Governor Kitzhaber’s socialist, environmental agenda

Jeff Kruse

by Sen. Jeff Kruse (R-Roseburg)

During the time the Governor has been in control of the education system, Oregon has been in a downward spiral

We are just a couple of weeks away from the beginning of Oregon’s 78th Legislative Assembly. Here are some relevant facts. The Democrats have an 18 to 12 majority in the Senate, which means they could pass anything they want including taxes without Republican support. The Democrats have a 35 to 25 majority in the House, which means they would have to have one Republican vote for tax increases. As a Republican this could be very challenging, especially in light of the Governor’s socialist, environmental agenda.

My personal schedule will be quite challenging. I am vice chair of both the Health Care and Judiciary Committees and I am also a member of the Education Committee and the Joint Measure 91 Committee (which is the committee dealing with marijuana).

The Governor made some interesting references in his State of the State Address Monday. He started out with references to his parents and the “greatest generation”. He talked about the good things government has done, such as the interstate road system, which I think everyone can agree was a good thing. The problem is this Governor believes that government should be involved in all aspects of our lives, and that is where he and I part ways.

One example would be his proposed budget for the K-12 system. He is proposing and 11% increase, but none of the increase is going into the classroom. The majority is going into his “early learning hubs”, which is designed to get schools involved with kids as early as age three. For those who can remember the 1970’s and Jane Fonda’s “womb to the tomb” speeches, this is where we are headed. The reality is that during the time the Governor has been in control of the education system, Oregon has been in a downward spiral. My hope is that we will be able to change directions, but it will be a challenge.

One of the things that happened Monday during the Opening Ceremonies was the first reading of all the pre-session filed bills. I have not had time yet to take a look at all of them, but should have a pretty good idea of what is on the agenda by February 2nd when we start for real. I know we are going to see a very aggressive environmental agenda, and my hope is we might be able to stop some of the worst of that agenda.

Two good examples would be the low carbon standards extension and the carbon tax, two of the many issues we will face to “deal with global warming”. On the front end of all these discussions is a fact that continues to be ignored, even though it is an actual, measurable fact. As you listen to all of these debates I want you to keep this fact in mind. If we stopped all human activity in the state of Oregon, the impact on the global climate would not be measurable.  There are scientific measurements to back this up, but from a logical perspective the population data reaffirms the science. Oregon contains 1% of the population of the United States and the US population is 3% of the world population. Clearly anything we would do would be symbolic at best.

What we should be focused on is the impact on our economy, which is not doing that well to start with. At the very least we are talking about a significant increase in the cost of fuel, which would impact all of us, especially our agriculture and other business sectors. We continue to hear talk from this administration about how jobs are a priority, but so far the only thing they have been good at is creating more government jobs.

I expect the carbon issues to come before us early in the Session, and the outcome may give us a feel for how the entire Session will go.