Office of the House Speaker
SALEM – Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek (D – N/NE Portland) announced Wednesday House committee assignments for the 2017 Legislative Session.
Before making these assignments, Speaker Kotek met with every returning and incoming member of the House of Representatives to discuss their priorities, experience, and interests.
“The session ahead presents many challenges and opportunities for Oregon,” Speaker Kotek said.
“Each legislator brings a unique perspective to this process, and I am looking forward to working with every member to deliver on the priorities of the people we serve.”
The House will convene January 9, 2017 for an organizational session, which will include the swearing-in of all House members, the official election of the constitutional officers, and the introduction of the first set of bills.
The 2017 Legislative Session will officially begin February 1.
Please click here for a list of the House committees and House appointments to Legislative Joint Committees.
By Taxpayer Association of Oregon,
It took only 24 days after voters resoundingly defeated the $3 billion Measure 97 tax for Oregon Governor Kate Brown to conjure up a new $1 billion Son of 97 Tax. This Son of 97 tax is coming soon as Governor Brown has proposed it for the 2017 Legislative Session that begins in just a few weeks. If they speed this tax like they sped the Hidden Gas Tax of 2015 through the Legislature — we could see this billion dollar tax become law before President’s Day.
What’s in the tax: This tax is a massive $300 million tax hike on small businesses. It is also a half-billion tax hike on health insurance premiums, hospitals and health care providers. The tax is also a giant tax on liquor and tobacco. Continue reading
Taxpayer Association of Oregon PAC,
Use your free Oregon Political Tax Credit to help us win the big tax fight. This year we fought against Measure 97 and we endorsed over 100 candidates.
If you do not use it you will lose it and the government will spend it for you. The Oregon Political Tax Credit allows Oregonians to donate up to $50 ($100 couple) and get 100% of it back on their Oregon taxes. That is right — 100% of it back! It costs you virtually nothing while it helps fuel our team to kill tax increase ballot measures and help elect pro-taxpayer family candidates at all levels of government (Judges, Mayors, lawmakers). To qualify for the tax credit you must make your donation before the year ends. You can donate instantly online here. Continue reading
Right From the Start
The Democrat Party appears to be going through a catharsis as it attempts to identify the cause(s) for its overwhelming losses sustained in the 2016 elections. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) began the conversation by noting on Face the Nation when asked whether the Democrat Party needed a new direction:
“Well, I don’t think people want a new direction,” said Pelosi.
“What we want is a better connection of our message to working families in our country, and that clearly in the election showed that that message wasn’t coming through.”
by NW Spotlight
Despite an attempt to subvert the working of the Electoral College, Donald Trump decisively won the Electoral College vote yesterday, 304 to 227.
The attempt to subvert the working of the Electoral College was described by The Hill: “progressive groups organized rallies across the country, celebrities filmed pleas to individual Republican electors.” Time ran a brief piece on the subversive effort by celebrities that includes a video of their pleas.
NPR reported that there was “an unprecedented effort to lobby electors to vote for someone else,” and noted “Electors found themselves inundated by letters, petitions, tweets and Facebook posts, urging them to cast a ballot for an alternative candidate. Many received threats, as well.”
Those efforts to thwart the election of Donald Trump failed, miserably. Continue reading
By Allison Coleman
In 2009 the regional transit agency, TriMet, opened a commuter rail line running from Wilsonville to Beaverton. The line is known as the Westside Express Service, or WES.
According to transit advocates, commuter rail would help reduce energy consumption in the Portland region because it was assumed that trains moved people more efficiently than private automobiles.
However, the energy efficiency claims about WES turned out to be wrong. WES uses 6,753 BTUs of energy per passenger mile, which is 4,000 more than the national average of all commuter rail lines. WES also uses more than twice the amount of energy as a car to move the same number of passengers. On average, automobiles consume only 3,122 BTUs per passenger mile, and that number has been dropping steadily since 1970.*
Many transit advocates have been so enthused about commuter rail that they have urged lawmakers to fund an expansion of WES to Salem. Not only would this be costly, it would be a step backwards for energy efficiency. Surprising as it may seem, the average automobile is now far more efficient than commuter rail.
*See http://cta.ornl.gov/data/tedb35/Edition35_Chapter02.pdf, page 2-20, table 2.15.
Allison Coleman is a Research Associate at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.
by Sen. Doug Whitsett
The latest round of legislative committee days was just completed at the state capitol in Salem. It also happened to be my final set of official meetings in office, as I am set to retire at the end of my current term in early January.
On Monday, December 12, the Senate Interim Committee on Environment and Natural Resources convened for a series of informational hearings. We heard two presentations from representatives of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), including a Woodstove Workgroup Report and Water Quality Permitting Program Review.
The senior policy coordinator for the Oregon Water Resources Department presented us with a report on the Task Force on Drought Emergency Response. The associate director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute provided an Oregon Climate Assessment Report, the chairman of the Global Warming Commission gave a preview of that body’s 2016-17 Biennial Report and a representative of the Oregon Farm Bureau spoke about the Importance of Agriculture to Oregon’s Economy. Continue reading
by NW Spotlight
On Tuesday, the Portland Tribune ran a story headlined “Measure 97 proponents unveil new corporate sales tax proposal,” reporting that the “Coalition that offered [Measure 97] wants lawmakers to tax biggest corporations, health care.”
Republicans in the Oregon legislature quickly responded to that new tax proposal.
Oregon House Republicans
Statement from House Republican Caucus spokesman Preston Mann regarding the “A Better Oregon” Tax Increase Plan:
“It says a lot about Democratic politicians and government employee unions that even in the face of an overwhelming defeat, they still have the audacity to stand before Oregonians and demand massive new tax increases with only vague details about how the money will be spent and a hardline stance against budget reform. The hubris of Democrats in Salem knows no bounds.” Continue reading
Right From the Start
What is an annuity cash flow calculator? What is the net present value of a stream of income? Why are the public employee unions so concerned about it? Okay, if you were forced to endure a teachers union led education in the Portland Public Schools, you need to stop right here, turn on Keeping up with Kardashians and hold your participation trophies close to your heart because the rest of this article is not for you.
The Dallas Morning News reported last week:
“Mayor Mike Rawlings is asking a judge to do what the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System won’t: Stop the run on the bank.
“Rawlings filed a lawsuit Monday morning against the pension system at his own expense and as a private citizen. He is asking for an emergency temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction on the system’s payments of hundreds of millions in lump-sum withdrawals, which have threatened its solvency.
“The lawsuit is the latest dramatic turn in an increasingly contentious fight over the future of the public safety retirement system, which is set to go broke within the next decade or so. Rawlings has been frustrated with the system for years. But in recent weeks, he has taken center stage in the battle.
Oregon Senate Republicans
SALEM-Despite the overwhelmingly rejection of Measure 97 and the availability of $1.3 billion in new revenue next biennium, an 8.3 percent increase from 2015 to 2017, the Democrat-controlled House and Senate Revenue Committees have introduced over a dozen bills increasing taxes. Gov. Kate Brown has already proposed $900 million in tax increases and also wants to use $110 million for a new round of employee raises.
Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, offered the following statement:
“Instead of reducing government waste and reforming our insolvent pension system, the Democrats are attempting to foist on our constituents hundreds of millions in new taxes. Oregonians spoke very clearly when they voted no on Measure 97, and Senate Republicans will do everything we can to protect them from this tax tsunami. It is flat-out wrong to be punishing victims of crimes, struggling businesses, charitable donations, farmers, homeownership, and conservation efforts. Oregon taxpayers should ‘duck and cover.'” Continue reading
By John A. Charles, Jr.
The Portland Auditor released the 2016 Annual Community Survey on November 30. The responses show that the share of all commute trips taken by public transit fell 17% during the past year.
This was part of a longer-term decline in transit use. The transit share of all Portland commute trips peaked in 2008 at 15%. Since then it has hovered near 12%, and now rests at 10%.
Taxpayers should be especially concerned about the negative correlation between passenger rail construction and market share. In 1997, when the region had only one light rail line—the Blue line to Gresham—transit market share was 12%. Continue reading
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
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