Wasteful Spending, Pork Barrel Politics Won’t Rescue Oregon’s Economy

The following is a press release from Rep. Bruce Hanna’s office.

House Republican Leader Bruce Hanna (R-Roseburg) today said the spending package being pushed by Democratic leadership would take money away from education, public safety, human services and other vital programs. While the package increases debt and doubles the costs of routine projects, it would yield too few short-term jobs to impact Oregon’s failing economy.

“This package is being sold as economic stimulus, but it actually hurts our schools, our State Police and services that Oregonians need to survive this recession,” Rep. Hanna said. “This package will cost between $17 to $19 million General Fund in 2009-11, and millions more in the years to come. Democrats haven’t indicated what they will cut or what taxes they will raise to pay for it.”

Rep. Hanna asked, “how many seniors are going to lose their in-home care to pay for routine short-term projects, which should have been funded when the state had billions in new revenue?”

Rep. Hanna said the package currently stands at $175 million, and it continues to grow as Democratic leadership continues to dole out pork to members’ districts. The package increases state debt, doubling the costs of routine, short-term maintenance projects over 15 years.

“This package doubles the costs of typical items and projects that normally only last a day or two,” Rep. Hanna said. “Instead of paying $100,000 for freezer lights at the state prison, taxpayers will pay $200,000; instead of paying $50,000 to pull shrubs on state land, taxpayers will pay $100,000. Oregonians wouldn’t think doubling the costs of installing light bulbs and pulling shrubs is a wise use of their tax dollars.”
Rep. Hanna said the package provides no guarantees that dollars spent would stay in local economies. In some cases, the projects would require contractors from outside the targeted communities, and a few may even require contractors from out of state. Furthermore, many projects require parts and supplies likely to be produced in other countries.

“Democrats say there’s nothing else that can be done to create jobs, but this is not true,” Rep. Hanna said. “We have proposed a plan that would pump more dollars back into the economy, support all small businesses and create 37,000 jobs. There’s also the Western Oregon Plan Revision that would create thousands of jobs in rural Oregon, but Democratic leaders want to block that, too. I will continue to say that wasteful spending and pork-barrel politics will not rescue our state’s poor economy.”