The Senate Democrat 2009 Agenda

[Senate Majority Office Release]
The Oregon Agenda 2009

Education Excellence for All Oregonians
Last session, Senate Democrats made record investments in schools by lowering K-12 class sizes and expanding opportunities for higher education. In 2009, we will continue our commitment to developing the workforce of the future by:
— Increasing access to our universities, community colleges, and vocational programs by making higher education more affordable “” especially for our returning veterans
— Promoting a strong base of learning for our children by expanding access to Head Start
— Giving teachers the tools to provide a first class education by supporting high quality professional development

Affordable and Accessible Health Care

While the federal government has delayed action on health care reform, Oregon families have been taking the hit here at home. In 2009, we will make health care reform a top priority, with a focus on:
— Expanding access to quality affordable health care for Oregon’s children and vulnerable families
— Working to control health care costs for all Oregonians
— Promoting access to in-home and community-based care for seniors and people with disabilities

Economic Security for Working Families

Creating jobs, stimulating the economy, and protecting Oregonians from unfair business practices are critical to the security of families during tough times. That’s why we plan on:
— Creating more good jobs by investing in the growing industries of the future “” especially in health care to meet the needs of our aging population, and in renewable energy to decrease our dependence on foreign oil
— Keeping commuters and commerce moving by investing in our aging transportation systems
— Fighting for tax fairness by raising the $10 corporate minimum tax so that big corporations pay their fair share
— Protecting Oregonians by strengthening consumer protection laws and enforcement

Strong and Sustainable Oregon Communities

By investing in essential services and supporting healthy and safe communities, we are working to build a better future for Oregonians. In 2009, we will continue these efforts by:
— Cracking down on meth-related crime, keeping state troopers on the road, and improving
substance abuse & prevention programs
— Moving toward long-term solutions for Oregon’s growing affordable housing needs
— Protecting Oregon’s vulnerable children in foster care
— Working with counties to address the loss of federal timber payments
— Addressing climate change, improving energy efficiency & managing our water resources wisely


As Oregonians face challenging times, our top priority as Senate Democrats is looking out for Oregon’s middle class and those working hard to get ahead. We’re advancing an agenda for state government that is fiscally responsible and delivers the greatest value for every dollar spent; is responsive to working families and vulnerable populations trying to make ends meet; and is fully accountable to current and future generations of Oregonians. This agenda centers on the priorities that matter most to Oregon families “” our schools, our health care, our communities, and our jobs.

This is the 2009 Oregon Agenda.

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  • RinoWatch

    – Giving teachers the tools to provide a first class education by supporting high quality professional development –

    Does this include *Discipline*? Does this mean teachers will be given back the “tool” of *Discipline?*

    Silly me, this is all about a Democrat agenda…….

  • Rupert in Springfield

    >– Fighting for tax fairness by raising the $10 corporate minimum tax so that big corporations pay their fair share

    This will be probably the single biggest tax to hit working families in quite a while.

    The corporate boogey man is often a whipping boy for the Dems because they know people are kept purposefully ignorant about the tax code and economics. Even my wife was for this in past years.

    “Raise those taxes on corporations! What? Are you crazy? You don’t think its totally ridiculous that more than half the corporations in Oregon pay that $10 minimum?”

    “Um, My business is a corporation. Were you aware of that? In fact most corporations are probably type S, like mine. So every dollar of profit is already taxed. Do you understand that?”

    “Yeah, so what’s this corporate minimum tax?”

    “That’s a tax you pay one profit at the corporate level, before it gets to me, where I then pay personal taxes again”

    “Wait a second, so they would tax what you make once when its in the corporate account and then again when it goes into your personal account?”


    “You are so making that up, that’s a lie, I totally don’t believe that, that’s just some crazy Rush Limbaugh BS propaganda, you think I am so stupid I’m going to believe that?”

    “Believe what you want, but if the corporate minimum gets raised to $250 that’s and additional $240 straight off of our dinner table, that’s what I’m telling you”

    “So that’s really true? Wow honey, thank you for explaining it to me. You are always so reasoned and calm. I guess that’s why I really do worship you as a God of political and economic understanding, I’m so lucky to have you.

    Well, that was the last time around when the Democrats tried this stunt. Hopefully more people have wised up to this lie of the corporate minimum tax “loophole”. Its a pure fiction designed, yet again, to engender class warfare resentment. The sad thing is this one really does go straight at working people.

  • Alan

    “– Working to control health care costs for all Oregonians”

    Waaaaay too generic. The details on this coudl be encouraging or downright scary!

    • Rupert in Springfield

      Well, control of health care costs so far has meant increasing the number of mandates for health insurance. This has meant steadily increasing health care costs as a result. At least this is one promise they have fulfilled, controlling health care costs, generally in an upwards direction. I cant wait until they mandate parity for mental health care coverage. At that point buying your own insurance, as I do, will become impossible. Of course this is the desired endgame for these incessant meddlers.

      If abortion is supposedly the most private decision a woman can make with her doctor, then please, cant I have the same privacy in my insurance decisions?

  • Terry Parker

    Focusing in on the bullet: “Keeping commuters and commerce moving by investing in our aging transportation systems.”

    Revenue must come from multiple sources of funding. In other words, motorists and motor vehicle owners must NOT be considered the cash cows to pay for other modes of transport. Bicyclists, transit riders and other forms of transport must be directly taxed and pay a greater share of the costs of providing the specialized services they use, including helping to pay for roads and bridges. It is about time the legislature got it right with a user paid model for the alternative modes of transport.

    • Terry Parker

      Additionally, some lottery dollars must be allocated to help pay for roads and bridges – such as repairing or replacing the ailing Sellwood Bridge in Portland that carries 30,000 vehicles a day and needs roadway improvements, and for increasing vehicle capacity and safety on the highway portion of the Columbia River Crossing.

  • Bob Clark

    Boy, I braced myself when I opened to read the Democratic agenda but as I finished reading, it didn’t seem very scarey afterall. I guess the devil will be in the detail. With respect to healthcare, I think the biggest single thing the state could do is to allow residents to buy insurance across state lines, opening more competitiveness in healthcare supply. With respect to education, I think it would really help if the state fostered more supplemental education through private venues like tutoring, charter schools, vocational schools, and on-line schooling. The public school system needs some competition.

    I am even encouraged the governor is admitting renewables won’t get Oregonians all the energy they need, and more conventional energy sources need to be evaluated. Then too senate democrats just announced they aren’t going to propose jacking up gasoline taxes.

    Maybe this is mostly a political ploy to get democrats more votes so they can take complete control of the state house and then they will expand govenment rule at an even more stifling pace. Gridlock still seems like something voters should target.

  • Patrick

    “As Oregonians face challenging times, our top priority as Senate Democrats is looking out for Oregon’s middle class and those working hard to get ahead.”

    Yes, and so what exactly happens to you once you do manage to get ahead? Where are the Democrats then and what do they think of you?

    • dean

      Patrick, the answer is we will tax you and use some of the money to help others reach up into the middle class and above. That is how all boats get lifted. If you want to live like a republican, vote for a democrat.

      • Patrick

        “Patrick, the answer is we will tax you and use some of the money to help others reach up into the middle class and above. That is how all boats get lifted. If you want to live like a republican, vote for a democrat.”

        Thanks, but no thanks, Dean. I don’t want, or need, any politician, Democrat or Republican, forcefully taking from me to “use some of the money to help others reach up into the middle class and above.” And, sorry to tell you, but that is not “how all boats get lifted.”

        There is a necessary and important role and need for government, our Founders new this well and did a darn good job of giving us a system that is and has been quite effective for many years but we have come a long way from their original intention of a “limited government”.

        I, like a large number of Americans, voluntarily donate my time and financial resources to help others. There are literally billions of dollars and billions of hours which are donated in this country each and every year for innumerable causes. And, for every dollar that you take from me, that is one less dollar that I have, both to take care of myself and my family, as well as, one less dollar that I have in which I can use to give to an individual or organization of my choosing – one which I believe will effectively use those resources to a positve outcome.

        Your comment leaves me wondering; if you have to force money from people to fund programs because they are not voluntarily funding them, how good are these programs to begin with and are they really necessary?

        Volunteerism works quite well. Unfortunately, Democrats, while they talk a good talk, seem to have little true faith in the American spirit and American generosity. This has been quite evident this week with each of the speech’s given at the Democratic convention. Virtually every speaker has told the story of their lives and the struggles that they and their families have gone through and eventually over come. What was the common method of success? – Hard work, perseverance and independence. In other words, they lived the American dream and succeeded on their own. But now they want to convince you that the American dream is no longer possible, that the candle is burning to its end and is about to go out and they are the ones who are going to save us all with a myriad of new programs and ideas.

        I am so sick of hearing nothing but doom and gloom and how our self esteem has been shattered and that we are all struggling. That is just simply nothing but a bunch of weak minded bunk! Each and every one of us faces struggles and hard ship at some point in our lives and each of use needs help from time to time. However, everyone that I know and every story that I have ever heard told where someone has over come and dealt with hardship has been able to do that because they were mentally strong, disciplined and mature, not because of some governmental program. If they needed help, they got it from family, friends or charitable organizations but the biggest key to their success was their own inner ability to persevere and make it happen. This comes from learning to be disciplined at an early age and learning that, not only is it in your best interest to know how to deal with adversity but it is morally and ethically the right thing to do. Joe Biden’s mother knew this. When he spoke of being roughed up as a young boy by neighborhood kids, his mother did not step in to solve the problem or make things easy for him. No, she sent little Joe back out on the street by himself and told him to bloody a few noses so that he could walk down the street in the future with out fear.

        She knew that life could be hard, that he would face adversity in the future. In order to deal with what life was going to throw at him, he needed to gain the internal strength and discipline to overcome those obstacles.

        Story after story like this has been told over the last few days, yet now, apparently, we can’t take care of ourselves anymore.

        Helping others out from time to time is a necessary and important thing to do. But perhaps we have gone too far with all of our social programs and giving a “hand-up”. Perhaps the best remedy is not to add more failed programs and spend more money but rather remove some of the safety nets and let individuals figure out how to solve some of their problems on their own. Sometimes, failure is an option and a necessary one in order to help individuals grow. As Thomas Edison once said: “I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” What a difference in thinking that is.

        If you really want to help, then allow individuals to keep as much of their financial resources as possible, remove many of the numerous barriers that are now in place which make it so difficult to get things done in this country anymore and do nothing but increase costs, get the government out of the education business – now, do not allow government to get into the health care business and for goodness sake realize that it is not the governments job or its responsibility to create jobs – that is societies responsibility.

        • dean

          Patrick…with due respect we tried your approach. It was called the Bush administration. Time for a change, and yes, if Obama is elected taxes on those earning over $200K per year are going to be raised a bit. Taxes on everyone else will be lowered. Given that over the past 8 years the only Americans who saw an increase in real income were those earning over $200K per year, this semms reasonable.

          Other than that, I agree with much of what you said. My dad gave me the same advice as Biden’s mother did for him. I took it and ended up with my nose broken 5 times, but never my spirit.

          • Patrick

            Sorry to disagree with you again Dean, but we have not tried this approach in a long, long while, at the federal or the state level. In fact, just the opposite is true. I believe one could pose a credible argument, that in certain areas during the Bush years, he tried too hard to help when more of the responsibility should have been born by the individual(s).

            From what I am witnessing , it seems that more and more, people’s response in a time of stress is to first put their hand out and then recoil with immense anger if you dare to say; “No, sorry but that is not the responsibility of government to take care of, that is your responsibility to take care of.” Take a look at the response to SCHIP or the failure of ballot measure 50 – the cigarette tax. Liberals were not just upset, they were angry. Interestingly, when Barack Obama mentioned something along these lines in his speech tonight, the crowd applause died down noticeably.

            With approximately 2/3 of the federal budget going toward social programs, how much more do you want? In Oregon alone, roughly 61-62% of the budget goes toward public education and I am sorry to say, it is a very poor excuse for an education system. Yet you want to tax us more. Sometimes more money is not the solution to a stated problem. Simply piling on more money without first finding the root cause of a supposed problem, analyzing whether there is a real need for a particular agency or organization and whether that organization is truly effective at achieving its stated purpose does nothing but lead to greater problems. But this is the same futile “solution” that you and your liberal allies continuously advocate for.

            What I am still finding very interesting and highly perplexing is, if you agree with most of what I said and your own father gave you similar advice, as would any good parent, why do you advocate otherwise? This is the great contradictory message that I have found to be the central theme running through the Democratic convention. Those same messages are echoed in the state Democratic agenda listed above. This is exactly why I picked out the sentence which states: “As Oregonians face challenging times, our top priority as Senate Democrats is looking out for Oregon’s middle class and those working hard to get ahead.” Who says we need “looking out for”? Are we children? Apparently in the Democratic legislator’s eyes we are.

            If we were to take each line item from the agenda listed above, it would be relatively easy to break each one down and show why they either: 1) are not the responsibility of government, 2) will not work as hoped for (note: that is hoped for, not planned for), or 3) are nothing but fluffy feel good sentences with little to no substance. By the very nature that virtually all of them fall into category 3, we won’t need to spend much time proving numbers 1 & 2. This works at the federal level as well, since most of the topics are the same.

            No Dean, there is a fundamental difference of personalities and philosophies between most liberals and conservatives or Democrats and Republicans, call them what you want. One side simply wants to deal with issues, find solutions and move forward with progress and net positive results. That would be the side that believes in “God, Country & Family”. That side would be the Republican side in case you have gotten confused this week with all the patriot, red tie wearing, traditional family value talk and God Blessing everyone and everything that has gone on during the Democratic convention. The other side however seems only capable of sitting around, having meetings to discuss the fact that they should have yet more meetings and then organize a committee to discuss the next meeting only to come up with answers like, “we need more money” or, “we are simply under funded and just can’t move forward” or, “we can’t take care of all those poor needy people out there without greater funds”. The solution; “If we can’t get them to give us more money through an honest vote, then let’s just go around their backs and impose new taxes on them but call them ‘fees’ so that they don’t realize what they are really paying is in fact a tax. After all, it is for their own good and it’s our responsibility to take care of them.”

            If you don’t believe me, take what I have just stated and then read each item from the agenda. Now, tell me what each and every one of those items needs in order to be accomplished according to the specific way in which they are stated. The short answer: “more money”.

          • dean

            As to the state Democrats program:

            1) Higher education is increassingly not affordable to middle class Oregonians. So yes…we need more funding to help hold down tuition costs.

            2) Health care: the free market for health insurace is broken. So yes, more money is needed here as well unless we are satisfied with hundreds of thousands of Oregonians who can’t afford or get insurance and care.

            3) Yep…more money is needed for our transportation system, unless we are okay with potholes and traffic jams.

            4) And yes….more money needed for these items as well, unless we are satisfied with the status quo. Are you?

            So in your world view, Republicans believe in “God, Country, and Family,” and Democrats do not? Fascinating. You don’t think any of those fighting and dying in Iraq or Afganistan are family people who are also Democrats and believers? Because if that is the case, I truly feel sorry for you, and have no need for further dialogue.

  • I love Pabulum

    THIS is an education agenda? From who, the Democrats?

    If this is the kind of inspiration we can expect from the Senate R’s, they richly deserve to be in the permanent minority.

    What happened to standing for REFORM? What a load of complete bullshit. High quality professional development? Expand head start?

    Great job, Ferrioli.

    We are so screwed.

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