Visiting the first day of Legislative Session was nice. The Governor’s state of the state speech was a big improvement from his 2005 speech where he undermined measures voters have approved. His speech still had many horrible components. Here are some exerpts:
SPEECH: “There is nothing wrong with setting limits”.
Did he mean spending limits? term limits? regulatory limits? No, the governor was talking about limits on our environmental impact and more government involvement. Setting limits was the exact opposite of his speech as the governor called for more government at every turn.
SPEECH: “Government has an important role to play in my vision of shared responsibility. For Oregonians who simply cannot care for themselves, the only morally acceptable choice is for government to lend a helping hand.”
Shared responsibility was a main theme. Shared responsibility does not include government. If it did, the governor would be calling on his agencies to become more efficient and effective at delivering human services so service could improve without more taxes or regulations. The only “shared responsibility” government has is to expand to fit new wishes and for taxpayers to pick-up the tab. Notice how Kulongoski says for those in trouble that the “ONLY morally acceptable choice” is government. What ever happened to private charities? I am not nit-picking, but rather revealing a flawed “government first” philosophy. In reality, it should be families, churches and charities to be the first to help people in trouble. If they can’t do it — government is a valuable back-up. When government barges in with help it often does so with benefits that lack the accountability, responsiveness and compassion that private charities better provide.
SPEECH: What is the business community’s shared responsibility to make the most of this moment of opportunity for Oregon? I have traveled across this state calling for Oregon business leaders to be the strongest advocates for raising the corporate minimum tax and placing the corporate kicker in a reserve fund.
Shared responsibility? Business is being asked to bear 100% of the responsibility by paying twice in more taxes. Government is asked to sacrifice nothing! If government had waste limits or took responsibility to become more effective it would have more money and ability to implement the things he is asking businesses to pay.
SPEECH: The same is true for health care. Every Oregon child — up to age 19 — needs, deserves, and must have health insurance. On this issue, the age-old questions still apply: If not now, when? And if not us, who? Insuring all children is the beginning, not the end, of our health care challenge.
Kulongoski’s repeated call for universal free health care for all kids comes without a single solitary constructive idea on how to get there without the predictable avalanche of new taxes and bureaucracy. Why not improve the system we have now, instead of placing more broken promises upon a broken system.
On the bright side, Kulongoski’s speech was a big improvement. His historical references and salute to our troops was moving. Yet his calls for limits and shared responsibility gave government a free pass while asking taxpayers to do all the heavy work.