By Taxpayers Association of Oregon
For 10 years the Taxpayers Association of Oregon has been creating political cartoons, graphics and memes on Governor Brown.
For us it first started way back in in 2013 when Kate Brown was Secretary of State where she was disqualifying people’s petition signatures with confusing and arbitrary rules designed to make it harder for people to use the initiative petition process. We showed how awful these rules would look like if they applied to the Declaration of Independence.
When Gov. Brown became governor she quickly became known for evading the press.
Gov. Brown pledged to be more transparent than the anti-transparent Governor John Kitzhaber who resigned in a scandal. Our cartoon proved correct (unfortunately) as Brown became less transparent — even forcing the resignation of the state’s top transparency official as a protest against Governor Brown interfering with her job.
Governor Brown handled with massive PERS debt (teetering near bankruptcy) by blocking any effort at meaningful reform.
There were so many top staff scandals that the Taxpayers Association made a scandal bingo card completely filled out.
But then the scandals kept coming and we ran out of space on the bingo card.
We came across this amazing quote where in 2002, Governor Brown said it wasn’t the right time to fix government PERS pensions. It was $4 billion debt at that time. By 2017, it grew to $22 billion and * STILL * she refused to deal with it. It was a shinning example of how empty her words were and how financially corrupt and mismanaged the State of Oregon had become.
Oregon allows private vendor companies to donate to politicians and then lobby to get massive taxpayer funded government contracts back. This is illegal in many states, but not Oregon.
This below is so typical of broken Oregon politics. Gov. Brown gets heat for voting for a massive tax on small business. So as a face-saving measure, weeks later she calls for a special one-day session to pass a tiny small business tax break. A complete media scam. We love our punchline at the bottom.
Gov. Brown helped approve so many taxes in a short time, we decided to turn it into a game show. (Notice her hat).
Gov. Brown and others supported a Carbon Tax that would have the effect of raising gas taxes by 72-cents. This would serious hurt would rural Oregon, so supporters tinkered with an absurd idea to give poor rural Oregonians government vouchers to use as an offset for high gas prices caused by the Carbon Tax. Once again, Oregon lawmaking has become a big media scam. (notice that one voucher landed on the homeless guy’s forehead. We love attention to comedic detail).
Speaking of the Carbon Tax. Gov. Brown wanted Oregon to follow California in passing a Carbon Tax. It just happened to be at the time that California, by one measure, was rated as the #1 poverty state in America. (I love our note at the cartoon bottom “Let’s follow California into the abyss of success”)
Once again, government pension (PERS) was in the news. It had ballooned to $26 billion in debt. We compared how Gov. Brown financially screws up our State’s Pension system is very similar to how a teenager goes into debt.
During Governor Brown’s tenure she kept declaring emergencies as a reason to raise taxes and rush through taxes with as little public debate as possible. Much of the worst taxes in the Legislature are passed during the final few weeks of Session when the Legislature is under a rushed emergency mode where public notices are shortened and public participation is severely limited. Basically, most of the Legislative Session is for public show until the final few weeks where the key decisions, big budget items and key taxes are rushed out in record speed.
We chronicled 10 ways that Gov. Brown and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler gave into demands of Portland rioters. Yet, surprise! – – they still rioted!
Most people don’t know this, but the Forestry Department made big headlines for being underfunded the year before Oregon’s historic 2020 wildfires. Liberal politicians like to let agencies they dislike (police, forestry, prisons) grow weak, until it explodes in their face and then they are forced to do something about it.
After the disastrous 2020 pandemic, Gov. Brown put in her 2021 budget ideas plans for all kinds of tax increases as if their was no pandemic or business shutdown. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler did the same. It shows how politicians are completely removed form the suffering of ordinary taxpayers and small businesses.
Don’t forget how Biden and Congress showered billions in Covid funds on Oregon, only to have Oregon raise taxes (small business, cell taxes, gas taxes) anyways.
In 2021, Gov. Brown signed a bill increasing small business taxes by 17% while at the same time signing a bill to cut taxes exclusively for Oregon’s top income earners.
When Gov. Brown signed a 17% small business tax increase, the tax was retroactive to the beginning of the year, which was important because businesses were restricted in accepting customers over Covid rules at the time. So in effect, Gov. Brown was taxing a small businesses at the same time she was telling them they couldn’t fully operate their business. It was so cold and indifferent to business owners.
Oregon was among the final four states to fully re-open by eliminating indoor mask mandates in 2022. Sadly, we saw countless business closings and a serious population decline where people began leaving the state in large numbers.
Gov. Brown shut down businesses during Omnicron, not because of reported cases or case deaths, but because as she said at the time it was because there was not enough room in hospitals to handle the cases (which were less lethal). Hospitals had the actual rooms, but not the staff. Instead of tapping more into the billions in Covid funds from Congress on helping hospitals expand capacity by adding health care workers, Gov. Brown and lawmakers blew it on projects unrelated to Covid and even put $1.2 billion in a slush fund to spend later. Simply put, Oregon could have used Covid funds to improve hospital care and therefore eliminate the need to shut down the economy. That is what other states did. Not Oregon. In Oregon, the politicians punished small businesses while the politicians themselves had fun spending the Covid dollars on pet projects. Furthermore, not helping expand hospital staffing resulted in more chaos at the hospitals which produced mass resignations among health care workers.
Gov. Brown released 1,000 criminals early. She even let criminals get vaccinated before seniors. 100% of Oregon’s prison inmates were vaccinated before 50% of seniors were.
Governor Brown, on more than one occasion, was seen not following her own Covid rules. (yes, the outdoor photo below was in July 2020 when there was an outdoor mask mandate)
In private, Governor Brown was spotted without a mask, but in public, Governor Brown showcased her snow-globe mask as a charity act. This is an actual photo.
Governor Kate Brown flew to Europe for Climate conference, costing taxpayers over $17,000. Brown flew while there were travel advisories, recommending not to travel for ordinary Oregonians. The image below is of a man who arrested for visiting a public beach during Covid, reminding us all that people were arrested for the crime of visiting a public beach.
Gov. Brown and then House Speaker Kotek were very successful at soaking Oregon businesses for more money.
When Gov. Brown failed to pass a Carbon Tax, she did what all corrupt politicians do, she went around the people’s elected lawmakers and used her power as Governor by ordering a handful of state agencies to enact portions of the Carbon Tax by Executive Order. No public hearing or public vote was needed.
Just as Oregon began announcing that the state would see more blackouts (due to wildfire prevention, grid vulnerabilities, forced coal plant shutdown), Gov. Brown continued to spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars subsidizing electric cars. The message was contradictory: Government is passing laws making electricity more rare while spending millions subsidizing electric cars making electricity more in demand, more unavailable and the grid more prone to blackouts. Gov. Brown’s DEQ even banned gas car sales by 2035.
Governor Brown and then House Speaker Kotek had many years of record breaking budget growth and were able to double the size of the budget in just around 10 years.
By the way, in case you don’t believe us, here is the chart we created to show you how State Government doubled in just 10 years.
The reason Gov. Brown doesn’t fix the government pension (PERS) crisis is because it is a sweetheart deal for politicians on PERS. They get a guaranteed 7.5% on their stock/bond investments even if we are in a recession and stocks/bonds plummet. Politicians get guaranteed returns similar to a Ponzi scheme. In this case, taxpayers are forced to have their taxes go up to pay for it because it is a protected goverment contract.
Gov. Brown without notifying crime victim families gave commutations to every single person on death row. The death row inmates are all spared from the death penalty which was approved by voters and put into the Constitution and many of the inmates didn’t even ask for it.
“I personally created all of these 10 years of cartoons, memes and graphics on Governor Brown that you see above. I worked with many different artists in order to maximize our ability to educate, inform and enlighten Oregonians by using the tools of comedy and visuals. I never expected this to be part of my job … then again I never expected Governor Brown to be so boundary-busting corrupt. I made a personal effort to keep the comedy clean, professional and funny so people could not dismiss it or deny its core truths. Needless to say, this 10 years of work took a lot of time and money. The various artists I used put me as their most high-maintenance customer because I kept adjusting each graphic endlessly so we could maximize the joke and impact. I feel deeply responsible for Oregon and I feel like there is no room for the fiscal conservative movement to make mistakes or produce second-best products — the stakes are too high. As said, it took a lot of time and money (we didn’t even show our Kulongoski and Kitzhaber cartoons spanning 20 years). If you value this, then please consider making a small donation to the Taxpayers Association of Oregon below. I am the founder. This is my life’s work to help protect vulnerable taxpayer families who are over-taxed and protect their civil liberties in this state.”
— Jason Williams
Executive Director and Founder (1999)
Taxpayers Association of Oregon