Budgetary games loom on the horizon in Oregon

Sen Doug Whitsett

by Sen. Doug Whitsett

Last week, Governor Brown released her recommended budget for the upcoming 2017-19 biennium. During a press conference held at her ceremonial office at the state capitol in Salem, Brown made remarks outlining her budget priorities.

She described her priorities as “cradle to career” education, improving the state’s consistently dismal high school graduation rate, expanding health care coverage, investing in transportation, improving access to affordable housing, clean air and water and safe communities.

While those seemingly lofty goals are admirable, the governor’s recommended budget clearly shows they are unaffordable as presented. The proposals would cost about $1.7 billion more than the state has to spend. Her rhetoric undoubtedly sets the stage for many months of pleas for tax increases. Those appeals are certain to dominate the upcoming 2017 legislative session. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:44 | Posted in Gov. Kate Brown, State Budget, State Taxes | Leave a comment

Gov. Kate Brown refuses to address PERS crisis

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Oregon Senate Republicans

SALEM – Gov. Kate Brown threw ice-cold water on the idea of addressing Oregon’s critical pension crisis at the annual Oregon Leadership Summit, which has met since 2002 to facilitate honest and collaborative conversations.

Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, released the following statement: “I’m disappointed the governor rejects all engagement efforts on PERS reform. Governor Brown and Legislative Leaders have a moral obligation to cut skyrocketing PERS costs that are destroying our ability to fund schools, health care, mental health and other services needed by seniors and veterans. We also have an obligation to current and future retirees to manage PERS for long-term sustainability. Failure to reduce runaway PERS costs today may threaten Oregon’s bond rating and could ultimately cause PERS to be declared insolvent.” Continue reading

Posted by at 05:43 | Posted in Education, Gov. Kate Brown, PERS, Public Employees Retirement System | Leave a comment

Pursuing the Clintons

Right From the Start

Right From the Start

One of my favorite movies is The Sheepman starring Glenn Ford.  It is the story of Jason Sweet (Glenn Ford) who won a herd of sheep in a poker game and was bound and determined to graze the sheep on the open ranges of what was then cattle country.  (It is a loose take on the famed Johnson County War.)  The story begins when Sweet rides into town and asks one of the locals who is the toughest man in town.  He is pointed to a bar where he confronts Jumbo McCall (Mickey Shaughnessy) and goads him into a fight.  Sweet’s reasoning is that if he beats the toughest guy in town – and he does – he will have a lot less trouble from others when he brings the sheep into town.  I think of this movie every time I hear President-elect Donald Trump talk about “draining the swamp” in Washington, D.C. and more so now that he has waffled on pursuing an investigation into former rival Hillary Clinton (D).

Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in 2016 Presidential Election, Corruption, Crime & Sentencing, Crony capitalism, Donald Trump, Ethics, Government corruption, Hillary Clinton, IRS Scandal, Preident Bill Clinton, President Obama | Leave a comment

Rep. Mike McLane: Oregon’s unsustainable rate of spending

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Rep. Mike McLane

Statement from House Republican Leader Mike McLane regarding Governor Brown’s proposed budget

Salem, Ore. – House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) issued the following statement regarding Governor Kate Brown’s proposed budget:

“My disappointment with regards to the state of our budget is matched only by the frustration of knowing that this situation was entirely preventable to begin with. We have known for years that Oregon was on an unsustainable fiscal path, yet our leaders continued to operate as if the bill would never come due. Well, it’s here, and despite record revenues and despite what has been described as a roaring state economy, we are being told we don’t have enough tax revenue to cover the tab. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Gov. Kate Brown, Oregon House, State Budget | Leave a comment

How Much Is the Elliott State Forest Worth to Oregon Schools? (Don’t Forget the Value of Compounding)

CascadeNewLogoBy John A. Charles, Jr.

Advocates of public schools frequently complain about the need for more money, yet many of them are now objecting that the State Land Board is on the verge of selling off the Elliott State Forest, which is an endowment asset for public schools.

The fact is, the Land Board is required by the Oregon Constitution to maximize revenue from the Elliott. The sale has to go forward because timber management is no longer profitable. But the Board should insist on competitive bids, which it is currently prohibiting. The Board should also remove all restrictions on future timber harvesting.

If the Elliott were sold in a competitive auction, it would likely go for $350 million or more. Let’s assume that the proceeds were invested in a manner similar to the PERS fund and had average annual returns of 7.5%, which is the target rate for PERS. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Education, Environment, Oregon Government, Political Correctness, Rural Oregon, State Budget, State Government, Timber | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Resist the tyranny of censorship

Sen Doug Whitsett

by Sen. Doug Whitsett

Political discourse before, during and following the recent elections seems to have been more divisive than usual. The rhetoric has often been inaccurate, sometimes intentionally misleading, or otherwise just plain malicious.

During the past several months, such dialogue was commonly employed at the national, state and local levels. Citizens have protested in the streets carrying acrimonious signage and chanting slogans that many find offensive.

Some of those demonstrations turned violent and resulted in personal injuries and significant damage to private property. Those responsible for injuries and property damage should be held responsible.

Many continue to express their outrage. They allege feeling upset, hurt, offended, or suffering personal insult by seeing, hearing or reading passionately expressed diverse political opinion. Continue reading

Posted by at 06:20 | Posted in 1st Amendment | Leave a comment

Rep. Mike McLane on the passing of former Attorney General Hardy Myers

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Salem, Ore. – House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) issued the following statement yesterday regarding the passing of former Oregon House Speaker and Attorney General Hardy Myers:

“As Speaker of the House and as Oregon’s Attorney General, Hardy Myers served our state with great dignity and class. He will be remembered as one of the most distinguished and well respected Attorney Generals of our time. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Myers family today.”

Posted by at 05:27 | Posted in Oregon Attorney General, Oregon House, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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