Oregon among the broadband boondoggles

By Taxpayer Association of Oregon,

As many probably remember, the Taxpayer Association of Oregon was instrumental in defeating a proposal by the City of Lake Oswego to put taxpayers on the hook for $32 million fiber optic network. Government-owned broadband networks have proven a disaster for taxpayers in communities across America. Continue reading

Posted by at 07:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Filibuster and Its Abuse by Senate Slackers

Right From the Start

The “filibuster” is the least understood and most abused parliamentary maneuver in the United States Senate.  It has a rich historical pedigree that dates back to ancient Rome where Cato the Younger, a Roman senator, was said to have used it to resist the emperor, Julius Caesar.  Sen. John Calhoun D-SC first introduced it in the United States Senate in 1841.  It is famously depicted in the Jimmy Stewart movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.  The filibuster was used notably by Democrats to resist abolition of slavery and thereafter to resist the Civil Rights Act.

Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Filibuster, Government Abuse, Leadership, U.S. Senate | Leave a comment

Lawmakers’ double property tax!

By Taxpayer Association of Oregon,

Among the first bills introduced this year is HJR 1 which raises two different property taxes on your property! Continue reading

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

Gov. Kate Brown’s transparency pledges clouded by how she governs

Jayne Carroll, Host
Jayne Carroll Show, KUIK AM 1360,
M-F 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Portland, Oregon Metropolitan area

Is “transparency” just the latest evasive “shell game” being played by Oregon Governor Kate Brown to mask her slight of hand and persistent delays in adhering to a potentially embarrassing public information request from Oregon Capital Watch, a government spending watchdog group?

Brown, who became Oregon’s governor in 2015 when her fellow Democrat John Kitzhaber was forced to resign due to allegations of influence peddling, openly blasted Kitzhaber in the Oregonian for being slow to respond to open record laws. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:05 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Life in a post Trump election world

By Dan Lucas

I was not a supporter of Donald Trump in the Republican primaries, and I had enough misgivings about him that I didn’t vote for him in the general election. I would have voted for him if I lived in a battleground state, but I don’t – I live in deep blue Oregon.

Despite that, when it began to look like he’d win on election night I was as excited as if my team was winning the Super Bowl! Now in fairness, I can only imagine what that feels like, since I’m a Minnesota Vikings fan. Continue reading

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Forbes: Oregon Gov. Kate Brown And AG Ellen Rosenblum Blaze The Oregon Trail Of Political Patronage

By Reagan Knopp

Adam Andrzejewski, writing for Forbes:

Our analysis at American Transparency (OpenTheBooks.com) found 207 state contractors gave $805,876 in campaign cash to Governor Kate Brown ($518,203) and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum ($287,673) since 2012. These businesses hold lifetime state contracts worth at least $2.6 billion. State contractor donations to the governor and attorney general represent 57 percent of current cash on hand in their campaign committees.

It’s difficult to underscore a conflict of interest of this magnitude.

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

Oregon tax revenue growing 2x other states

By Taxpayer Association of Oregon Foundation,

Governor Kate Brown and some lawmakers say the State of Oregon is facing a $1.7 billion budget shortfall in the 2017-19 biennium. Yet, this shortfall is in the face of all-time high tax money coming in to state government.

Research published by the Pew Charitable Trusts finds that Oregon has seen the some of the fastest growth in tax revenues since the end of the Great Recession. Continue reading

Posted by at 07:46 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Oregon Leaders Must Reject ACA’s Medicaid Expansion

By Eric Fruits, Ph.D.

Despite an eight percent increase in general fund revenues, Governor Kate Brown and some lawmakers say the State of Oregon is facing a $1.7 billion budget shortfall in the 2017-19 biennium. In her inaugural address, the governor blames more than $1 billion of the shortfall on the state’s choice to expand Medicaid and other taxpayer-funded insurance. The Census Bureau estimates that about one in four Oregonians are in the state’s Medicaid program.

In addition to the expansion provided by the Affordable Care Act, the governor seeks new state money to expand single-payer public insurance to those who are not “lawfully present” in the United States, under a program called Cover All Kids.

Although the federal government pays a large portion of the costs of Medicaid expansion, the state’s share of the costs is growing under the ACA. The huge costs of Medicaid mean even a small increase in Oregon’s share has big impacts on the state’s budget. State Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, incoming co-chair of the Ways and Means Committee for Human Services indicates that about one-third of the deficit at the Oregon Health Authority comes from what she called a “minuscule” reduction in the federal match. This deficit is certain to grow as federal support for expansion shrinks over time, as outlined in the ACA. Continue reading

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Senator Jeff Kruse: Week Two in the Oregon Legislature

Note from the editor: The following is a republishing of the email newsletter sent by Oregon State Senator Jeff Kruse. You can sign up for his newsletter on his legislative website.

By Senator Jeff Kruse

This was a week without a whole lot of significant activity, but with a lot of posturing. First I want to say that I have known Governor Kate Brown for 20 years and I consider her a friend. We have done tremendous work together over the years, especially in the area of our foster care system. But there are also many areas where we disagree, which is how this process is supposed to work. My comments this week aren’t pointed just at her, but at the entire leadership here in Salem.

When she took office Governor Brown said her administration would be the most transparent ever. We heard similar claims from House and Senate leadership. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

First example: At the end of last week House Speaker Kotek and Senate President Courtney issued a press release stating that they held secret talks between business and labor interest groups. While nobody was supposed to know who was in the meeting, we were able to find the list and it was not a fair representation of business in Oregon or Oregon itself. Those meetings are still going on and at this point no Republicans have been invited to attend. In fact, all attendees are from Portland. One can assume the only reason for these meetings is to try and build support for some form of tax increases.

Meanwhile, as we face a so-called budget crisis, the Governor gave state union workers a 6% pay increase. This is, of course, on top of their COLA’s and step increases that happen as a matter of course. When you add that to the fact we may do nothing about PERS reform they have added over $500,000,000 to the cost of government. The issue here is the fact that the negotiations between the executive branch and the unions happen behind locked doors with no input from either the public or the Legislative Assembly. We are just told the results and then asked to pay the bill. Once again, there is no “transparency” in this process. I have offered legislation to help with this problem. My bill would require all negotiations between the executive branch and the public employee unions to be subject to public meetings laws. I think it is only fair that the people, who have to pay the bill through taxes, know how the process works. I think this speaks to the type of “transparency” the Governor was talking about, but I really don’t think the majority party will even give the bill a hearing let alone pass it.

Another area with a complete lack of real transparency is the budget process. The Governor came out with her budget, which she is required to do, but like all other Governor’s budgets I have seen it doesn’t even give us a good starting point. The real budget we work from is the one put out by the co-chairs of the Ways and Means Committee. Historically, they have waited until the budget subcommittees have had a chance to work on some of the major issues and we have had the first revenue projection for the year. However, this time they had a budget ready to go before we even started. The real reason is to attempt to drive for more tax increases. In fact, they are starting hearings around the state today with a hearing in Salem and one tomorrow in Portland. They will continue with Friday/Saturday hearings around the state for the next few weeks. This is all political with only one objective: massive tax increases on you and your loved ones.

They continue to talk about the “fact” we have a 1.7-billion-dollar deficit. They neglect to mention the fact we have 1.3 billion dollars more to spend. They also fail to mention the fact state spending is out of control. The fact is the state budget has grown by 40% over the last eight years. Rather than try to reign in this out of control spending cycle they want to expand it. I would suggest that because a large amount of Democrat’s campaign funds come from the public employee unions they have become more important to the majority party than the working people of Oregon who are forced to pay the bills.

We do face some significant challenges this Session, but it also provides us with tremendous opportunity to enact significant changes in the way government functions. First, we need to adequately fund education so it does not once again get trapped in the end of Session negotiations. We also need a real transportation package that benefits the whole state and only Oregon. Third, we need to do something to roll in the costs of the PERS system. And finally we need to have a balanced budget that solely deals with the State’s actual responsibilities to the people. Republicans stand ready to help; we just need to be invited to the table.

Posted by at 07:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Top Democrat Says Coffee Tax Unlikely to Move Forward

By Reagan Knopp

After being public for one day, the tax on coffee may already be dead. Willamette Week is reporting that Representative Phil Barnhart (D-Eugene) — Chair of the House Committee on Revenue — has said that a bill taxing coffee beans and ground coffee at five cents per pound (House Bill 2875) is unlikely to move forward. He did not specifically comment on the outpouring of negative feedback on social media was related.

The 79th Oregon Legislative Assembly is Constitutionally required to end their regular session on July 10th. Barnhart and Democrats on the committee could still decide to move the bill anytime before the legislature concludes their session.

Reagan Knopp is the Editor-in-Cheif of Oregon Catalyst.

Posted by at 02:18 | Posted in OR 79th Legislative Session, Taxes, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Do you remember Amerika?


By Eric Shierman

Thirty years ago ABC aired a provocative miniseries titled “Amerika” about a Soviet takeover of the United States. I watched it with my parents including ABC News’ panel discussions that followed every episode – heady stuff for a 7th grader. I was just starting to follow politics, as were my parents.

The entire set of 13 movies is now available to watch on YouTube for free. Here’s the first episode:

Continue reading

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The Trump Resistance Olympics

By Jacob Vandever

In recent days it seems that our beloved elected official is in a competition of sorts to see who can oppose President Trump the most. So let’s take a look at the participants and see if we can predict who will take home the gold in the “Resistance Olympics”.

Senator Merkley currently advertises on his Facebook page for folks to “Join the Resistance” against President Trump. The good Senator has voted against five out of the seven cabinet nominees who have gone before the full Senate. That includes voting against Elaine Chao for Transportation Secretary. Chao was the first Asian-American woman to be appointed to the President’s cabinet when she served as Secretary of Labor under President George W Bush. Prior to that Chao served as the Deputy Secretary of Transportation under George H W Bush, but apparently, those qualifications weren’t good enough for Senator Merkley and his “resistance”. Senator Gillibrand from New York is the only person who has voted against more nominees than our dear Senator. Additionally, before President Trump even announced his nominee to the Supreme Court, Senator Merkley pledged to Filibuster that appointment. Continue reading

Posted by at 10:13 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The True Test of Tolerance

By Betsy Shultz

The rancor of politics is not new to me – given that I engage in politics and policy as a profession, I am constantly surrounded by passionate people believing radically different things. Sometimes I help my clients win, sometimes we collectively endure the sting of loss, yet nothing has prepared me for the intense emotions searing across our communities over the past few weeks.

Since our country’s inception, discussing political opinions has been a trademark of ours. The arrival of social media however, has added a layer of perceived safety allowing a level of vitriol in political debate hardly matched in history. My social media feeds have exploded in recent days, with friends I would usually describe as intelligent, tolerant people becoming unhinged in their effort to express not just their opinion – their complete disdain for the opinions of others.

Continue reading

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

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