by NW Spotlight
Trump continues to close on Hillary in the 2016 presidential race, based on Real Clear Politics’ presidential race tracking.
In the past five weeks, Hillary’s advantage in the Real Clear Politics presidential polling averages over Trump has fallen from +5.3 to +3.3 (3 weeks ago) and now to +2.9.
Real Clear Politics snapshots of the 2016 presidential election over the past five weeks also show:
• Hillary’s +18.0 favorability rating had fallen to +7.7 for her, and it has now rebounded slightly to +7.9.
• Hillary’s lead in betting odds had gone from 79-to-21 to 76-to-24 over Trump, and those have continued to edge up for Trump – they are now 73-to-27.
• Hillary’s lead in the battleground states has continued to shrink. A little over five weeks ago Hillary led in every battleground state. Three weeks ago she led in all but one, but with tighter spreads. Today Hillary leads in 3 battleground states and Trump leads in 4. Continue reading
by Sen. Doug Whitsett
The Joint Interim Committee on Department of Energy Oversight was formed by the Senate President and Speaker of the House after Rep. Gail Whitsett (R-Klamath Falls), other Republican lawmakers and I called for an investigation into the Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) program administered by the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE). We called for the investigation after receiving information from whistleblowers within both the Department of Revenue and ODOE regarding possible suspicious activity surrounding the BETC program. Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) appointed me to be a member of the bipartisan, bicameral committee.
In my last column I discussed some of the activities during the most recent round of Legislative Days held at the state capitol in Salem, including details of the latest meeting of the ODOE oversight committee. Continue reading
Right From the Start
In a recent report before a joint meeting of the Oregon Investment Council and the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) Board it was revealed that the unfunded future liability of PERS is estimated at $22 Billion – an amount that exceeds the current biennial general funds budget. According to the Oregonian, Rukaiyah Adams, the vice chair of the Oregon Investment Council made the announcement and then she cried. It would have been better if she had resigned and took the remaining members of the Oregon Investment Council with her.
Ms. Adams was appointed to the Council on April 30, 2013, by then Gov. John Kitzhaber – one of the people principally responsible for the financial mess we know as PERS. Three plus years have passed since her appointment. The problems at PERS have been known to a succession of Oregon governors – Neil Goldschmidt (D), Barbara Roberts (D), John Kitzhaber (D), Ted Kulongoski (D), John Kitzhaber again (D) and Kate Brown (D) who have done nothing to fix the problem and everything to compound it – particularly appointing a series of Oregon Supreme Court judges (all of whom are beneficiaries of PERS) to torpedo each and every attempt at reforms.
Posted in Corruption, Gov. Kate Brown, Gov. Kitzhaber, Gov. Kulongoski, Gov. Neil Goldschmidt, Government corruption, Government reform, Leadership, Metro, PERS, Public Employees Retirement System, State Budget, State Government
by Sen. Alan Olsen
Salem, Ore. – Last week, the Joint Interim Committee on Department of Energy Oversight discussed a recent audit of the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) program.
The first independent audit of the ODOE Business Energy Tax Credit program, released Sept. 7, uncovered concerns with nearly $350 million in tax credits, or over one third of the $1 billion program.
“Despite repeated calls for an independent investigation of ODOE’s Business Energy Tax Credit program, our cries largely went unanswered,” explained Sen. Alan Olsen (R-Canby). “In fact, Michael Kaplan himself – the director of ODOE – responded to this recent audit by saying that the number of concerning tax credits has likely been underestimated in this recent report. The Secretary of State and Governor Brown’s administration should aggressively pursue any fraud in the BETC program that would likely cost taxpayers millions of dollars.” Continue reading
By Lydia White
In accordance with House Bill 2941, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is making recommendations to the Oregon State Legislature to ensure Oregon’s solar energy incentives are equitable, efficient, and effective.
One recommendation is to modify the compensation method for solar energy, net metering. Under net metering, solar owners consume energy their panels produce. When energy produced is insufficient, solar owners purchase additional energy from traditional sources. When excess energy is produced, solar owners sell energy. Solar owners are compensated at above-market rates and are exempt from paying their portion of incurred costs. Such costs include operation and maintenance of the grid and “spinning reserves,” the alternative power source utility companies run continuously in case solar produces less energy than projected. The state’s incentive structure shifts costs from solar owners to non-solar ratepayers. As the number of solar owners increases, ratepayers bear higher costs. The PUC is recommending these costs instead be shifted to taxpayers. While the PUC proposal’s efforts to alleviate inequity are commendable, their proposed recommendations still constrain Oregonians. Continue reading
by Sen. Doug Whitsett
State legislators were in Salem this week to attend committee meetings during Legislative Days. Representative Gail Whitsett participated in her five assigned committees while I participated in my four assigned committees, as well as the Senate floor session to confirm Governor Brown’s appointments.
My first meeting took place with the Joint Interim Task Force on Funding for Fish, Wildlife and Related Outdoor Recreation and Education which convened on Friday, September 16. The Task force is attempting to establish a new and stable source of revenue to fund an $80 million per biennium increase in Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) budgets. During that meeting, Task Force members discussed the outreach its members are doing with stakeholders, who deal regularly with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, to explain the proposed budget increase of more than 20 percent. We also worked on defining key questions and decision points for the task force, developing the group’s next steps and identifying its key messages. My personal opinion is that ODFW must undergo significant consolidation and prioritization of its myriad programs, and must continue its efforts to deal with inefficiencies and program duplication before the legislature should even consider additional funding for the agency. Continue reading
by Ronald A. Buel
Jeff Gudman is running against Tobias Read (Democrat) and Chris Telfer (Independent) for the Position of State Treasurer. Why would a long-time Democratic activist like me be supporting a Republican for this office? I am sure that Tobias Read agrees with more of my own policy positions than does Jeff Gudman, for example.
But State Treasurer is not your typical partisan office, nor is it a typical stepping-stone to Governor (such as Secretary of State, for example). In fact, Gudman openly declares that he is not going to run for Governor at any time — he wants only to be Treasurer — or I wouldn’t be supporting him.
Simply put, Gudman is more qualified to be Treasurer than Tobias Read. He is currently the Treasurer of the Legacy Emanuel Foundation, and he has held the Treasurer positions for Hyster and for subsidiaries of Northwest Natural Gas. He is a graduate of Wharton School of Economics and holds an MBA in finance and business from that school. He serves as a City Councilor in Lake Oswego, where he is a leader on matters of budget and finance. Continue reading