Speaking Truth to Power about Tax Increases and PERS

The cost of Oregon’s Public Employees Retirement System is about
to skyrocket to budget-busting levels.
The Oregonian, Oct. 24, 2009

When will a prominent Oregon politician stand up and say what California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer (D) recently told his legislature?

Steve Buckstein is founder and senior policy analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research center.

  • Anonymous

    When? When you ask? There’s not one, not one, with a hair on his fanny in Oregon. Not one!

  • Rupert in Springfield

    I like his point about these nitwits who vote for something just to move it along and to get along with the group. I don’t really know what that is all about but it is such a nonsensical reasoning process that I think there must be something about the entire legislative cadre mentality that develops in office. Is it that they feel like if they are the lone person holding something up then their fellow legislators will not be friends with them? I really think that might be it.

    For example, when Olympia Snow voted to report the health care bill out of committee she seemed to be saying she had big disagreements with it but wanted to move the process along. What the hell is that?

    Sure people might like you for going along to get along but these people were not elected to go hang out together and make new friends. Legislatures are not Face Book.

    Refining a product or discontinuing one is just as important as issuing new products. If legislators want to look at legislation as their end product, then perhaps they need a more circumspect view in that regard. Passing things along just to get them off the table is something any semi trained baboon could do. It hardly requires any intellect and it would be nice if those who ran so hard for the jobs they now hold could apply themselves a little bit more than has been demonstrated by past performance. California is a model of the results of passing along to get along. People are sick of it and clearly are not willing to pay more taxes there in order to underwrite a friendship club.

    • v person

      “For example, when Olympia Snow voted to report the health care bill out of committee she seemed to be saying she had big disagreements with it but wanted to move the process along. What the hell is that?”

      Its not complex. The issue had been argued to death in committee, she felt she had gotten as much as she could there and the majority votes were for moving on, so she agreed to take it to the next level at which she might better prevail on her points. She apparently calculated that a yes vote would give her more influence at the next level as the sole Republican willing to do business with the Democrats. A no vote would have resulted in zero influence.

  • Bill Sizemore

    Most legislators, even the least talented ones who couldn’t get a decent job in the private sector, are told by slick, high dollar lobbyists starting their first day in office that they are governor material. That line is just a way for smooth talking lobbyists to become ingratiated with gullible legislators.

    From that day on, the mediocre legislator, who already holds visions of grandeur based on all of the other mediocre people he or she has seen in statewide office, begins to vote carefully, so as to maintain statewide electability, which means drawing a sufficient number of votes out of Multnomah County and not ticking off the public employee unions.

    And just like that, you have a building full of ambitious legislators who are not willing to buck the system or make waves and thus, as Rupert said above, they go along to get along.

    It seems that the only legislators willing to stick their neck out are the ones without political ambitions and unfortunately there are not all that many of those. This attitude is pervasive with Democrat legislators, but is not uncommon with Republicans.

    If you go back to 1981, the year after state workers allegedly gave up a pay raise in exchange for the PERS pick-up, you will see that the governor gave those same workers an average raise of 15.35 percent in just one year. That’s almost two and a half times the average private sector pay raise that year. And that governor was a Republican. And when voters voted to end the PERS pick-up and 8 percent guaranteed rate of return, it was that Republican former governor who signed on as the lead plaintiff to overturn the vote of the people.

    It is easier to be liked than to do the right thing and wanting to be liked and thus more electable is a common weakness among legislators. Besides, it’s not real money they’re giving away, just taxpayer money.


      And you? You thought you were “governor material.” ( I did vote for you, however-however)

      • Harry

        Sizemore is far more ‘gov material’ than Govs Kulo, Kitz, Sax, Mannix or the other folks out there. He lays it out in plain speak, calling it as it is (which really upsets the unions). AND, he is not afraid to go after the Elephant in the room, the unions. Everybody else is afraid (myself included, just look at the $hit he has had to endure) of the unions.

        • Duck fan

          Yes, Sizemore was great gov material, he got slaughtered worse than any other Republican I can remember. More of this is just what the Oregon Republicans need.

    • Duck fan

      Talk about a guy who absurdly overestimates his abilities. Bill Sizemore! And I wouldn’t go to him don’t go to him for legal advice, I’ll tell you. What a loser!

  • Major Spinkel

    I think Bill has a good point.
    And he would have done a much better job as gov than this Ted guy.
    Of course, almost anyone could.
    Worst ever gov in the history of the state.