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It has recently come to our attention that Clatsop County commissioners are preparing to flush $12 million taxpayer dollars down the toilet.
In 2016, Linn County initiated a class-action lawsuit against the State of Oregon for breach of contract over Oregon’s Forest Trust Land. In addition to Linn County, class members include more than 150 Oregon counties and special districts that are beneficiaries of dedicated revenues from management of county forest trust lands. These revenues fund critical services provided by sheriff offices, libraries, education, care centers and other county services. Continue reading
–The unintended negative effects of raising minimum wage rates
By Randall Pozdena and Steve Buckstein
President-elect Donald Trump has nominated the CEO of one of the nation’s largest fast food chains to serve as U.S. Secretary of Labor. The food preparation and serving industry employs almost half of all minimum wage workers. It is thus widely assumed that the nominee would be unfriendly to minimum wage regulation. Efforts such as the union-financed Fight for 15 are seeking to raise the federal minimum wage in the food service industry to $15 per hour—a 52 percent increase over the $9.87 average pay rate in the industry today.
The spotlight has thus returned to the issue of minimum wage regulation, including the impact of recent Oregon legislation. SB 1532, passed in 2016, phases in a $14.75 minimum wage in the Portland metro area, and $13.50 and $12.50 respectively in other metro areas and rural areas, by 2022. The average annual increase over the prior (statewide) minimum wage would be 8.5, 6.6, and 5.0 percent respectively for these three tiers over the 2016-2022 phase-in period. As with the last major reform in 2002, the legislated minimum wages would be adjusted after that time by any increases in the CPI.
To put these events in perspective, Cascade Policy Institute has released a major, new analysis of the history, theory, and empirical impacts of minimum wage regulation. Continue reading
By Reagan Knopp
Lt. Gov.-elect Cyrus Habib is among five statewide elected officials set to take office in Washington next week. He also happens to be blind.
On Thursday, Habib tested out a newly-installed Braille system to help him preside over the state Senate. With IT staff and legislative aides, Habib used the new hardware to run through a mock Senate session.
At first, Habib thought a person would be assisting him on the floor. Instead, the Senate administration offered a tech upgrade.
The system will allow Habib to keep order and recognize senators when they wish to speak on the floor. Senate members will press buttons on their desks to notify the lieutenant governor through a high-tech Braille pad at his lectern.
I love it when technology makes politics and public policy more accessible. In this case, it’s made more accessible to an elected official who is blind. I find the whole thing incredibly cool.
By NW Spotlight
PORTLAND, OR. — At his first public appearance since his Oath of Office, Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson will officially welcome newly naturalized citizens and congratulate them on becoming Americans. The ceremony takes place on Friday, Jan. 6 at 2 p.m. at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services field office at 1455 NW Overton St., Portland.
“We are a nation of immigrants, and we must continue to celebrate the diversity that strengthens the fabric of our communities,” Richardson said. “Naturalized citizens honor and value their rights and responsibilities as American citizens. We ought to recognize the importance of all voices in our society.”
Other elected officials and community leaders will attend the event. This ceremony is open to the media. All press is requested to arrive at 1:45pm and all inquiries should be directed to Michael Calcagno, Communications Director for Secretary Richardson at 503–866–7124.
My how things have changed since I last wrote a piece for the Oregon Catalyst in 2013. I’ve been busy with graduate school for the past couple of years, and as I attended the Executive Club last Wednesday, I felt like Moses walking down from Mt. Sinai seeing his people worshipping a golden calf. In all its euphoria over our presidential transition, many on the right did not seem too worried about threats by the incoming administration to significantly jack up one of the most pernicious of taxes: tariffs. I’m deeply disturbed by the way Donald Trump seems to be turning Republicans against free market economics.
This is a nontrivial issue for Oregon. Our state’s prosperity stands deeply tied to global commerce.
Listening to any of Trump’s stump speeches during the campaign, it’s clear that he starts from the same factually mistaken premise that many uninformed Americans tend to hold, that we don’t make anything here anymore. The actual data shows the opposite is the case. Thanks to Ronald Reagan’s vision that allowed our economy to integrate itself with the rest of the world, a vision that our president-elect has long opposed, we are living in the golden age of American manufacturing.
By Jacob Vandever
1/6/17: This article has been updated to reflect the most recent available voter registration numbers.
I am really excited for my debut article here on Oregon Catalyst. For those of you who don’t know me let me briefly introduce myself. My name is Jacob Vandever, I grew up in rural eastern Oregon, attended school at Oregon State University in Corvallis, and have been involved with Oregon conservative politics in one form or another my entire adult life. If I have one goal in life, it is to make Oregon conservatives a competitive force again. So to kick off my first Catalyst article, let’s take a look at what that will take.
Being a Republican in Oregon is not easy. All too often election night can be a depressing affair for those of us of a conservative persuasion. But when you dig into the voter registration numbers, Republican are surprisingly successful given the circumstances they face.
What is the worth of a public employees union?
Well not much these days according to the actions of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). SEIU announced last week that its members must be prepared for a thirty percent (30%) budget reduction including an immediate ten- percent (10%) reduction in 2017. Of course the SEIU union bosses blamed it all on President-elect Donald Trump but there is really more to it than that.
Private sector union membership has been on the decline for decades. It is the result of a combination of things – mechanization, international trade agreements, and a migration of workers rights from union contracts to government regulations. To some degree, as unions became political forces, they began to push for legislation governing employee rights (work and safety conditions, overtime, compensation, benefits, discipline, etc.) As they did so, workers began to assume that it was “government” rather than the “unions” that protected them. All of these forces combined began to make unions less relevant to workers. The rise of state determined right to work laws added to the decline by eliminating the ability of unions to make membership and financial contributions mandatory as a condition of receiving or maintaining employment. In return the private sector unions doubled down on their political activities and became recognized more as an arm of the Democrat Party than as a vehicle for workers rights.
From 1973 to 2015 the percentage of private sector workers belonging to a union declined from 24.2 percent to 6.7 percent. That represents a decline in member numbers from slightly over 14 Million to about 6.7 Million even while the total private sector workforce was expanding by nearly double. And none of this occurred after the election of Mr. Trump.
Bradley J. Nicholson, Speaker
Oregon Executive Club
Wed. Jan 4th, 7:00
Portland Airport Shilo Inn
11707 Northeast Airport Way, Portland
. Continue reading
After reports of an undisclosed conflict of interest involving Governor Kate Brown’s chief of staff, Kristen Leonard, the Governor announced today that Leonard has resigned.
Gov. Kate Brown announces chief of staff’s abrupt departure after WW reports on potential conflicts of interest.
— NigelJaquiss (@NigelJaquiss) January 3, 2017
Leonard’s resignation is effective Jan. 31 #orpol
— Saul Hubbard (@SaulAHubbard) January 3, 2017
Leonard was Brown’s chief of staff for a little over a year. Leonard was hired in November of 2015 after previous chief of staff, Brian Shipley, resigned for unknown reasons.
This story will be updated as new information is made available.
Hillary Borrud for The Oregonian:
Brown’s skepticism about putting the ombudsman in the Secretary of State’s office appears to be a somewhat recent development.
“We started with the secretary of state, but that didn’t end up feeling like — there’s political, you know, implications there as well. So (the Department of Administrative Services) is where it ended up.”
Translation: We were going to go with the Secretary of State until Republican Dennis Richardson was elected. Then we decided it was best for the monkeys to watch the bananas.
By Randal O’Toole
The housing affordability crisis is turning Portland, already one of the whitest cities in America, into one that is even whiter. Census data indicate that, between 2010 and 2014, the number of whites living in the city of Portland grew by 30,500, or 6.8 percent, but the number of blacks shrank by 4,500, or 11.5 percent.
Some of those blacks moved to Portland suburbs, but most moved out of the Portland area completely. While the number of whites in the Portland urban area grew by 94,000, the number of blacks shrank by 3,400.
Even before 2010, Portland’s high housing prices were negatively affecting blacks and other low-income groups. Census data show that, between 2000 and 2010, the share of households headed by whites living in single-family detached homes declined by 3.3 percent, but the share of households headed by blacks living in such homes declined 16.1 percent. Continue reading