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New TV ad for Measure 104

 

By Taxpayer Association of Oregon [1]

Here is the latest television spot for Yes on Measure 104 by the official campaign. The Measure 104 TV ad is very good and shows what is at stake.

This is no joke. For instance, the politicians created HB 2006 in 2017 which rolled back the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction for homeowners by introducing new income limits and tough rules on which homes qualify. The tax was labeled Not-a-Tax (despite raising a $100 million) and was allowed to bypass the Constitution’s 3/5 rule.

The politicians also created HB 2060 in 2017 which voided the Small Business Tax Cut for any businesses that didn’t hire new employees. The tax was deemed Not-a-Tax (despite it raises a ¼ billion) and was allowed to bypass the Constitution’s 3/5 rule.

These are real tax raising tax bills being sold as non-tax budget tweaks. Don’t buy the lie – Vote Yes on Measure 104!

Nearly 75% of the public has not voted. Please get your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to turn in their ballots and Vote Yes on Measure 104.

We need to honor the will of the voters.

In 1996, Oregon Voters approved a Constitutional amendment requiring all taxes and fees to require a 3/5th majority of votes.

This higher 3/5 vote (60%) threshold in the Constitution has stopped a flood of tax increases from being passed over the past 20 years.

Now, the politicians have found a way around it.

By changing who qualifies for tax credits and deductions, the politicians can raise billions in new taxes without it ever being considered a tax increase.

This is why we need Measure 104!

— Was this article helpful? Enjoy lower taxes? Support the Taxpayer Association with a small donation here [2]. Tax credit and tax deductible options.

Help us get these rescue packets to people in need

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Taxpayers Association of Oregon

OregonWatchdog.com [3]

Rural hospitals, nursing homes, care centers are lacking protective gear and we need your help finding them! 

A friend donated some supplies to Taxpayer Foundation to send immediately (as in today!) to those who need it.

Please contact us to help us find a rural hospital/nursing home/care center that needs:

#1 PACKET INCLUDES: Three N#95 respirator masks 3M.   10 disposable gloves.  One anti-bacterial soap.

#2 PACKET INCLUDES: Three  N#95 respirator masks 3M.   10 disposable gloves.  One anti-bacterial soap.

Please contact us to help us find a family in the Metro area who needs:

#3. PACKET INCLUDES: 10 mega size Charmin bathroom tissue.  2 jumbo size paper towels. 1 anti-bacterial soap. 50 disposable washcloth wipes

#4. PACKET INCLUDES: 10 mega size Charmin bathroom tissue.  2 jumbo size paper towels. 1 anti-bacterial soap. 50 disposable washcloth wipes

Packets 3 &4 are perfect for a large family or a cash strapped foster family unable to find these items on the shelf.

Contact us right now so we can get these four items into the hands of four places that need them today.

This post will change once we find recipients.

Governor funds new Climate jobs while agencies crash for lack of help

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Taxpayers Association of Oregon

OregonWatchdog.com [3]

Two days after Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a coronavirus state of emergency, she then declared a new type of emergency, a climate emergency. Governor Brown backed up this urgent call to action with a bold executive Order (#20-24) which impacts 19 different state agencies and departments. It creates, by sheer Governor power, a handful of new state jobs dedicated to enacting parts of a carbon tax.

While the Governor is diverting existing state dollars to new political Climate jobs…

— The State Employment Department has suffered a meltdown; website crashes, phone line jams, and lacking the manpower to handle the historic surge in jobless.

— The Oregon health Authority is having problems gathering correct information on the actual numbers of state infections.

— The forestry department is falling apart with massive budget losses.

— The Revenue Department has been overwhelmed (before the virus crisis) with implementing one of the nation’s more uniquely crafted billion-dollar bureaucratic Corporate Activities Tax with little guidance on the finer details of who owes the tax and how much it will cost. Businesses are supposed to start writing estimate tax checks this month to the state but they are unable to get clear answers from the Revenue Department.

Here is our humble suggestion:

— Governor Brown should fund priorities over politics.

— Governor Brown should fund emergencies over personal pork programs.

— Governor Brown should not burden 19 state agencies and departments with new rules, but rather unburden them by removing barriers so they can handle the crisis at hand.

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Contribute online at OregonWatchdog.com [4] (also learn about a Charitable Tax Deduction [4] or Political Tax Credit [4] options to promote liberty).

We’ve been protecting you for 21 years.

COVID-19: The Path Back to Normalcy

Posted By Larry Huss On In Economy,President Donald Trump,President Obama | No Comments
[5]
There is an inordinate amount of speculation over whether people should be wearing masks when they are outside their homes.  It’s what the media does – speculate.  And in this instance their speculation follows their general focus on how something looks rather than how something works.  A mask – other than N95 style mask worn by healthcare workers– only provides limited protection.  And it is really pretty simple to understand why.
The COVID-19 virus is transmitted orally.  Which means that it enters the body through the mouth, nose or eyes.  The overwhelming number of masks available – including the make-do bandanas and scarves – do not cover the eyes and thus the face remains vulnerable even though you have reduced the points of entry by two out of four venues.  (Okay, for those of you forced to endure a teachers union led education in the Portland public school system there is one mouth, one nose and two eyes – that’s four points of entry not three.)  That is the basic reason that these face coverings are only marginally effective.  It is even less effective in those who believe that the masks give them a larger sense of invulnerability such that they fail in the most fundamental tasks of evading the virus – social distancing and repeated washing of your hands.
On the flip side, wearing a face mask provides enhanced protection against you infecting another person.  It retards the particles and the distance of that which you might exhale.  So it depends on your outlook.  If you are trying to immunize yourself, masks have limited effectiveness while if you are trying to protect others it has greater effectiveness.  In either instance, masks do not excuse you from social distancing, repeatedly washing your hands and avoiding touching your face.

And while all of the useful idiots* blather endlessly about “to mask or not to mask” they are completely ignoring one of the most critical elements of dealing with this crisis over the long term.  Over the long term we must not only defeat the virus through an effective inoculation program, but we must provide effective treatment for those who contract the illness WHILE we find a path to reopen the economy.
Dr. Deborah Birx is the Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force and appears daily at the White House briefing on the efforts to combat COVID-19.  She, along with Dr. Anthony Fauci, provide the detail, rationale and factual underpinnings of the massive effort to confront the virus.  They do not speculate, do not point fingers, do not cast blame.  Their knowledge and demeanor provide a stark contrast with the “hair on fire” of the useful idiots.  And it is Dr. Birx who consistently talks about the importance of data based tracking.
But, while there is rapt attention to the data on the numbers tested, the numbers confirmed, and the numbers dead, scant attention is being paid to a number that Dr. Birx repeatedly emphasizes – the number who have survived.  What Dr. Birx has said repeatedly is that we need to know who has been infected and recovered.  But the difficulty is that there are a large number of people who have been infected, had minor or no symptoms and recovered not knowing that they had been infected.  An Icelandic study indicated that up to fifty percent of the people found to be positive to having been infected were unaware of their infection.  Apparently there is a relatively easy and inexpensive test to determine whether a person has been infected.  It is a serum test to determine the presence of the antibodies developed by the body to fight the disease.  It involves a finger pinprick and the drawing of a minor amount of blood to be tested.  The results of the test are available in about fifteen minutes.  The tests are accurate.  It appears that the medical community believes that once recovered that you are immune from the virus – at least for a sustained period of time.
So why is this important?
It’s important because as the virus spreads so do the number of people who have recovered – with or without knowing symptoms – and are therefor immune.  That population is growing quickly.  And it is that population that is growing that provides a pathway for battling the virus AND reopening the economy.
In the first instance those with immunity can work in the hospital wards caring for COVID-19 patients without the intense personal protection equipment.  They would only need the normal level of sanitized gear plus surgical masks to avoid infecting patients with something other than COVID-19.  The need for high-end personal protection equipment would be dramatically reduced and the excess could be redistributed to areas where it is needed.
And those who have been determined to have recovered could provide both the necessary staffing and base of customers for reopening the economy gradually.  Retail establishments would simply require proof of recovery – results of the serum test – together with identification for hiring and/or admission.  The number of people eligible will grow as quickly as testing is administered.  There is a theory that when the number of recovered plus the number not infected reaches a certain level it overwhelms the spread of the virus and things begin to return to normal albeit with the knowledge that washing your hands and refraining from touching your face are “best practices” for all of the future.  (Given the experience with the length of “memory” over the events of September 11, 2001, I am not encouraged that the health lessons learned during this pandemic will stand for any length of time.)
I have said in previous columns that we have a short time to reopen the economy without sustaining significant damage and a long recovery period.  Even as strong as the economy has become under President Trump, it will not snap back.  Supply chains have been disrupted, manufacturing has been idled, small businesses that have closed will not reopen, financial institutions will be stretched from funding the interim relief during the crisis, and the housing market will sustain damage that will require significant lead time to recover simply because building construction is a lengthy process – a home takes nine to twelve months, a commercial building longer, a manufacturing plant even longer.  There will be no snap back and the stock markets recovery will reflect that of the productive market.
The longer we wait, the longer the recovery time will take.  Not just because of a delay in starting the recovery; rather the length of the delay deepens the hole from which we must emerge.  Delay compounds the time for recovery.  That is a fact that Mr. Trump sees clearly.  That is a fact that most of the Democrat leadership cannot grasp.  In a recent “daily briefing” Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) acknowledged the need to reopen the economy but downplayed its importance by spending much of his time discussing the need for us to accept the “new normal” – the Democrat’s buzz word for accepting the status quo.  It is reminiscent of President Barack Obama’s assertion that economic growth of less than two percent annually was the “new normal” and that anybody suggesting otherwise was misleading the public.  (The “new normal” disappeared overnight when Mr. Trump became president and took the government’s heavy foot off the economic air hose.)
It is coupled with the congressional Democrat’s firm belief that we can not whistle and walk at the same time.  For them, there is only one course – treat the sick and seek a vaccine against future contagion – the economy can wait.  That should be expected from people who have never accomplished anything in life other than getting elected to office.  In large part, particularly among the congressional leadership, they have never created anything – never built anything, never manufactured anything, never created a job, never contributed to the growth of the economy – they have taken far more from the government than they have ever contributed.  Many have become multi-millionaires while serving in Congress.  They routinely serve themselves before they serve the public.  They are simply unprepared by intellect or experience to “walk and chew gum at the same time.”
Regardless of the shortcomings of the congressional leadership, we do, in fact, need to whistle and walk at the same time.  We are fully capable of treating the sick, finding remedies for its symptoms, and developing a vaccine, and reopening the economy simultaneously.  In fact, the underpinning for treating the sick, finding remedies (think hydroxychloroquine) and creating a vaccine (FDA trials are already underway) are in place.  It is time to place equal emphasis on reopening the economy and utilization of those who have been infected by COVID-19 and recovered provide the opening salvo in that effort.  But that effort can only be capitalized upon if we do the serum testing to determine the presence of antibodies created during recovery.  That testing needs to be almost universal but can start with those who believe they have had and recovered from COVID-19.
Starting yesterday would be a good thing.
________________
*Wikipedia  defines “useful idiot” as:  “In political jargon, a useful idiot is a derogatory term for a person perceived as propagandizing for a cause without fully comprehending the cause’s goals, and who is cynically used by the cause’s leaders.[1][2] The term was originally used during the Cold War to describe non-communists regarded as susceptible to communist propaganda and manipulation.”

Media asks “Where is our Governor?”

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Taxpayers Association of Oregon

OregonWatchdog.com [3]

More and more Oregon media outlets are questioning where is our Governor and where are we?

KOIN TV-6 stated [6],

“It’s been four days since the media had the chance to ask Gov. Kate Brown questions about the coronavirus pandemic in Oregon. KOIN 6 News spoke to her on Monday. On Thursday, her office was expected to have media availability, but it was canceled. Throughout the week, the KOIN 6 newsroom has been receiving questions from viewers about why she hasn’t made a recent appearance. Questions like, “Why have we not heard more from Governor Brown?” or “Is Governor Brown going to come on TV to talk more in depth?” and “Do you have more information as to why we are not seeing communication from Governor Brown?”

The media brought attention to Governor Brown’s confusing and unclear decision to interfere with online charter schools ability to keep classing running uninterrupted. It became national news [7].

Also missing is quality data on where Oregon stands on our infection rate:

the East Oregonian notes [8]:

“State officials don’t trust the data they’ve been providing about Oregon hospitals’ capacity to handle COVID-19 patients, and has stopped providing that information. In response to requests from elected officials and the news media, the Oregon Health Authority and State Emergency Coordination Center recently began releasing the number of patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19, as well as such data as the number of available beds and ventilators. On Thursday, officials stopped providing that information and did not explain why. On Friday, after being asked by journalists, OHA said there were “data quality issues” but declined to give specifics.”

Then there was the plan for the Governor and the Legislature to meet last week in an emergency Legislative Session or at least an emergency gathering of Oregon’s top Legislative leaders. That meeting was canceled [9].

The question needs to be asked right now, where is our Governor?

Where is the data on Oregon’s infections?

Are we getting worse or getting better on infections?

Small businesses are frozen in an economic hell at this very moment and want to know where they stand and when they can rescue themselves from pending bankruptcy. Will anyone tell them where we stand?

When will the Governor and Legislature meet? Can’t you meet right now to discuss ready-to-implement ideas to save our state from both the virus and the shutdown? Do you not want to even entertain such ideas?

We make this appeal out of a desire to encourage our leaders to identify our mistakes (missing infection data, confusing rules) and move to towards a more open and transparent dialogue on working towards solutions. We are not the only people asking for this, the media is asking as well.

— Was this article helpful? If yes, Spread the word online! Facebook Like, Tweet, Link and Email this very article.

Contribute online at OregonWatchdog.com [4] (also learn about a Charitable Tax Deduction [4] or Political Tax Credit [4] options to promote liberty).

We’ve been protecting you for 21 years.

Can you spot the three errors in this cartoon?

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Taxpayers Association of Oregon

OregonWatchdog.com [3]

Our local newspaper The Oregonian ran this cartoon last week and it contains two really unhelpful errors.

First, it takes a serious, tragic death toll and then somehow links it to the 62 million Americans who voted for the President as somehow being pro-death or just so stupid as to be not even be human.

Second, it takes a serious risk by basing the numbers on what open democratic nations are reporting on virus rates verses what communist and dictator governments are reporting. This is no joke. The falsehoods that China and Iran have already propagated have cost the lives of thousands.

For instance, because Iran censored their virus outbreak to protect their February Parliamentary elections resulted in a massive outbreak that led to Iran being the epicenter of the virus in the Middle East and directly responsible for it spreading to 10 other Middle East nations.

China denied, censored and hid from the world the critical life-saving fact, that the virus spreads from human-to-human and sat on it for over 40 days while people were dying and spreading it around the globe. I repeat, China said there was no human-to-human risk when it knew there was.  The World Health Organization repeated this in January while people were dying.  The same Chinese Communist government that lied repeatedly and in multiple different ways said just last month that their new infection cases went to zero in some days — an extraordinary figure that mainstream media has questioned [10].

This is no small matter. These figures are a matter of life and death in one of the greatest worldwide catastrophes of our lifetime.

Third, it seems that most of the cartoons we have been seeing from local papers have been lampooning America and Americans and letting the Chinese government get a free pass from criticism. Is this the new normal after the NBA Hong-Kong fiasco last year? Has China become exempt from comedy? Satire? Criticism?

China allowed 750,000 people to travel to America during the early virus outbreak without properly notifying everyone of what they knew about the virus. This is deathly serious.

This cartoon and the totality of others is propagating myths in a terrible season of death in our country.

— Was this article helpful? If yes, Spread the word online! Facebook Like, Tweet, Link and Email this very article.

Contribute online at OregonWatchdog.com [4] (also learn about a Charitable Tax Deduction [4] or Political Tax Credit [4] options to promote liberty).

We’ve been protecting you for 21 years.

Gov. Brown’s charter school fail makes national news

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Taxpayers Association of Oregon

OregonWatchdog.com [3]

Governor Kate Brown’s decision to interfere with online charter public schools while they have been successfully been educating our students during the crisis has made national news.  It was mentioned on Town Hall [11], Forbes [12] , and the Wall Street Journal [13]:  Below is the Wall Street Journal Editorial from March 31, 2020:

Oregon has cancelled public-school classes amid the pandemic, but political self-interest never sleeps. The Oregon Education Association and its labor allies are now blocking hundreds of children from continuing their education at virtual public charter schools.

As of Oct. 1, more than 14,000 children already attended Oregon’s 19 virtual public charters and received the bulk of their education remotely. But when brick-and-mortar schools closed on March 16 to limit the spread of the coronavirus, Oregon parents clamored to transfer their children to the online schools.

Monday was the first day at Oregon Connections Academy, the state’s largest virtual public charter, for seventh grader Natalie Ritter and her fifth-grade brother, Lincoln. Their mom, Stephanie Ritter, says the ability to transfer them was a godsend, though it was heart-wrenching to leave behind beloved teachers and classmates.

Ms. Ritter and her husband work full time and don’t have hours a day to teach their children at home. Attending school online “will help them not just learn but feel connected,” Ms. Ritter says. “Not having that as an option just means that we would have to put more faith in the Oregon schools figuring that out. And I think they’re working on it, but we just don’t have the luxury to wait.”

Like Natalie and Lincoln, some 300 students successfully transferred in mid-March to Oregon Connections Academy alone, and the teacher’s unions were alarmed by this mass exodus from the public schools.

Under pressure from the unions, the Oregon Department of Education stopped allowing transfers on March 27. At Oregon Connections Academy, this means some 1,600 students who had sought to transfer won’t be able to, says Jeff Kropf, the school’s founder and president of the board of directors.

It could be worse. The state Department of Education originally contemplated closing down virtual public charters along with the brick-and-mortar schools, according to a March 24 PowerPoint presentation reviewed by the newspaper Willamette Week. Even during a national crisis, unions would rather deprive students of an education than see their charter-school competitors succeed.

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Contribute online at OregonWatchdog.com [4] (also learn about a Charitable Tax Deduction [4] or Political Tax Credit [4] options to promote liberty).

We’ve been protecting you for 21 years.

Tootie Smith: State mistakes delay jobless benefits. We must fix it.

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By Tootie Smith

Tootie Smith, Candidate Chair Clackamas County Commission
Former State Representative, County Commissioner

Where’s Our Paychecks?
It’s Called PREPAREDNESS or Lack Thereof

Unemployment checks are delayed because Oregon Employment Department systems have failed and there’s just not enough employees available to meet the demand.

Federal unemployment of $600 per week could also be delayed to people also since the federal government sends those checks to the Employment Division for disbursement and not directly to recipients.

Computer and online systems are overloaded. The question that each taxpayer needs to ask is, has our government performed its due diligence by investing in vital infrastructure? Upgrades to hardware and software went ignored as a record amount of money came into county and state government coffers as the economy boomed. Upgrades are Preparedness. 5G probably won’t save us because many of our systems are too antiquated to handle the new technology.

A lack of investment in vital infrastructure systems such as computers, software upgrades and investments were ignored while the current finger pointing about health care readiness, hospitals and medical supplies continues. State and County governments can and must take responsibility for basic health needs and be prepared for such outbreaks. We have the money. We have the ability. It’s called preparedness.

Instead of taking care of vital government business, Gov. Brown and the Super Majority in the legislature passed a record amount of taxes with little compassion as to the toll it would take on citizens. Brown signed an executive order for a fake environmental bill that’s really a tax increase, aka Cap n Trade. Her partners in crime also passed a gross sales tax increase on business that the legislature can’t reverse fast enough in the impending Special Session.

As any corporate commander knows, a Chief Executive’s job is management. Failure to manage effectively results in harm to the company or workforce. In this case, Oregon’s Chief Executive Officer, Governor Brown, has not figured out what her management position should be. She is no longer a legislator. It’s not her responsibility to pass laws, that distinction belongs to the legislative branch.

When Gov. Brown issued her “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, she should have known that an economic calamity would come. People can’t work. They need paychecks. She should have beefed up the systems that deliver those unemployment checks. It’s called Preparedness. Brown’s focus has not been on helping people, but instead on taxing us into oblivion and signing one executive order after another with a threat of punishment and fine if not obeyed.

And the government is telling us the worse is yet to come?

Never underestimate the power of a collective energy of prayer to move governments. We need that force now.

Local impact: Kevin Mannix on current crisis

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This month, the Oregon Transformation Newsletter, published a series of interviews with Oregon CEOs about their efforts in the coming months to keep their workforces whole and their companies intact. We plan to publish a series of articles highlighting excerpts from those interviews [14]:

Kevin Mannix, Mannix Law Firm

If you are a business owner, how financially capable is your business of surviving this pandemic crisis? What measures have you taken to keep your workforce whole? Do you plan to hire back your staff, or will you be able to keep your workforce relatively whole through the crisis?

My law firm is financially capable of surviving this pandemic crisis. We are exercising appropriate precautions at the office. I will protect my workforce because they are a valued team. If there is a dramatic shutdown forced by the government, we will comply to the extent necessary. But we will keep our team.

In the last two decades, Americans have been through 9/11, the 2008 financial crisis, and now we face this global pandemic. How much worse is this crisis? How are you personally dealing with your own anxiety?

I think the global pandemic is harder than the 9/11 attack and the 2008 financial crisis, because we are now combining prevention with reaction and recovery. There is no clear distinction among these. With other crises, the event happens and you respond to it. At present, this pandemic is an ongoing event.

What’s the most surprising response to this crisis that you’ve seen either from friends and family, local and state government, or the federal government? What’s the most disappointing response that you’ve witnessed? What’s the most inspiring response that you’ve noted so far? What is uniquely positive and American about our united response?

I have been pleased to see my fellow citizens taking common sense steps, such as frequent hand washing and respecting social distancing, to help prevent the spread of this virus. I am concerned that our state government may be taking a “one-size-fits-all” approach and response, failing to recognize dramatic differences among our 36 counties.

If you would like to read the entire interview, click on this link at The Oregon Transformation Newsletter [14]

President is right on mask wearing directive

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Taxpayers Association of Oregon

OregonWatchdog.com [3]

The President announced this week the strong recommendation that Americans voluntarily wear masks while in public stating ““In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”

The chart above from maskssaveslives [15] above shows a chart for which it states that the chart is based on data from Johns Hopkins University.

Mask wearing is proactive added protective measure that we can all deploy.

Top headlines for the week of 3/28

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Top 5 headlines

1. Ore lawmakers prep emergency relief package [16]
2. Special session politics [17]
3. Do you want Kate Brown playing doctor? [18]
4. Going too far: Brown’s grim ad campaign slammed [19]
5. Hospitals have a guide for who lives and who dies [20]

Bonus

Gov Brown asks feds to mobilize National Guard [21]
Oregon temporarily allows for self-service gas [22]
Group files 2 lawsuits against unions in Oregon [23]

Governor, Lawmakers drop plans to meet. Apparently nothing important is going on.

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Taxpayers Association of Oregon
OregonWatchdog.com [3]

The Governor and Legislative leaders were publicly discussing holding an emergency meeting this week [9] in the State Capitol, but the plans came to nothing in the end. Nothing.

The Senate President mentioned that some plan to wait until the May 20th to see how the economy is doing. May 20th?

Here we are at an unprecedented attack on our economy and the politicians are offering no solutions, no discussions, no debate, no help. We are dying out here.

Then again it is completely in character for the Governor. When it was discovered last fall that the Legislature “accidentally” passed a law setting 28 criminals off death row, Governor Brown refused to call them back into Session to fix the error that lawmakers admitted to and the media was pleading to remedy.

Governor Brown did call an emergency session in May 2018 to pass a single tax bill just in time to look good during her re-election year. So Governor Brown will call an emergency Session to make her herself look good but not to help rescue the entire state from a season of dire financial ruin.

Some say the politicians cannot meet safely in the building. Yet, meeting is what the thousands of public employees are doing across the street of the State Capitol in the various state agency headquarters.

Here are some honest good intentioned suggestions:  The lawmakers could have shown up in masks and protective gear, had temperature readings at the door, and if they needed more social distancing room they could have met across the street at one of the many large Willamette University assembly halls. Or how about remote meetings using Zoom?  Arizona, Utah and Pennsylvania are working [24] on remote sessions.  Alaska has been doing it for decades.  Congress has been meeting to pass the Stimulus.

Because the Governor has broad discretionary emergency power over state rules, you do not need to summon the entire Legislature or begin voting to have an impact.  Instead you could have a delegation of lawmakers meet to discuss ideas that the Governor can enact right now and discuss items to be discussed in a full Legislative Session in a few weeks down the road.  Starting the debate on what Oregon needs to do right now will help us act faster and smarter.

I understand the complications, but we are missing out on a chance to move the debate forward.

Unfortunately, there was no debate this week.  No ideas.  No solutions.  No discussion.

Nothing.

Now is the time to cut red tape and reduce regulations to help protect public health and help the economy rebound.

Yet, the Governor and the Majority Party leadership simply doesn’t care enough or have the functionality to move.

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Contribute online at OregonWatchdog.com [4] (also learn about a Charitable Tax Deduction [4] or Political Tax Credit [4] options to promote liberty).

We’ve been protecting you for 21 years.

Watch for Shadow Fiscal Policy

Posted By Eric Shierman On In Government Spending | No Comments

There are ways in which governments try to spend other people’s money without raising taxes. I call it shadow fiscal policy.

The minimum wage is an example. If policymakers decide there is a certain level of compensation for which people should not be allowed to work for less, the most efficient way of raising pay is for all of society to bear the burden of subsidizing low-paid workers’ pay. Milton Friedman called this a negative income tax [25].

Instead, the minimum wage imposes a shadow fiscal policy where this cost only falls upon businesses that employ people with low levels of productivity. Bars and restaurants aren’t more greedy than Boeing and Intel, but capital-intensive employers’ bottom line doesn’t depend on employing minimum wage workers the way the food service industry does.

The intention behind the minimum wage is to transfer profits from business owners to workers in low-wage sectors of the economy. Policymakers pushing the minimum wage make the unwarranted assumption there are big profits to reallocate. So instead of raising taxes to finance a wage-support policy, they ban employment that would otherwise occur for people whose marginal product of labor [26] happens to be lower than the minimum wage.

We’ve seen another form of shadow fiscal policy emerge recently. On Wednesday, the State of Oregon imposed a moratorium on commercial real estate evictions [27]. This follows similar policies [28] we’ve seen both Salem and local governments impose on residential landlords. The City of Portland may even exempt people [29] from their rent obligations entirely. Independent of whether or not it is a legitimate role of government to redistribute resources to avoid evictions of renters who cannot pay their rent due to an exogenous shock to the economy, only making the suppliers of residential and commercial real estate pay for it, rather than society as a whole, can easily be ruled out as an inefficient mistake.

Recessions come and go, but the supply of rental property has been a chronic problem across the Beaver State for some time. Trying to make real estate investors pay for our present calamity will offer few short-term benefits at the expense of making the supply of developed and maintained landholdings more scarce in the long-run. If the State of Oregon cannot afford to pay people’s rent, that’s a good indication the suppliers of the property cannot afford it either.

Eric Shierman lives in Salem and is also the author of We were winning when I was there [30].

Stimulus tax $$$ for casinos, union bosses, sunscreen?

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Taxpayers Association of Oregon
OregonWatchdog.com [3]

Here are five questionable expenses found in the 2020 Coronavirus Economic Stimulus bill known as CARES Act.

1. Casinos can apply for stimulus

In previous relief bills, casinos had been excluded. Under the CARES Act, casinos may apply for small business loans. For amounts over $10 million, they can apply for loans from the Treasury Department.

2. Help for sunscreen companies.

Faster FDA approval of new sunscreens. Certainly, cutting red tape is always a good thing, and removing federal regulations should always be the goal. But it’s hard to see how developing new sunscreens will have an affect on the spread of the virus, or the economic recovery.

3. $25 million to bail out the Kennedy Center

One particular performing arts center gets a special bailout unavailable to any other theater affected by the economic shutdown. Sadly, only a few hours after receiving the financial injection, Kennedy Center laid off most of its performers anyway.

4. Harbor dredging gets blank check-like powers.

Exempting harbor dredging from discretionary spending caps. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) was instrumental in getting this added to the bill. It exempts the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund from caps on discretionary spending.

5. Big labor got a union protection measure tucked in.

Companies that take federal stimulus money must not oppose any effort to unionize their workforce.

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Local Impact: Freres Lumber copes, adapts

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This month, the Oregon Transformation Newsletter [14], published a series of interviews with Oregon CEOs about their efforts in the coming months to keep their workforces whole and their companies intact. We plan to publish a series of articles highlighting excerpts from those interviews:

Tyler Freres, Vice President of Sales, Freres Lumber

If you are a business owner, how financially capable is your business of surviving this pandemic crisis? What measures have you taken to keep your workforce whole? Do you plan to hire back your staff, or will you be able to keep your workforce relatively whole through the crisis?

We can survive the crisis as long as the government doesn’t institute measures that cause lasting harm to the free market system. Small business can’t be asked to bear all the burden of paid sick leave or family medical leave without the sales and revenue to support those measures. As for measures to keep your workforce whole? Our business encourages social distancing by virtue of running work centers for production. There are very few jobs in our facilities that require people to work near or in close proximity to another. We have shut down all lunch rooms and insisted that all employees take lunch and break outside or in their vehicles. Positions that allow work from home have been allowed to do so. We have had difficulty finding employees in the last two years. We have continually run facilities short-handed. We would actually hope to hire employees now if we weren’t concerned that potential government regulations wouldn’t expose us to additional costs through immediate paid sick leave or if we had any certainty that imported products wouldn’t deprive us of the limited markets that are available. It would be beneficial if potential employees realized the importance of the benefits provided by employment in manufacturing, such as short-term disability, life insurance, unemployment, profit-sharing programs, solid health care, and 401(k) contributions. These things matter much more in times of crisis compared to what an hourly wage without benefits means. As a company approaching 100 years in operation, we try to take a longer term view.

In the last two decades, Americans have been through 9/11, the 2008 financial crisis, and now we face this global pandemic. How much worse is this crisis? How are you personally dealing with your own anxiety?

This crisis is unique in the speed in which it arrived and to the scope of government intervention shutting down the free market system to minimize contagion. Businesses need to know the long-term goal to understand how to operate their businesses going forward. The financial crisis was bad, but the markets still operated and we adjusted to the available business. We currently have no idea when contractors will be allowed to build, when distribution yards will ship product, and when the housing market will return. Prior to the coronavirus, we were optimistic that 2020 was shaping up to be a very positive year.

It is hard to see the anxiety among the people we work with when someone goes home with an illness as the immediate assumption is that it is the next case of a deadly contagion. So far, all illnesses have been either seasonal flu or other ailments, though that will probably not always be the case. It alleviates anxiety for me to go to work and continue business as we can, although with more hand washing and an attention to keeping distance from people. It is helpful to understand that the people who are working with you need the next paycheck and work is an essential part of what we all do.

What’s the most surprising response to this crisis that you’ve seen either from friends and family, local and state government, or the federal government? What’s the most disappointing response that you’ve witnessed? What’s the most inspiring response that you’ve noted so far? What is uniquely positive and American about our united response?

I am encouraged by seeing people walking around town, visiting grocery stores, and continuing their daily lives, albeit with additional caution. I appreciate those who have taken additional effort to patronize local restaurants and businesses to keep them afloat. We need to contribute what we can to local businesses if we want to emerge from this crisis in a world that looks like what we had before. What’s the most disappointing response I’ve witnessed? The expedient action for the government is to destroy our economy for the sake of the common good, but the government bears no real cost for their actions. My hope is that the Oregon government realizes the true importance of businesses. That continued increased taxation and costs to Oregon businesses limits the options for businesses to respond to external events. The Oregon legislature implementing delays or eliminating taxes, fees and regulations already legislated should be seen as what they are, anti-business measures whose damage would have lead to the same result although in a longer period of time.

I am encouraged by the local businesses doing what they can to survive. It shows you how each business builds upon another for mutual economic activity.

If you would like to read the entire interview, click on this link at The Oregon Transformation Newsletter [14]:

Self-serve gas legalized. Should plastic bags be next?

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Taxpayers Association of Oregon

OregonWatchdog.com [3]

Due to the coronavirus, the Oregon Fire Marshall suspended the Oregon ban on self-service gas. Cherish your freedom while you can because it only lasts for two weeks until April 11th.

Now we face a problem with the newly enacted 2020 plastic bag ban. Many stores are requiring customers to not bring in reusable bags into the store.  The State of Massachusetts has banned them.  The theory is that reusable bags are more likely to pass on a virus than disposable plastic bags.

Is it time to bring disposable plastic bags back to consumers in Oregon?

Furthermore, do we need to be charging consumers paper-bag charges during an economic shutdown when people are losing their jobs?

Would not a plastic bag help restaurants streamline their take-out costs?

Please comment.

Post-script: Oregon self-service gas has been legal in smaller population counties (under 40,000) in Oregon. This new legalization applies to those remaining counties.

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Politicians Have Failed Their Primary Duty to Keep Us Safe

Posted By Larry Huss On In Abuse of Power,Corruption,Crony capitalism,Economy,Government Abuse,Government Accountability,Government corruption,Government Waste,Leadership,Nancy Pelosi,President Donald Trump | No Comments

By Larry Huss,
Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI)) claims that medical supply companies have been told not to supply necessary supplies to combat COVID-19 in Michigan.  She implied that was because of Mr. Trump.  You know she is lying.  And if she is not then ask her to identify specifically who told her that, which companies were involved and then check with the companies to determine whether she is even close to the truth.  She is lying because the left wing of the Democrat elites have decided to use this pandemic as a political weapon rather than actually fight its spread or treat its victims.  And she is lying because she knows that the mainstream media will print every accusation as if were true without any attempt to verify its truth.

This starts with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who used the funding mechanism recently passed by the Congress to implement and fund portions of the far left Democrat agenda, including the New Green Deal, demands that unions be placed on the boards of airlines, and funding for the Kennedy Center.  Literally hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars have been sidetracked that could have been used to acquire more ventilators, more masks, more protective gear and more testing kits.  But Ms. Pelosi really doesn’t care because its power, not protection of citizens, that she prioritizes.
It continues with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schummer (D-NY) who fronted all of Ms. Pelosi’s “extra curricular” demands in the Senate debates.  What is particularly loathsome about that is that New York is the state hardest hit with the majority of all cases diagnosed in the United States and a majority of all deaths experienced.  What in God’s name drives a reprehensible cretin like that?  His constituents are dying by the hundreds and he’s playing politics.
It includes Governor Jay Inslee (D-WA) – who President Donald Trump accurately portrayed as a Democrat presidential primary candidate whose standing in the polls peaked at zero and remained there and who has whined and complaint about everything in blaming Mr. Trump for his own failure to timely and accurately prepare and respond to Washington state’s outbreak.  Mr. Inslee knew full well the shortfall in available equipment, including ventilators, protective equipment and medical supplies, but he chose instead to waste taxpayer funds pursing sanctuary cities, cap and trade, and funding “The Resistance” by one lawsuit after another over virtually every program and order undertaken by Mr. Trump.  But he is no different than the governors in Oregon, California, Connecticut, Illinois and Louisiana.  Instead of doing their jobs they were too busy playing politics.  And when they were caught short, they have been blaming the federal government in general and Mr. Trump in particular for all of the problems they created themselves.
They play these games knowing full well that Mr. Trump and his team have to just take it because people’s lives are at risk and they should not have to suffer for their governors’ shortcomings. And while they are proceeding they have to listen to the gripes, moans, armchair quarterbacking and deliberate lies by these cheap shot artists.  If you can point to anything that any of these people have accomplished in life other than getting elected to a public office, I’d be surprised.
Quite frankly these so called leaders are wasting our time, wasting our money and wasting our patience.  They have to scramble because they have spent the last two decades pursuing carbon taxes, alternative energy, sanctuary cities, political correctness and virtually everything else other than the very purpose of government – to provide safety and security, competent low cost and safe utility services, orderly transportation, and welfare assistance for those who cannot provide for themselves.  One of the true things about democracy is you get what you paid for even if you didn’t see it coming.
In the beginning I thought that this was just more of the Trump Derangement Syndrome by the Democrat elites.  They hate Mr. Trump with an empty-headed passion.  They don’t even know why they hate him.  They resort to their litany of identity politics bogeymen – he’s a racist, a misogynist, a homophobe, an anti-Semite, an Islamaphobe, a xenophobe, and on and on and on.  Their vitriol clouds their judgment and their rhetoric belies their lack of any specifics.  They are like six-year olds engaging in group taunting.  They are beyond ridiculous.
But this goes way beyond petty politics.  This goes beyond Trump Derangement Syndrome.  This is taking from those most in need to line their pockets, ensure their campaign coffers are filled and rewarding those who have joined them in their derangement.  It is easy to understand their desire to use taxpayer money to accomplish this because they have always done so.  What cannot be understood is why they would deprive those in need in order to do it.  It is the moral equivalent of stealing coins from a dead man’s eyes.  It is venal.  They sit cloistered in their seats of power and prey on the very people they claim to represent.  They are beyond contempt.  But most importantly, they are beyond reclamation – they have lost any sense of morality.
The disaster that arises from their incompetence will multiply exponentially if we do not find a way to reopen our economy.  So here are a couple of suggestions of what we could have done with the money wasted by Speaker Pelosi and the congressional Democrats:
1. Provide funding for time and motion engineers to suggest designs and disciplines for retail merchants to open their stores while accommodating social distancing.
2. Adjust, set and enforce customer loading standards that accommodate social distancing for retail businesses and entertainment.  It is better to service less people than to service none.
3. Redesign seating areas within restaurants to limit seating to four at a table and appropriate distancing between tables.  Include disinfecting stations that customers must use before being seated.  Set time intervals for turning tables
4. Develop methods by which food can be ordered, prepared and served without unprotected human action.  (McDonald’s has moved towards using kiosks for ordering and payment so that the only time you have human contact is the delivery of the cooked food.)
5. Fund additional research, development, manufacture and distribution of more efficient testing kits such that those wishing a test can do so quickly and easily.  Add to that testing kits to determine those who have had the virus and recovered and thereafter use certification of that test as a means to remove any restrictions on their movement, work or travel.
The weekend decision by Mr. Trump to extend the guidelines for maintaining social distancing until the end of April means that many of the small business – particularly restaurants, movie theatres, sports and entertainment venues, athletic facilities and the like will never open again.  You simply cannot close a business for sixty days and expect it to survive.
The wreck of the economy may yet prove more deadly than the pandemic.

Gov. Brown raises gas prices during virus outbreak, bad economy

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Taxpayers Association of Oregon

OregonWatchdog.com [3]

Two days after declaring a state of emergency [31] over the coronavirus, Gov. Brown then switched priorities to pass wide-sweeping Carbon Tax plan.

Governor Kate Brown, after witnessing the defeat of her Carbon Tax Bill (SB 1530), decided to bypass the elected Oregon Legislature and State Constitution by signing Executive Order #20-24 [32]. This directs 19 different government departments to implement portions of the Carbon Tax. The East Oregonian stated, “Her order doesn’t exempt any portion of the state from her mandates.” (3/12/20)

Here is what Gov. Brown’s Executive Order #20-24 is expected to do:

– INCREASE GAS TAXES by mandating more restrictive Low Carbon Fuel Standards [33]. Forcing gas stations to serve a more expensive blend ends up driving up gas prices for consumers.

– INCREASE HOUSING COSTS by creating additional environmental building codes.

– INCREASE ELECTRICITY RATES through new mandates for the Public Utility Commission and Department of Energy.

– DIVERT ROAD REPAIR FUNDS to help fund mandates for new electric charging stations.

– CREATE NEW REGULATIONS ON HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS which affect your use of fluorescent lights, computers, faucets, shower heads, washers, dryers, water heaters, steam cookers, ventilating fans, and more

In the middle of one of the greatest economic shocks since the great depression, Gov. Kate Brown is raising gas prices and electricity rates.

Gov. Brown’s Executive Order even creates new governmental employee positions (not authorized by the Legislature) to implement her Carbon Tax framework scheme.

Gov. Brown needs to rescind her Executive Order #20-24 and work to protecting the local Oregon economy not heaping up mountains of new regulations and higher gas prices.   This is a simple, common sense, cost-free way to not make things worse.  We respectfully urge Gov. Brown to do this.

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Email lawmakers: Repeal cruel recession tax on business (CAT)

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Taxpayers Association of Oregon

OregonWatchdog.com [3]

Oregon lawmakers this week will be debating [34] Oregon’s brand new 2020 $1.3 billion Corporate Activities Tax on business sales. It is a uniquely “recession tax” because it taxes businesses in a recession in ways that most business taxes do not. Most business taxes are based on profits and those taxes shrink when profits shrink and grow when profits grows.  Sounds fair right?

Oregon’s cruel and unforgiving CAT tax is a tax based on REVENUE — not profits. Even in a recession where a small business can lose 90% of their customers and be in the red by millions, will still be taxed as if nothing happened. This is why so few states are insane enough to punish businesses in recessions by taxing revenue.

There are proposals to delay [35] the recession CAT tax by six months. Another proposal calls for more exemptions on how the CAT tax is calculated.

In light of the worse economic shock since the Great Depression, we actively encourage you to email lawmakers asking them to repeal it completely.

This CAT tax is uniquely destructive in a recession. And Oregon already was the nation’s 4th biggest, fattest state spending government in the nation per capita.

1. Please find your lawmaker below and email them this week to repeal the “recession” Business CAT tax on business sales. 

2. Tell them to repeal the CAT tax and to stop taxing businesses in a recession.

3. If you do not know your lawmaker go to this website [36] to find out who by entering your address on the top right.

4. It works best if you only email your Senator and Representative in your district.

Oregon State Senators

Herman Baertschiger Jr.​
[email protected]

Lee Beyer
[email protected]

Denyc Boles
[email protected]

Brian Boquist
[email protected]

Ginny Burdick
[email protected]

Peter Courtney
[email protected]

Michael Dembrow
[email protected]

Shemia Fagan
[email protected]

Lynn Findley
[email protected]

Lew Frederick
[email protected]

Sara Gelser
[email protected]

Fred Girod
[email protected]

Bill Hansell
[email protected]

Mark Hass
[email protected]

Dallas Heard
[email protected]

Betsy Johnson
[email protected]

Tim Knopp
[email protected]

Dennis Linthicum
[email protected]

James I. Manning Jr.
[email protected]

Laurie Monnes Anderson
[email protected]

Alan Olsen
[email protected]

Floyd Prozanski
[email protected]

Chuck Riley
[email protected]

Arnie Roblan
[email protected]

Elizabeth Steiner Hayward
[email protected]

Kathleen Taylor
[email protected]

Kim Thatcher
[email protected]

Chuck Thomsen
[email protected]

Rob Wagner
[email protected]

Oregon State Representatives

Teresa Alonso Leon,
[email protected]

Jeff Barker,
[email protected]

Greg Barreto,
[email protected]

Daniel Bonham,
[email protected]

Shelly Boshart Davis,
[email protected]

Vikki Breese-Iverson,
[email protected]

Janelle Bynum,
[email protected]

Brian Clem,
[email protected]

Margaret Doherty,
[email protected]

Christine Drazan,
[email protected]

Paul Evans,
[email protected]

Julie Fahey,
Rep.JulieFahe[email protected]

David Gomberg,
[email protected]

Chris Gorsek,
[email protected]

Mitch Greenlick,
[email protected]

Cedric Hayden,
[email protected]

Ken Helm,
[email protected]

Cheri Helt,
[email protected]

Diego Hernandez,
[email protected]

Paul Holvey,
[email protected]

Alissa Keny-Guyer,
[email protected]

Tina Kotek,
[email protected]

Akasha Lawrence Spence,
[email protected]

Gary Leif,
[email protected]

Rick Lewis,
[email protected]

John Lively,
[email protected]

Pam Marsh,
[email protected]

Caddy McKeown,
[email protected]

Susan McLain,
[email protected]

Mark W. Meek,
[email protected]

Tiffiny Mitchell,
[email protected]

Raquel Moore-Green,
[email protected]

Nancy Nathanson,
[email protected]

Mike Nearman,
[email protected]

Courtney Neron,
[email protected]

Ron Noble,
[email protected]

Rob Nosse,
[email protected]

Mark Owens,
[email protected]

Carla Piluso,
[email protected]

Bill Post,
[email protected]

Karin A. Power,
[email protected]

Rachel Prusak,
[email protected]

Dan Rayfield,
[email protected]

Jeff Reardon,
[email protected]

Werner Reschke,
[email protected]

Andrea Salinas,
[email protected]

Tawna D. Sanchez,
[email protected]

Sheri Schouten,
[email protected]

Greg Smith,
[email protected]

Barbara Smith Warner,
[email protected]

David Brock Smith,
[email protected]

Janeen Sollman,
[email protected]

Sherrie Sprenger,
[email protected]

Duane Stark,
[email protected]

Kim Wallan,
[email protected]

Marty Wilde,
[email protected]

Anna Williams,
[email protected]

Carl Wilson,
[email protected]

Brad Witt,
[email protected]

Jack Zika,
[email protected]

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The Upcoming PERS Crisis: The system is facing a $30 billion shortfall—radical reform is needed

Posted By Cascade Policy Institute On In Uncategorized | No Comments

By Eric Fruits, Ph.D.

Coronavirus has hit the economy hard. Nearly all the stock market gains from the past two or three years have been wiped out. While it’s painful for investors and retirees, it’s likely to fuel the third major PERS crisis since the dot-com bust.

PERS, the public employee retirement system, has two major sources of funds: investment returns and employer contributions. PERS investments are managed by the state treasurer, under guidance from the Oregon Investment Council. “Employers” are state and local governments whose employees are PERS members.

PERS charges these employers a rate equal to some percent of their payroll to fund the costs of their employees’ anticipated retirement benefits. Currently, the average rate is approximately 25% of payroll. For example, for a city employee with a salary of $60,000 a year, the city must pay an additional $15,000 to PERS.

One of the many factors that affect the employer rate is the unfunded actuarial liability, or UAL. The UAL is an estimate of how much money would be needed to pay off all existing beneficiaries if the system were liquidated. Think of it this way: If you sold everything you owned—house, car, checking, savings, retirement—would you have enough to pay everyone you owe? If you don’t, you have unfunded liabilities.

PERS currently has a UAL of $24.5 billion. If PERS liquidated all its assets to pay its existing members, the system would be $24.5 billion short. The employer rate is set to fill that gap over a period of approximately 20 years. So, if the UAL increases, the employer rate increases. Similarly, if the UAL decreases, so does the employer rate.

Here’s where investment returns come in.

Because of the way PERS benefits are calculated, the system’s investments must earn an average of at least 7.2% a year to stop the UAL from getting bigger. That’s a very aggressive, and optimistic, target.

In good times, when PERS investments earn above average returns, the money from the investments reduces the UAL, which in turn reduces the employer contribution rate. If, on the other hand, PERS investments tank, the UAL balloons, and state and local governments must make bigger contributions to fill the gap.

PERS investment returns are correlated with stock market returns. Generally speaking, in a bull market, PERS investments run with the bulls; when the market drops, PERS investments suffer as well.

The stock market is down more than 20% from the beginning of the year. That means PERS investments would be down by about 11%. Based on past experience, such a drop would add another $6 billion to PERS’ unfunded liabilities, for a total UAL of about $30 billion.

Let’s say the economy improves and the stock market recovers all its losses, ending the year unchanged from the beginning of the year. PERS investments would be up by about 5%, based on past experience. Even so, PERS unfunded liabilities would increase by about $3 billion for a total UAL of about $27 billion.

Based on these observations, it’s very possible that state and local governments would face an employer contribution rate for PERS of 30% or more. That $60,000 employee would now come with an $18,000 additional cost to pay for PERS.

Where will that additional money come from?

It’ll come from us. Legislators and local governments will be under tremendous pressure to raise taxes to pay for skyrocketing PERS costs. Along with that will come budget cuts, with fewer teachers, state police, foster care workers resulting in bigger class sizes, reduced law enforcement, and more children stranded in the foster system. It’s not just a financial crisis, it’s a human crisis.

PERS has been a ticking time bomb for two decades. Attempts at meaningful reform have been put off by timid politicians and thwarted by powerful public employee unions. In the first PERS crisis of 2002, the system’s unfunded liabilities were less than $4 billion. In the second crisis, beginning in 2008, the UAL ballooned to $16 billion. Today, we’re looking at a third crisis with a UAL of $30 billion or more, or nearly $19,000 per household.

We are entering an era in which PERS cannot be merely tweaked or reformed. We are entering a PERS crisis that will require a radical overhaul of the entire system. It can begin with some straightforward first steps:

  1. Move all new public employees into a 403(b) defined contribution plan. These are similar to the 401(k) plans held by many private sector employees. TriMet has already made the switch [37], and it saved the agency from insolvency.
  2. The PERS Board must change its assumed rate of return on PERS investments. Because of the mismatch between assumed and actual investment returns, PERS is accruing liabilities much faster than it’s growing its assets. Bad assumptions were unsustainable 20 years ago, and they’re disastrous now.

These are just first steps that can be handled quickly in an emergency session of the legislature and an emergency meeting of the PERS board. There’s never a good time to upset the public employee unions. Now that we’re in a crisis, it’s time for leadership and action to save the state from fiscal disaster.

Eric Fruits, Ph.D. is Vice President of Research at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

Oregon Can Support Workers by Reducing Regulations

Posted By Cascade Policy Institute On In Uncategorized | No Comments

By Rachel Dawson

Businesses across Oregon are laying off employees and shuttering their doors, triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak and Kate Brown’s executive order [38] requiring social distancing and closing specified businesses. Unemployment claims jumped by around 3,200% in Oregon last week [39] and unemployment could reach 20% in the coming months.

Due to the outbreak and increased statewide demand, the state is relaxing requirements for some occupations. For example, the state will be expediting the licensing process for daycare providers and will “waive, suspend or amend existing administrative rules pertaining to child care while allowing for emergency child care to be established [40].”

Easing the burden and costs of licensing for daycare workers is a good first step, but the state can go farther to help more Oregonians access jobs they otherwise would be locked out of due to costly fees and lengthy processes. Oregon has the 8th most burdensome licensing laws in the nation [41] and licenses 69 of 102 lower-income occupations identified by the Institute for Justice.

For instance, residents who are already certified as an EMT in another state must apply, pass a background check, and pay a fee to be granted a license in Oregon. Officials can reduce or waive these requirements to improve access to the health care industry, which may be especially important now if others fall ill while caring for sick Oregonians.

Oregon can support workers and help more people attain employment by cutting the red tape now and committing to reduced occupational regulations in the future.

Rachel Dawson is a Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free-market public policy research organization.