By Taxpayer Association of Oregon
You are free to vote in the 19th Annual Taxpayer Awards.
Here are the nominees…
WORST GOVERNMENT WASTE
• $1.4 Million for politicians’ sex harassment payouts: Oregon lawmakers racked up more $1.4 million in sexual harassment payouts and passed the bill on to taxpayers. Even worse, the Human Resources director who failed to protect and did not properly act on the harassed employees’ concerns was rewarded with a $12,000-a-month job working from home. Oregonian 5/22/19, Malheur Enterprise 3/21/19
• $161 million to move 860 people (WES train): Cascade Policy Institute revealed that the Westside Express Service train ($161 million to build) moves only 850 people daily. It costs taxpayers 4.5 times more to ride this train than if they took a bus. Unlike buses the WES train stops all traffic both ways as it crosses city streets, creating traffic jams. We spent $161 million to increase both travel costs and congestion. Portland Tribune 7/18/19
• $12 million to failing, fraudulent business tied to disgraced Gov. Kitzhaber: Tax dollars went to Rough & Ready Sawmill despite warning signs such as ineligible costs, unprofessional handwritten budgets, violations within the application, fraudulent finances, and estimates the company was “doomed to fail.” One state agency’s excuse was that it’s not allowed to ask detailed financial questions of the private companies that receive free taxpayer dollars. The deal was arranged by then-Gov. Kitzhaber and a private nonprofit, Ecotrust, (which has steered more than $100 million in tax dollars to private businesses). Ecotrust failed to notify officials of an unlawful $5 million loan the failing company gave itself, which padded its finances and allowed it to qualify for more tax hand-outs. Since the scandal exploded, Ecotrust rewarded Kitzhaber with a private paid consultant job. Oregonian 9/5/18
• $25,000 Trump T-shirt expulsion: Hillsboro’s Liberty High School had to apologize and pay a $25,000 fine for unlawfully expelling a student for wearing a “Trump Border Wall Construction Company” T-shirt. Oregonian 7/24/18
• Housing traumatized kids in former prisons: After housing foster kids in local hotels and government offices resulted in outrage and lawsuits, state child welfare workers then created a new scandal by moving these formerly traumatized and abused children into former prisons. Oregonian 3/15/19
• Protecting sea lions as they wipe out endangered salmon: Because wildlife officials cannot kill ‘endangered’ sea lions, which are decimating salmon populations, they’re forced to spend incredible resources capturing and moving sea lions to new locations. Over $8 billion has been spent trying to protect Northwest salmon but they’re chief predator cannot be harmed. Daily Astorian 6/8/18, Taxpayers for Common Sense 2/9/09
(Government sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong)
• State mandate to eliminate parking spaces by 10%: Oregon’s land-use agency (LCDC) is demanding cities send regular reports to its state office detailing each city’s efforts to eliminate parking spaces by 10% and reduce city driving by 5%. Bend Bulletin 7/27/18
• Fishing contest ban. Senator Dembrow introduced a bill making it a $6,250.00 crime to engage in a fishing contest. — Senate bill 723
• $500.00 fine for offering a straw, plastic fork, or ketchup packet to a customer. Portland passed a law making it a crime punishable by a $500 fine if a restaurant offers its customers a plastic straw, plastic utensils, or condiment without explicit permission from the customer. OPB 9/29/19
WORST POLITICIANS OF 2019
• Governor Kate Brown—Corruption Queen: An Oregon public records advocate resigned after the governor tried to censor, intimidate, and pressure her to work against transparency legislation and the duties of her office. Oregonian 9/13/19
When it was discovered that politicians lied about the effects of a crime bill (SB 1013), which resulted in 28 of 29 death-row criminals receiving an expected pardon from capital punishment, both lawmakers and the media demanded a revote. But Governor Brown refused to call a special session. Last year Brown called a special one-day session to pass a single bill relating to business, but she refused this year to provide the same courtesy to her fellow lawmakers and to the families of crime victims to fix the crime bill mistake. Oregonian 8/24/19
During the final weeks of Governor Brown’s election campaign, a child died under the care of a state-licensed facility—a death that might have affected election outcomes given that, months earlier, an official state audit detailed scandalous problems with the governor’s handling of the state’s foster care system. Instead of releasing news of the boy’s death within days, the state hid it for six months. When the death finally was made public, the date of the death was withheld. On the day the boy died, the governor’s office even created a press statement in case the boy’s death was leaked to the public.
• Senator Mark Hass—a human factory of new taxes: Hass co-authored and passed the largest tax in Oregon history (the $2.6 billion business sales tax) and then voted for additional bills making it harder for the public to repeal the same tax in the future. Hass has been the loudest voice on plans to raid the people’s Income Tax Kicker Refund, which provided taxpayers with an average $227 refund in 2017 and will likely provide a $370 refund in 2020.
Last year, Hass supported a $1.7 billion business tax that only affected small businesses. If passing taxes was an Olympic sport, Mark Hass would be Michael Phelps.
• Senator Michael Dembrow—Father of Carbon Tax monster: Dembrow authored the nation’s most expensive carbon tax, which increases gas prices by 22 cents and utility prices by 53 percent. The tax threat triggered a massive walkout by Senate Republicans and some of the largest Capitol protests in Oregon history (#TimberUnity), which ultimately derailed the nefarious tax scheme. Dembrow admits that carbon taxes disproportionately hit the poor, leading to higher prices for gas, utilities, and grocery prices, so he offered rebates and voucher credits for people with low incomes and those who lost their jobs to a carbon tax.
Dembrow was also chief sponsor of a bill to ban fishing and duck-hunting contests. (House Bill 2020, Senate Bill 723)
WORST POLITICAL QUOTES
• “Let ’em leave. Someone else’ll come in.”
After a near century-old timber company made headlines by moving out of Oregon due to lawmakers passing the largest tax in state history ($2.6 billion), Manning coldly and heartlessly dismissed the 60 laid-off timber employees by saying, “Let ’em leave. Someone else’ll come in.” Despite Manning’s promise that more jobs will flood into Oregon to replace those taxed into bankruptcy, the record shows that job growth this year is 72% below the previous four years. More than 3,000 mass layoffs have occurred since Manning made his promise and passed the $2.6 billion tax.
• “…applies to aggravated murder cases going forward.”
Williamson stated that Senate Bill 1013, which guts most death-penalty qualifications approved by voters, would remove the death penalty only for new criminals convicted after the bill’s passage. However, after the bill became law, that was discovered to be a bald-faced lie. Roughly 28 of 29 murderers, child abusers, and other criminals on death row will likely be spared capital punishment because of SB1013. Politicians are now lying outright on the legislative record and in media interviews to pass laws the public dislikes.
• “Revenge is a dish best served cold and slowly”
After Brown’s $600 million Carbon Tax was defeated by a Republican Senate walkout, she issued this revenge quote to a reporter and threatened to veto spending projects in those lawmakers’ districts despite bipartisan support for those projects.
Ways to help us:
You can use your Oregon Political Tax Credit to donate to the Taxpayer Association of Oregon PAC to help fund the election of pro-taxpayer candidates and to help defeat those politicians that endlessly raise your taxes. Donate here.
You can also make a tax deductible charitable donation to the Taxpayer Foundation which helps fund our investigations into government waste, fraud and abuse. Donate here. The Foundation can accept all forms of gifts including estate, vehicles and stock.