Of the things we need to worry about in the Pacific Northwest, the cost of electricity isn’t one of them. We are ground zero for the deregulation of wholesale electricity prices and our region enjoys the lowest in the country.
Of course, our electric bills could be even lower. Oregon’s renewable portfolio standards have imposed nontrivial costs on ratepayers, but our power prices still remain lower than other states that lack such misguided policies.
Something remarkable happened in British Columbia this week that will help guarantee an oversupply of electricity into our grid. The Horgan government approved completion of the Site C dam on the Peace River. This is probably the biggest economic development that will affect the Oregon economy that you’ve likely never heard of. Continue reading →
Business Development Manager Rob Reynolds, longtime Clackamas County resident seeks to represent Fifth District in Majority Party in Congress
Oregon City, Ore — Rob Reynolds longtime Clackamas County Resident and business manager announces his campaign to represent overlooked Oregonians.
Rob’s main issues are representing the will of the voters which includes an economy that thrives with living wage jobs, a tax-code that is fair and works for our hard-working Oregonians, and healthcare access that allows people to use HSA’s and other networks to reduce the cost of healthcare.
This morning’s CNN top headline “The end of the net as we know it” is one of the most biased and misrepresented headlines I have seen in a while. Ending the internet as we know is meant to sound like Armageddon is approaching if net neutrality is repealed. Continue reading →
“The Democratic Senator from Alabama” is a strange thing to hear in the 21st century. Since Jeff Sessions original election to the Senate in 1996, the United State’s Senate delegation from Alabama has been very reliably Republican. But that all changed the other night in the wake of the Alabama special election, when Democrat Doug Jones eeked out a victory over Republican Roy Moore. So what can Republicans learn from this very very strange election? Here are a few takeaways. Continue reading →
Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) was recently sentenced to five years in prison for fraud involving over $800,000, According to The Washington Post:
“Corrine Brown, a former longtime United States representative from Florida, was sentenced to five years in prison on Monday for operating a fraudulent charity that she used for more than $300,000 in personal expenses, including tickets for N.F.L. games and a Beyoncé concert.
“A federal judge handed down the sentence in a Jacksonville, Fla., courtroom, excoriating Ms. Brown, 71, for abusing her powerful position in the House of Representatives for “entitlement and greed” to support a lavish lifestyle. Ms. Brown, a Democrat who represented parts of Jacksonville and northern Florida for nearly a quarter-century, must surrender to the authorities next month.
“’Brazen barely describes it,’ the judge, Timothy J. Corrigan of United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, said of Ms. Brown’s sham charity.”
The same tactic was used by Democrats in 2016, when the Oregon Legislature passed a complex energy bill that was drafted behind closed doors and passed with almost no public input, in the space of three weeks. Not a single legislator understood what the bill actually would do because many sections, including those dealing with billions of dollars of utility assets, were never discussed. Continue reading →
Washington State’s Grant County Public Utility District has very low electricity rates. Responding to this basic commodity price, a great arbitrage is underway in a relatively poor rural county. Its cheap power is being used to create cybergold.
Bitcoin mining is basically an open-source record keeping service that’s rewarded by issuing the record keeper with newly issued bitcoins. Requiring a significant amount of computer processing power, and thus a lot of electricity, miners keep the blockchain consistent, complete, and unalterable by repeatedly verifying and collecting broadcast transactions into what’s called a block. It has been estimated bitcoin mining uses up 24.5 terawatt hours, which sounds big to people who don’t know what a terawatt hour is, but actually, that’s slightly less than the electric load on Nigeria’s grid, and probably less electricity than is required to produce new US currency.
It is, however, having an observable impact in places like Grant County. “The total new service requests we have outstanding right now is around 500 megawatts of power, which would represent about an 85 percent increase over our current average load,” Ryan Holterhoff, public affairs officer for Grant County PUD recently told NPR. Continue reading →
There are a variety of explanations to the term “wrong end of the stick.” Some say it originated with holding the small end of a walking stick rendering its purpose virtually useless. Others suggest that it refers to an uncomfortable period of time when one used a stick in an outhouse to wipe one’s nether regions and that if you placed the stick upside down the next person would grab the wrong end of the stick. For me it meant the first time as a small child I picked up a baseball bat by the fat end thus rendering it useless.
Regardless of its origins it is an apt expression of governments approach to growing budget deficits. Continue reading →
Official state audits show major mismanagement in the administration of Governor Kate Brown. The Oregon Health Authority has been wasting millions. As Secretary of State, Kate Brown failed in her duties as chief auditor, presiding over some of the biggest big-government debacles in history. Oregon Newspapers agree that Governor Brown’s lack of leadership is responsible. Knute Buehler believes it’s time for Kate Brown to hire independent investigators to get to the bottom of this incredible waste of taxpayers dollars.
by Cascade Policy Institute Monday, December 4. 2017
By Steve Buckstein
Oregonians will have the opportunity in January to vote No on Ballot Measure 101, thus rejecting new taxes that the state legislature and the governor tried to impose on health insurance premiums and hospital services. While these and other taxes are meant to shore up state funding of Medicaid services to low-income Oregonians, it has become clear that the state has been misspending such funds for years. Continue reading →
That’s a vexing question on the minds of many investors right now. One of the leading scholars on the topic, the Sloan School of Management’s Antoinette Schoar, recently presented a paper at MIT’s Fiduciary Investors Symposium suggesting the asset class will continue to underperform because too much money is chasing too few promising private ventures. Bloated private equity funds with high fees are profiting off large investors’ memories of the days when these investments were portfolio leaders.
Oregon Treasury’s Chief Investment Officer John Skjervem was there too. His comments at this event prompted Susan Webber to suggest Skjervem is evidence public pension funds are the “dumb money” of the institutional investor world. Continue reading →
According to the most recent voter registration numbers, Democrats in Oregon have around a 10.16% voter registration advantage over Republicans. Democrats are sitting at around 36.66% of all registered voters and Republicans come in around 26.50%. We have not seen a Republican elected Governor since Vic Atiyeh’s reelection back in 1982. Pretty bleak picture for the Republicans in Oregon you might think, but let’s take a look at another state.
These days politicians seem deaf to any criticism or accountability that doesn’t come from their own party. This development necessitate that each party hold their own members accountable for their actions. That isn’t happening. Continue reading →
In the aftermath of the stories regarding sexual assault and sexual harassment leveled by a variety of actresses and others against Hollywood strongman Harvey Weinstein other women have now come forward with similar allegations against prominent politicians and news media personalities. Wow! You could have knocked me over with a feather (sarcasm). Back as far as I can remember powerful politicians have been treating women as if they were a smorgasbord available at any time. Presidents John F. Kennedy (D), Lyndon B. Johnson (D), and Bill Clinton (D). It’s not that other presidents didn’t have affairs, it’s just that these particular presidents used and discarded women like old socks. Continue reading →
Sex scandals aside, taxes are the biggest issue on the table right now, which is understandable when most families are spending more on taxes than they do on housing, food, and clothing combined. Most people think they are paying too much due to the overspending of government, so it makes sense to shrink the budget.
There never seems to be enough revenue for education, infrastructure, and public safety, so eliminating the process of tax-increment financing would stop Urban Renewal Agencies from siphoning money from those and other overlapping taxing districts that provide those services. Continue reading →
by Cascade Policy Institute Monday, November 27. 2017
By John A. Charles, Jr.
Earlier this year the state legislature passed a bill requiring the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) to apply for federal authorization to implement “value pricing” on two regional highways: I-205, and I-5 from the Washington border to the intersection with I-205. The OTC must apply by December 31, 2018.
Although value pricing may sound vague or somewhat ominous, motorists should be happy with this new policy. It has the potential to eliminate traffic congestion and create a revenue stream that will allow us to build the new highways and bridges that we need.
First, some background. “Value pricing” is a bureaucratic term for electronic tolling of highways where the toll rates vary based on the density of traffic. Usually, the rates change based on time of day, direction of travel, and day of the week. The rates are set to ensure 45 MPH driving conditions at all times of the day, hence the “value” offered to motorists.
There are many possible variations on this theme. In most cases, value pricing is used on new highway lanes, allowing drivers the option of staying in the unpriced, general purpose lanes. That probably will not be feasible in the Portland region because there is no room for an entire new network of priced lanes on I-5. Continue reading →
Another Thanksgiving has come and gone, and immediately onto Christmas we trod only to soon-be eclipsed by celebrating the new year. However, before we leave this moment of Thanksgiving I would like to share a brief though or two. First, I hope you enjoyed Thanksgiving with friends and family. It is important we have those deep, rooted connections with one another. It is those strong familial ties that build strong communities; and from strong communities come strong States — and a strong nation. Continue reading →
Last year I told my friend Bob Clark that if the Trump administration actually repeals Obama’s net neutrality rules, I would give them some credit here on the pages of the Oregon Catalyst. Thanksgiving weekend is the perfect time to find something nice to say about our current executive branch. Continue reading →