Kitzhaber speech: 4 items reveal where we are going

capitool2.serendipityThumbBy Taxpayer Association of Oregon

Governor Kitzhaber gave his state of the State speech kicking off the 2013 Legislative Session on Monday. Here are four brief notes.

1. First issue: The first issue referenced in the Governor’s speech was “gun violence”. Coincidentally, at the same time Portland’s new mayor also made calls for gun control laws (not to mention President Obama). This is just another sign that gun control will be a defining issue of 2013 for Oregon.

2. PERS courage: Kitzhaber deserves great credit for addressing in his speech Oregon’s $16 billion Public pension deficit (PERS) problem head on. In way there is no other choice in light of pension costs driving Californian and other cities into bankruptcies. Some unions are indeed willing to drive a government or their company off the cliff just to cleave to an imbalanced payout system – just ask Hostess the makers of Twinkies.
Kitzhaber said of PERS.

“ It is simply about trying to have a conversation that allows us to strike a balance between the cost of our retirement system and ability to put dollars in the classroom today” and also“I am well aware that my proposal to cap the cost-of-living adjustment for PERS retirees is controversial.”

3. Raising taxes: Governor Kitzhaber said

“I am prepared to work with you to pursue opportunities to boost revenue. It is easy to aggregate the billions of tax dollars now going out in credits, incentives and deductions. It is more difficult to find opportunities for significant revenue. However, I think a compelling case can be made to reconsider and reassess the policies of the past in light of current fiscal realities and the need to make a significant reinvestment in public education and in other crucial public services. I would include the Senior Medical Deduction; the level of state deductibility of federal Schedule A income; and the possibility of capping total deductions and credits as areas worth further discussion.”

Translation = Expect to see efforts to raise a possible billion dollars by removing tax credit and deductions a s a back door way of raising taxes. Senior citizens and their health care also are the target of tax increases for higher earners.

4. Prisoners set free: Governor Kitzhaber said,

“…the relentless growth in the Department of Corrections is one of the major reasons we cannot adequately invest in education; or in community corrections…There is an opportunity here to find alternative and effective ways to sanction non-violent offenders, invest in proven crime prevention and community corrections strategies instead of additional prison beds.”

Translation = He plans to set criminals free as a cost saving measure.

It is quite unfair to always pin the problem of government spending on such a smaller factor in the budget (prisons) by comparison when you consider locking up violent criminals is among the single most important duties of government.

– How about you? 
– Where do you think we are going?
– Vote your opinion on the Legislature Prediction poll (Right side of this webpage)

  • Well, everyone knows that at least in every prison in America, there is the potential to have people in prison who have no business being there. I AM all for prison sentencing reform. We need it. And God only knows that only through this way will law abiding citizens be set free. It is high time!

  • Sprintrider

    We are in fiscal trouble. But I will not support a tax increase until an actual reduction in spending happens. Too often, say every time, taxes have been raised with the promise of reductions in spending to come later. So I say reduce the outflow first to lower the income/outflow gap and then raise taxes to meet the reduction.

    • David from Mill City

      What do you want to see cut? And are you willing to work to see that those cuts are made? If you do not have a list of cuts, and are not willing to work for them you are part of the problem. Nothing government does, did not at some point in the past, get the approval of a majority of the legislature. So if you don’t like it work to change it. Other wise quit your complaining.

  • Ballistic45

    When a family looses some income its first priority is to cut cost, the bigger the loss the deeper the cuts.. They don’t start those cuts with shelter, food, heat.. No they cut out the frills, add ons they have grown use to… Like cable bill, Gym membership, multiple cell phones on a bill and yes even monthly donations to needy organizations.. And unlike Government families cannot demand more income from employers… Government is man’s greatest enemy, it is NEVER satisfied with what it receives and always demands more from some group or another.. As Government grows it does so with the demand that the Governed have less rights to control it..

    • David from Mill City

      One man’s frill is another man’s essential. That is the very root of our ongoing budget crises. Just as there are those who believe in a strong national defense there are those who believe we should have almost no military at all. That is why crafting a budget is an art and not a science.

      But the time is long past to talk vaguely of “frills” and “essentials” but rather to speak of specific new revenues, programs to cut or eliminate and those to protect. In the final analysis the final budget will reflect the efforts of those who directly or indirectly work on it. So if you have preferences now is the time to make them. Other wise quit your complaining.

      • Ballistic45

        I’ll complain all I F**king want.. I’m am sick of Politicians always cutting essential services FIRST before cutting their own perks.. The purpose of this ploy is to shove the cuts in the face of taxpayers.. To make taxpayers suffer rather than their own pet projects that gain votes for themselves. I say Cut redundant personnel in the State Capital, How many service personnel does the Capital Really need? How many vehicles does the capital need? How many new electronic gadgets does the Capital Need? Talk about Fare Share that the Rich and Businesses Owe, how about doing random drug test on welfare recipients, give them 3 strikes of coming up dirty and they are out of welfare support. How about doing inspections on government paid housing, cut benefits if undo damage is noted to property.. HOW about those on welfare reporting to work to benefit community projects which will keep the WORK ethic alive within them and open the door to possible employment from contacts they make while working? How about welfare recipients BLING like gold jewellery, diamonds, big screen tv’s, Ipods, game consoles, fancy rims and tires on vehicles etc being confiscated and sold to reimburse the State? We can call it ‘Taxation by Confiscation’ or ‘Sharing the Bling’ as THEIR fair share.. Cut State Employee Benefits, cut Union Power within the State.. Reduce funding to State EPA and Water Resources board that is nothing more than puppet agencies to the Liberal agenda of Control.. Cut all funds and Benefits to Illegal Aliens.. This is just a start….

        • valley person

          Random drug testing would COST money, not SAVE money.

          Government hiring unemployed people who can’t find work in the private sector is a great idea and I’m all for it, but it costs MORE than handing them a check because they will also need training, tools, supervisors, vehicles to get to job sites, and more.

          • Ballistic45

            I’m not advocating hiring anyone, I’m advocating putting those who get paid to set on their ass on welfare to be REQUIRED to do community work, like in soup kitchens, cleaning the homes of other welfare recipients who are elderly and cannot work, help in Government offices to do filing or cleaning or anything to take the load off personnel, teacher helpers, tot do something to give back to the community that is paying to support them and their families…

          • Ballistic45

            If employers can afford to do drug test to get a job and random ones to keep a job, then this State can afford do them to insure public funds are not going to replace money spent on drug habits which will force better care of kids living in Welfare homes with drug addiction.. Just maybe adults with kids on welfare would have more to loose if found dirty in a drug test.. Loosing both welfare and possibly their kids… Time they do THEIR FARE SHARE…

  • David from Mill City

    Hopefully the Oregon Legislature will stay off the gun ban band wagon and spend its time on matters that can make a real difference. One of which is our entire criminal justice system. It costs serious money to arrest, try and confine a criminal. We need to do two things, first starting from scratch, look at all our laws and make sure that we still want or need them, then look at the penalties that is attached to each to evaluate if it is appropriate, effective in a crime prevention/ punishment sense and is cost effective And based on those findings revise the penal code. Then based on that adjust our law enforcement, courts and penal system.

    The other is to examine all of the crime reduction/ prevention programs that are out there and select some of those that are likely to be effective in Oregon and fully implement them. In the long haul money spent on crime prevention reduces the cost of operating a criminal justice system, but it takes time, the benefits in some cases may be years away. So for a while we will need to fund both.

  • There is already have a catch & release system for drug violaters. Is Oregon now going to release murders, bank & store felons? The Governor will try to take away guns from law abiding citizens so they can not protect themselves from home invasion? Oregon is going to be a dangerous place to live.

  • valley person

    Why is “gun violence” in quote? Is people getting shot, 30,000 a year in the US, simply a figment of our imagination?