Rethinking the Filibuster

Right From the Start

In Monday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) called for the elimination of the filibuster in the United States Senate. Mr. Biggs may want to rethink his position although his complaints are absolutely valid.

Mr. Biggs served in the Arizona Legislature for nearly fourteen years – first as a state representative and then as a state senator including a stint as President of the Arizona Senate. During that time the Arizona Legislature was under the firm control of Republicans – both the House and the Senate, and generally by healthy majorities. Never having been in the minority, Mr. Biggs never experienced the “tyranny of the majority.” (Well, Republicans did have to suffer the six years of Gov. Janet Napolitano (D-AZ) but they still controlled the legislature.) In marked contrast, the minority Arizona Democrats would sell other people’s children for a way to stop or slow down the conservative tide that defines Arizona. (Liberals always want to use other people’s money, property and, probably, children, to advance their great ideas.) Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Congress, Filibuster, Government Abuse, Government reform, Republican Party | Leave a comment

Esquivel: Knute Buehler is the Leader Oregon Needs

By Representative Sal Esquivel

My friend and colleague Knute Buehler has a well-deserved reputation for having an independent-streak and achieving bipartisan results in the Oregon House. As Knute frequently says, he likes to look beyond the narrow labels that too often define our politics today. I’m writing today, to endorse Rep. Buehler in his recently launched campaign for Governor, and to ask my fellow conservatives and Republicans who may have concerns about Knute, to also look beyond narrow labels and study the facts about his record. Continue reading

Posted by at 06:00 | Posted in Gov. Kate Brown, Oregon Republican Party, Republican Party | 2 Comments

Oregon Secretary of State Implements “Open Checkbook” Policy

By Dennis Richardson — Oregon Secretary of State

One of my key commitments to Oregonians is accountability for how we spend your state tax dollars. The people of Oregon who pay the bills have a right to know how their money is being spent. To that end, effective today, the Secretary of State’s office will post online our agency’s “checkbook” ledger  — a detailed list of all expenditures. Everyone will be able to evaluate how our agency’s divisions budget and spend every dollar, and our office is open to answer any questions you might have. I believe this is another meaningful way citizens can engage their representatives. Continue reading

Posted by at 09:00 | Posted in Corruption, Dennis Richardson, Ethics, Government reform, Government Spending | 3 Comments

Cascade Policy Institute Endorses Referendum 301 to Stop New Health Care Taxes on Oregonians

The Cascade Policy Institute Board of Directors has voted to support State Referendum 301 which seeks to refer certain taxes approved in House Bill 2391 to the November 6, 2018 General Election ballot (unless the date is changed to January 23rd by an Act of the legislature).

The Referendum primarily seeks to refer some $333 million in new taxes, in the form of a 1.5 percent tax on health insurance premiums and a new 0.7 percent tax on certain hospitals. The Referendum does not affect the rest of HB 2391 which specifies how the state collects money to pay for the Oregon Health Plan, the state’s version of Medicaid, through assessments and taxes on health care providers. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The trains aren’t running on time.

References to the timeliness of trains are a classic proxy for good governance. The operational vulnerabilities that have come with TriMet’s three-decade strategy to increasingly rely on rail are more than metaphorical.

MAX, an already frustratingly slow mode of transportation on a good day, must run even slower when it’s hot outside. WES can’t run at all in high heat.

That seems like a serious public policy risk: forking out massive capital expenditure on rail systems to become increasingly dependent on a mode of transportation that can’t take the heat of summer. Does TriMet just shrug this off as their riders bake in the sun waiting for a train? Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Public Transportation, TriMet | Tagged | 3 Comments

3 Modest Proposals For Fixing Oregon

While partisan issues are important, they already get a lot of attention in our politics today, but right now I want to talk about three structural changes we can make to improve the public policy process here in our beloved Oregon.

  1. Ranked Choice Voting

Almost a year ago I wrote about Benton County’s movement towards Ranked Choice Voting on my Oregon Upstart Blog. That proposal was passed 54%-46% back in November and now proponents are looking to expand the system to other parts of Oregon.  Ranked Choice Voting would allow citizens to number candidates in order of preference, the lowest vote getter would be dropped each round until one candidate had received more than 50% of the vote.  This system would prevent spoiler candidates and encourage campaigns to reach out to voters beyond their typical base.

Back in November, I wrote about the role third party candidates may have played in spoiling elections for Republicans in the 2016 election.  Ranked Choice Voting is a much better way of capturing the feelings of the electorate than our current system is.  Adopting this system in Oregon would be a great thing for our state. Continue reading

Posted by at 10:30 | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Knute Buehler Announces Run for Governor

By Knute for Governor Press Release,

I love Oregon – its natural beauty, sometimes quirky culture and our generous, independent-minded people. And while Oregon has a proud legacy, under Kate Brown, Oregon is falling behind and too many Oregonians have an uncertain future.

Kate Brown has had her chance and she’s failed. She’s refused to lead on essential budget, pension and education reforms critical to Oregon’s future. Instead, she simply demands higher and higher taxes. Continue reading

Posted by at 08:30 | Posted in Gov. Kate Brown, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

McCain Torpedoes Repeal of Obamacare: Is Tax Reform Next?

Right From the Start

If you are looking for the person primarily responsible for the failure of the Senate Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare, look no further than that perpetual pain-in-the-ass Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) who cast the deciding vote to ensure its defeat. You might wonder why Mr. McCain would rise from his hospital bed after serious brain surgery, travel nearly 2400 miles from Phoenix, AZ to Washington, DC to cast the deciding procedural vote to ensure consideration of the repeal and then cast the deciding vote to ensure its defeat? Is it because Mr. McCain is a great American imbued with an urgency to heal the political wounds of the past two decades of bitter partisanship? While Mr. McCain is undeniably a former war hero, he is hardly a great American and he has done as much to exacerbate political discord as any member of Congress, Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in 2016 Presidential Election, Death taxes, Donald Trump, McCain, President Donald Trump, Republican Party, Tax Reform | 3 Comments

Eleven years after Milton Friedman

By Steve Buckstein

One of the greatest minds of our era passed away in November 2006. Today would have marked his 105th birthday. Milton Friedman won the Nobel Prize for Economics; but it was his ability to relate complex economic ideas in simple terms the average person could understand, and his devotion to liberty, that made him truly great.

Milton and his economist wife Rose spent literally decades researching, writing, speaking, and popularizing free-market economics and its connection to liberty and freedom. Rose actually grew up here in Portland, and it was my privilege to call her and Milton my friends. Continue reading

Posted by at 12:19 | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A Taste of Crony Capitalism in the Craft Beer Industry

Join Lydia White:

When: Wednesday, August 16, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Where: Portland Brewing Company Taproom,
2730 Northwest 31st Avenue, Portland

Cost: Free!

Do you love freedom? Do you want to spread liberty in your community? Join the brand-new America’s Freedom Foundation Portland chapter for the launch event on Wednesday, August 16.

AFF and Cascade Policy Institute will host Portland local Jacob Grier for a special event at Portland Brewing Company. Jacob will talk about cronyism in the craft beer industry, and we’ll tour Portland Brewing Company’s taproom. Continue reading

Posted by at 11:09 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Freedom Foundation helps 40 percent of Oregon caregivers escape union’s clutches

SALEM, Ore. – Less than a year ago, on the first anniversary of the Freedom Foundation’s expansion into the Oregon market, SEIU 503 issued a press release dismissing the organization’s impact in the state.

“Since they have been in Oregon, they have talked a big game but their influence has been negligible.”

As usual, however, the union was lying. Continue reading

Posted by at 08:23 | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Secretary of State Dennis Richardson Announces Voter Privacy Policy Change


SALEM, OR —On June 28, 2017, the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity requested publicly available voter registration information from all 50 states. Secretary Dennis Richardson responded to the Commission with a letter explaining the statutory requirements that apply to everyone who requests a statewide list. The privacy issues raised by the Commission’s request and related media coverage prompted a full legal and policy review by Secretary of State Dennis Richardson. Continue reading

Posted by at 11:10 | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Oregon GOP Files Campaign Finance Complaint Against SEIU


Requesting Investigation into $11M of Disclosure Violations

Complaint to AG Rosenblum and SoS Richardson mirrors lawsuit filed by Washington AG against SEIU’s Washington State Council for failure to report individual member contributions

Wilsonville, OR – 
Today, Bill Currier, Chairman of the Oregon Republican Party, filed a formal complaint with Oregon’s Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, urging both leaders for an investigation into the campaign finance practices of the Oregon Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Oregon Council and its local 503 and 49 affiliates, involving more than $11 million in unreported individual union member contributions: Continue reading

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

The Unskinny Bop Bill

So it’s come to this. Senate Republicans voted last night on a bill they hoped would not become law. It failed because House Republicans could not convince John McCain they would not pass it. Called the “skinny” bill for only containing a few broadly unpopular provisions of Obamacare, the consequences wouldn’t have been so skinny had it passed both chambers of Congress.

A vote for the skinny bill was a risky vote for higher insurance premium growth than we are already seeing. Regular readers of the Oregon Catalyst should know that. I laid out this stubborn fact of economics four months ago.

We cannot have a legal right to have our pre-existing conditions covered without a legal responsibility to buy health insurance. Almost all the problems with the Affordable Care Act come from that one central regulation: forcing insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions. The other, less popular parts of the law controlled the adverse consequences of that one major market-distorting rule. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Obamacare | Tagged | 2 Comments

Why Republicans are at a Disadvantage Repealing Obamacare

In the wake of the GOP Congress’ failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, I think it would be worth taking some time to look at the politics of health care. I for one would argue that Obamacare is one of the main reasons Republicans currently hold power in Washington DC. Having run against the policy very strongly in 2010, 2014, and in 2016. I think government involvement in healthcare is what gave rise to the Tea Party movement and has shaped our politics today more than any issue since the Iraq War. That being said, when it comes to healthcare, Democrats has a definite political advantage over Republican, and likely always will. Continue reading

Posted by at 03:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Republicans Cannot Repeal Obamacare

Right From the Start

Republicans announced that the United States Senate will vote this week on the repeal and replacement of Obamacare.  I doubt it, but it they do it will fail.  The Senate may then vote on just the repeal of Obamacare.  Again I doubt it, but if they do it will fail by an even larger margin.  They will fail for two reasons.

First, the Republicans have made the same mistake as the Democrats did in enacting Obamacare.  They have assumed that healthcare coverage can only be solved at the federal level and that there is only one solution for everyone – one size fits all.  Obamacare has demonstrated what a monumental mistake that is. Continue reading

Posted by at 07:35 | Posted in Congress, Donald Trump, Federal Government, Government Regulation, Health & Human Services, Health Care Reform | 2 Comments

Let Parents Wield School Spending Power

By Kathryn Hickok

Are we missing the trees for the forest in Oregon school funding and education reform debates?

Media reports, school districts, and political leaders usually focus on the big picture: reaching a 100% high school graduation rate so all children have the best chance in life. That’s a great goal. Frequently lost, however, is the fact that every child is an individual. The focus of real-life Oregon parents is helping their kids reach their potential in light of their specific needs and gifts.

These two perspectives shouldn’t be at odds. In fact, the second could drive the first―if more parents were empowered to make meaningful choices for their children’s education. Continue reading

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

The Game Theory of Light Rail Platforms

In the tri-county area of TriMet’s service district, the proven reliability of buses is being slowly replaced by light rail, one capital project at a time. How this transformation might change passenger fare compliance is something TriMet needs to carefully consider. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Public Transportation, TriMet | Tagged | 4 Comments

Sen. Linthicum: Numbers show Oregon’s failed budget

By Oregon State Senator Dennis Linthicum,

A well-balanced, realistic policy-making approach could pave the way toward long term fiscal solvency and achieve investment goals for Oregon’s future. As I entered my first legislative session, I anticipated Democrats and Republicans would work together to achieve those goals by supporting both spending and revenue reforms. It only makes sense that balancing both sides of the ledger would increase stability for our state’s budget.

It seems, I was wrong. Continue reading

Posted by at 04:55 | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Moving Beyond Symbolism

By John A. Charles, Jr.

Last week Governor Kate Brown gave a speech to Portland activists promising to secure carbon-pricing legislation in next year’s one-month legislative session. A few days later, she met with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and urged him to maintain or expand the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Southern Oregon.

Clearly, the Governor is getting bad advice about environmental priorities. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant; it’s a beneficial gas that is essential for plant growth. If the Governor continues Oregon’s “war on carbon,” she will impose great costs on the economy with no offsetting benefits. Continue reading

Posted by at 10:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

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