Q & A with Representative Bruce Hanna on Special Session

Q & A with State Representative Bruce Hanna:

1. What do you hope to accomplish for Special Session?

Republicans believe the special session should only address the most pressing issues facing our state. Last November, House and Senate Republicans identified several priorities that Democrats neglected to address in 2007. Among these priorities, Republicans want to provide 24/7 State Police coverage to protect all Oregonians; pass accountability measures for the Democrats’ record government spending; secure Oregon’s drivers licenses; and reform Oregon’s land use laws.

The Legislature should address these few key issues, and adjourn as quickly as possible.

2. Are there anything taxpayers should be watchful for during Special Session?

Taxpayers must remain vigilant as long as Democrats control the Legislature. They have already raised taxes and fees by $620 million and increased government debt by over $900 million. In 2007, House Democrats passed a new payroll tax on Oregon workers, though it died in the Senate. Though there’s been some talk about reintroducing the measure, we’ve yet to see it proposed for February.

Republicans will continue to defend Oregon taxpayers in February.

3. How was it that so many Republican agenda items appeared during the agenda for the Session?

Republicans pushed for most of these priorities during the 2007 regular session. Now that we’re in an election year, Democrats recognize they have a poor record on these important issues. That’s why they’ll pass several Republican priorities in February and proclaim victory.

This is an example of petty election-year politics, but fortunately Oregonians will benefit for the passage of our priorities.

4. Has the recent economic outlook changed anything? Could taxpayers get a tax relief?

The Legislature will not have much unanticipated revenue, or “new money,” to spend. This means the Democrats can’t go on a shopping spree, as they did in 2007 when they passed a budget with record-breaking new spending.

Republicans will support common sense tax credit ideas and reconnecting to the federal tax code. Unfortunately, we doubt Democrats will favor any serious tax relief measure that sacrifices revenue for the government.

5. What are your caucus hearing the most from their constituents right now?

Oregonians are concerned with the security of our driver’s licenses. They have read news stories about how our state has become a magnet for people seeking fraudulent identification documents. The Republicans’ position has always been clear. We support requiring proof of legal presence for new applicants, but we need Democrat votes to make this happen. The Governor has made positive steps, but his fellow Democrats in the Legislature seem reluctant to take any action in February.