is endless speculation about whether the Board will raise interest rates or delay a decision until its December meeting. Much of the speculation in the media this past week has been about the low “unemployment” numbers and the low inflation rate. The popular “wisdom” is that continued low unemployment numbers are likely to spur inflation – they haven’t yet. (For those of you who have suffered through a teachers union led K-12 education in the Portland Public Schools this means that if there is low unemployment that there is greater competition for labor and that stirs wage increases which in turn stimulates inflation.)

There are a couple of problems with those assumptions. First, the figures used by the Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics and relied upon by the Federal Reserve do not actually represent the number or percentage of people unemployed. Rather it represents the number of people who have registered to receive welfare in the form of unemployment compensation. It does not include those who have given up looking for work, those who are working part time but are seeking full time employment, or those who have exhausted their unemployment compensation – those combined numbers are legion. It is bad enough that President Barack Obama seeks to mislead us as to the status of economic recovery by citing those unemployment numbers, but to have the Federal Reserve citing those same numbers as evidence of “full employment” or as a “trigger” for inflation is just downright dangerous. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Election, Bush/Obama Recession, Donald Trump, Economy, Federal Budget, Federal Reserve, Hillary Clinton, President Obama | Leave a comment

More editorial boards support fair, constitutional PERS reform


Oregon Senate Republicans

In case you missed it

PERS ideas offer start for reform
Corvallis Gazette-Times Editorial Board
September 15, 2016

It would be an understatement to say that the Oregon Legislature has been unwilling to tackle any kind of serious reform regarding the state’s Public Employees Retirement System.

In fact, the party line, so to speak, has been something along these lines: “We tried in 2013, and we got slapped down by the state Supreme Court and now there’s nothing else that we can do.”

Some of that is true: Legislators did make an effort to rein in some of the rising costs of PERS, and the court did in fact rule that most of those efforts were unconstitutional. Continue reading

Posted by at 04:59 | Posted in PERS, Public Employees Retirement System | Leave a comment

Twenty-Five Years Litigating for Liberty

CascadeNewLogoBy Steve Buckstein

How many attorneys do you know who make their living defending liberty? Well, 43 attorneys work full-time at the national public interest law firm Institute for Justice. They protect school choice, economic liberty, the First Amendment, and private property. Supported by generous donors, the Institute for Justice never charges its clients.

Founded 25 years ago, the Institute for Justice has litigated over 200 cases, including five before the U.S. Supreme Court, where it won four times. The fifth case led to the infamous Kelo decision, where the Court unfortunately seemed to forget that private property cannot be taken through eminent domain for a “public purpose,” but only for a “public use.” Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in First Amendment, Government Abuse, Government Overreach, Leadership | Leave a comment

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