Nominees announced for 2008 Taxpayer Awards!!!

The nominees for the seven Taxpayer Awards are announced below. 10,000 ballots have been sent out. The winners will be decided at the ceremony February 6th, 6-8:00 Pm at the Airport Shilo Inn during a special meeting of the Oregon Executive Club and Taxpayer Association. It will also be broadcast live on the Victoria Taft show on KPAM 860AM. You are invited. If you want to vote click here for the ballot side 1 and ballot side 2.

Thomas Jefferson Award:
Wiener Politician Award:
Pork Barrel Project:
Bureaucratic Bungler:
Golden Schnoz Award:
Government Innovation Award:
Excellence in Journalism Awards: (Not a voting category)


Thomas Jefferson Award:
Awarded to Oregonians for advancing the principles of individual liberty and limited government in 2007

__ George Taylor, State Climatologist
In defense of science over politics: State Climatologist George Taylor has made national impact with his demonstratable problems with many global warming theories. Governor Kulongoski has been trying to use a technicality to forbid him from using the title State Climatologist and left him out of the Governor’s Strategy for Greenhouse Gas Reductions.
__ State Representative Jerry Krummel:
Helped end CIM/CAM: After six years of Legislative work Krummel was instrumental in abolishing the education bureaucratic nightmare CIM/CAM program. Krummel created Oregon’s new Sex Offender Web Site.

__ Bob Hooker, Ben Pooler and Jim Fox
Stopping Lane County Income Tax:
A few months after Lane County residents rejected a County Income Tax, the County still passed an income tax and without voter approval. Bob, Ben and Jim launched a massive referendum drive and gathering all the signatures in a single day! The tax was soundly defeated.

__ Jim Huffman, Lewis & Clark Law Professor
For protecting our constitution: Professor Huffman defended the constitution by giving a strong academic criticism of Measure 50 (constitutional tobacco tax). Huffman noted that this tax was unprecedented as the first product tax in Oregon’s constitution.

Wiener Politician Award:
The most obnoxious, cowardly, or reckless elected official

__ Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Jeff Merkley.
The two legislative leaders approved an astonishing 21% budget growth with the help of $856 million in new taxes and 44 fee increases. To prevent future citizen dissent, they also passed tough new petition regulations making it twice as hard for citizens to petition their government. They sent voters an anti-property rights ballot measure (Measure 49) and an anti-double majority protection ballot measure and wrote their own highly deceptive ballot title.

__ Jospehine Co. Commissioner Dave Toler:
Toler shocked his county when he opposed $13 million in new county revenue because it involved (gasp) harvesting trees. The WOPR timber plan only harvests trees from a portion of federal land that has been specially set aside for such timber use over 50 years ago.

__ Labor Commissioner Dan Gardner
Gardner tried to force expensive prevailing wage laws on a private hotel construction because it “shared” a garage with a new public building. Even the judge was taken aback at the over-reach and went as far as to force the Labor Bureau to pay the hotel’s legal fees. Gardner’s agency has been faulted for telling certain business projects they are exempt from prevailing wages, and then changing their mind years later and forcing the small businesses into massive retroactive payments. He also tried to force businesses to pay overtime if an employee works over 8 hours a day. Gardner also helped pass a bill giving his agency new super-inspection (harassment) power to go after signature gathering employees who are petitioning their government for change.

__ State School Superintendent Susan Castillo
In addition to an embarrassing testing fiasco, Castillo instructed school districts to charge parents for all day kindergarten when it had no credible legal basis. Since a court rebuke, Castillo is now trying to get the Legislature to retroactively apply her idea so government won’t have to reimburse parents.

Pork Barrel Project:
The best example of government waste.

__ Bend’s Bogus Buses
Bend blew a quarter million tax dollars buying a fleet of used buses that all broke down. The City ignored their own inspection report which said they were “junk” and recommended no purchase.

__ Fish Funeral Tax Breaks:
Portland Congressman Earl Blumenauer has been earnestly working to pass a tax credit for the death of one’s pet — includes dogs, cats, fish, reptiles, mice, horses and rats.

__ $100,000 Fancy Flush
Portland opened up their City Hall restrooms 24-hours to help the homeless and to promote a better nightlife for tourists. The cost of extra security runs $100,000 a year.

__ Million Dollar Consultant Mistake
Portland paid a consultant firm $900,000 to save the city money. The consultant came up with only $61,000 in savings.

Bureaucratic Bungler:
Best example of government regulation, overreach or bureaucratic mistake

__ Guantanamo for McMinnville Spankers
A 12 and 13 year-old middle schooler were arrested for spanking fellow students, spent five days at a Juvenile Detention Facility and faced sex abuse charges. The case brought national outcry and reduced charges.

__ Baby Gabriel goof-up
Two state panels tried to separate 2-year old baby Gabriel away from his Oregon foster parents and send him to Mexico (where he has never been and does not speak the language).

__ Bucky and Snowball
Jim and Francis rescued a badly injured deer from the side of the road and spent years nursing the deer back to health. The state removed the permanently disabled deer and offered to return it if the owners removed any fences in the yard. A judge eventually ruled the deer be returned to the owners, but the Attorney General’s office stepped in to stop it. The case has cost the state $40,000 in legal bills (so far).

__ Rain stops Solar Car Race
The Eugene Water and Electric Board had to use battery power to run their annual solar car race due to rain and clouds which rendered the solar cars useless.

Golden Schnoz Award:
Best example of government sticking its nose in other people’s business

__ Home Sprinkler Mandate: Medford Fire Department is trying to force many new family homes to put in an entire water sprinkler system at a cost $6,000 per home.

__ Foster parent gun rule: The Human Services Department tried to void second amendment gun rights for foster parents who had concealed gun permits.

__ Politicians Pummel Payday loans: The Legislature forced payday loan stores to lower their rates which immediately caused 60 stores to close and put several hundred people out of work. Many customers can now go on welfare rather than seek private help.

Government Innovation Award:
Best example of a government cost-savings or successful program

__ Feds inquire on missing Oregon roads: The Federal Highway Department made headlines when it criticized Metro’s transportation plan. The plan ignored people who drive cars which was the primary purpose of the plan.

__ Roseburg panhandler law: Roseburg outlawed panhandler transactions at highway off-ramps to reduce traffic and accidents.

__ Prison kickback scheme exposed: Federal and State authorities worked together to uncover a half-million dollar kick-back scheme being run by the food service administrator of the Oregon Corrections Department.

Excellence in Journalism Awards:
Not a voting category

“$1 billion can’t cut class size”
Scott Learn & Steven Carter,
The Oregonian

“Truth And Consequences”
Nigel Jacquiss,
Willamette Week
(Measure 49 ballot title deception)

“95% of drivers buckle up, so why the tickets?”
Ryan Knutson,
The Oregonian
($1.5 million grant for non-problem)

“Are those cranes or an inventory glut on the horizon?”
Ellen Lewis
Brainstorm Magazine
(Continuing expose on Waterfront Project, for which Brainstorm accurately predicted in 2003 of its fallout.)