by Sen. Doug Whitsett
Over the past several months, representatives of Governor Kate Brown and the progressive liberal Democrat Party majority have been quietly discussing new labor contracts with the State’s public employee unions. Not surprisingly, these labor negotiations, with some of the Democrat Party’s major political contributors, have not gone well for Oregon taxpayers.
It appears the negotiators who “represent the people” have conceded most of the unions’ demands, including annual cost of living increases, step increases and an entire extra day of paid leave. The increasing costs of other payroll expenses such as health insurance premiums, retirement contributions and paid leave contribute significant additional cost to these labor contracts. Continue reading
Right From the Start
There is a fetid odor emanating from Wall Street these days. It has the distinct aroma of Obamanomics – a system propped up by cheap money, a jury-rigged regulatory system and a flow of taxpayer money to special interests. It manifests itself on the observable facts that the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the middleclass contracts for lack of access to capital and an excess of governmentally mandated costs. And all the while its chief architect, President Barack Obama, rings his hands in mock despair over the victims of his policies.
No one would count me among the Friends of Obama who populate Wall Street and contribute mightily to his campaigns, and yet I have benefited significantly during his administration. It has nothing to do with being a shrewd investor but rather from an early recognition of the effects of Mr. Obama’s policies. In point of fact, in a column I wrote in June of 2013 that included: Continue reading
by NW Spotlight
The Pulitzer-winning Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity just came out with their 2015 State Integrity Investigation – and Oregon got an ‘F’. The ‘F’ grade was based on assessing the systems in place to deter corruption in state government.
The report highlighted the Kitzhaber-Hayes scandals and noted that Oregon is a “state where ethical behavior is assumed rather than regulated,” and “where good behavior is taken for granted rather than enforced.”
The report noted “Oregon’s overall failing grade represented a substantial dip from the C- the state received from the last State Integrity Investigation scorecard in 2012,” with the caveat that “the grades and scores are not directly comparable due to changes made to improve and update the questions and methodology.” Continue reading
By Steve Buckstein
There are still eighteen so-called “control states” in America that exert substantial control over the sale of liquor. Oregon is one of them, virtually monopolizing its warehousing, distribution, and sale through the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC). You would think that independent-minded Oregonians would have rebelled against such control by now. Next year, they might.
The grocery industry now plans to place a measure on the 2016 General Election ballot that would allow consumers to buy hard liquor in the same private grocery stores where they can already conveniently purchase beer and wine. Continue reading
Bend, Ore. – Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) released the results of his 2016 session legislative survey for the constituents of Senate District 27. Constituents were asked to share their top priorities for the 2016 session, and two pieces of legislation were chosen for Senator Knopp to introduce in February. The top priorities for Central Oregon residents are sustainable forest management and Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) reform.
Wildfires remain an unfortunate consistent issue for the Central Oregon area, harming the ecosystem, endangering rural communities, and costing millions to keep communities safe. Sustainable forest management will assist in the regeneration capacity, vitality, and productivity of a forest. This approach strikes a balance between the preservation of forest health and job creation, which enables the state to fully fund education. Continue reading
Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities
Members of the Crook County Court are now considering Oregon Wild’s plan to lock up wide swaths of the Ochoco National Forest and Prineville BLM District.
In addition to lobbying local officials, the group is also pressuring Congress to pass legislation to make these land set-asides permanent. Oregon Wild’s plan is to create 26,000 acres of new wilderness, and set aside an additional 286,000 acres as a “National Recreation Area,” which only brings more top-down regulation and bureaucracy from Washington, D.C.
We need your help. Please take two minutes and click here to tell the Court and your members of Congress that you oppose this wilderness and land set-aside plan. Tell them these lands should be managed for multiple uses and benefits such as wildfire mitigation and forest access, so more citizens can enjoy these lands in the future. Continue reading
by Sen. Doug Whitsett
Oregon currently has the second-highest minimum wage in the nation, behind only Washington State. That is due largely to the 2002 passage of Measure 25, a Constitutional amendment that raised the wage and requires it to be increased annually to adjust for inflation as it is measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Since then, Oregon’s minimum wage has increased, from the $6.90 per hour level set in 2002, to the current $9.25 per hour required by the CPI adjustments. Oregon’s present minimum wage is approximately 22 cents lower than Washington’s. Continue reading