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Oregon House passes 10-year fracking ban

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tracy Loew, Statesman Journal

The Oregon House has passed a 10-year ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking…

…The process releases natural gas from coal seams.

Supporters say the state does not have sufficient regulations in place to ensure the environment is protected from the practice…

[According to Democrat sponsor Ken Helm] “If this industry comes to the state, we ought to be prepared with adequate rules to regulate the practice so it doesn’t contaminate groundwater”…

Industry officials say the practice has been used for more than 60 years and is safe…

The current version does not include any requirement for state agencies to undertake writing rules for fracking wells, but that still could happen, Helm said…

We Respond & Your Comments

We’re with ya all the way, Ken Baby. Why would we want Oregonians to benefit from a practice that’s saved natural gas consumers $200 a year between 2007 and 2013?

But why not tell the truth, Ken? You don’t want a 10 year ban. You want an eternal ban. That’s why your bill doesn’t ban fracking “until its environmental safety has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

That’s why you didn’t include writing rules to ensure environmental safety.

Fess up, Kenny – you don’t want fracking any time, any place. And if your natural gas buying constituents in Beaverton have to cough up an extra $200 a year? Well, that’s just their sacrifice for your pet hobbyhorse, isn’t it?


Oregon lawmakers’ cost-cutting ideas target government employee pay, benefits

Thursday, May 18, 2017

By Saul Hubbard

The Register-Guard

SALEM — A small, bipartisan group of lawmakers Friday released a long list of cost-­reduction ideas, an effort to close part of ­Oregon’s $1.6 billion budget shortfall without cutting key services.

The wide-ranging list would curb public employee pay, and health and pension benefits, ­[and] reduce the number of state government jobs…

Because they would mean ­financial hits to public employees, many of the ideas also are politically toxic for majority Democrats…

But some Democrats hope to leverage the significant cost-­cutting measures into Republican support for a major business tax increase…

Steve Demarest, president of SEIU Local 503, the state’s largest union, calls the proposals “outrageous,” pointing out that many of the ideas would affect public employees directly.

“This is an effort to scapegoat people who have dedicated their lives to public service when we should be doing something about our out-of-whack, lowest-in-the-nation corporate taxes,” Demarest said in a prepared statement Friday…

We Respond & Your Comments

OMG! It’s an outrage! Asking workers employed by an entity that’s financially upside down to pay part of their pensions! It’s the Black Plague, Haymarket Riots and Valentine’s Day Massacre all rolled into one toxic dose of abuse!

Maybe some of you have been involved in a troubled business. You may even have had to take a pay cut or been laid off. Did you whine, moan and bedwet? No – because you’re adults who know that life isn’t always pleasant.

Now let’s look at the Democrats’ Grand Strategy. Here it is:

  • Dig a gigantic budget hole by spending like there’s no tomorrow;
  • Threaten to cut off essential programs (especially for The Children) unless Republicans agree to new taxes;
  • Use current spending levels, less some painless cuts, as the platform for new excessive spending;
  • Repeat as needed.

There it is, folks – playing out before your very eyes.


Bogus statistics undercut city program to help Portland renters

Thursday, May 4, 2017

It started with make-believe numbers.

The Portland Housing Bureau wanted city money to clean up code violations at low-income apartments east of 82nd Avenue.

It sounded like a worthy idea, but bureau officials wildly inflated how many apartment buildings would be eligible. They claimed 400 properties in east Portland had been flagged for urgent repairs when the actual number at the time was 19…

What appeared to be a bargain – paying landlords for repairs if they agreed to keep rents low – got caught up in a case of sloppy budgeting…

City housing officials deny misleading anyone…but they could produce no documentation to prove their assertions…They requested $1.5 million in the upcoming 2017-18 budget to continue the program….

Meanwhile, almost all the 19 landlords facing citations when officials first pitched the program have since made repairs without a subsidy…

We Respond & Your Comments

Here’s a paradigm for how government bureaucracies work:

  • Start with a program that sounds good because it helps “The Little guy”;
  • Get a whole bunch of money;
  • Hold on to it even though the problem is solving itself;
  • Ask for more money next year.

Why does this work? Because it’s not their money they’re spending. And if they run out of it they’ll just force peasant taxpayers to cough up more.


Democrats face business opposition to family leave bill

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Written by Paris Achen, Portland Tribune 

…SALEM — A bill to require 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave would bring Oregon up to the living standards of most other developed nations but represents another financial setback to the state’s business community, said speakers at a hearing…

While many businesses support and offer family and medical leave, the bill is overreaching, said Betsy Earls of Associated Oregon Industries…

The legislation “creates conditions that would make it costly and difficult for businesses — especially small ones — to plan and manage their operations,” Earls said.

The bill, sponsored by four House Democrats, would require a mandatory ½ percent deduction from employees’ pay. Employers would be required to contribute an equal amount. The money would go to a paid leave insurance program administered by the Oregon Department of Business and Consumer Services…

We Respond & Your Comments

First it was mandatory unpaid family leave. Now it’s 12 weeks of paid leave. And 18 weeks at 90% of salary for a new baby. Next it will be 18 weeks for all because it’s just not fair that someone caring for a sick mother should get less than someone with a baby.

Then it’ll be 100% of pay for parents of newborns because babies are expensive and it’s just not fair to burden them with a pay cut.

Then 100% of salary for anyone on family leave because it’s not fair….you get the point.

Here’s the takeaway: Liberals never stop with the last demand, which was only a platform for launching the next one.

A famous ‘60s Hippy radical reportedly screeched, “When they meet our demands we’ll just make 12 more. And when they meet those – another 12.”

Folks, that’s Liberalism. The solution? Fight their first demands.


The Register Guard – EDITORIAL

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A risky option…

A proposal to privatize the United States’ air traffic control system has surfaced again…

Last year, GOP Congressman Bill Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, introduced a bill that would have dismantled the air traffic control system and turned its functions and responsibilities over to a private, nonprofit corporation…

This is not a system to be discarded lightly or turned over to private interests without an assurance that the prosperity and security of the United States would be as well-served under private management as it has been under public…

…[Rep. Peter] DeFazio argued that privatization would “tear apart aviation programs, risk unnecessary duplication and complexity, and ultimately cost money for taxpayers and travelers.”…

Any move to dismantle the existing system for a new, untried system with the potential for massive conflicts of interest should be firmly squashed.

We Respond & Your Comments

“As a traditional government agency constrained by federal budget rules and micromanaged by Congress, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) is poorly suited to run what amounts to a capital-intensive, high-tech service business.” So declared Clinton and Obama administration policy expert Dorothy Robyn in a Brookings Institution study.

“A look at the five countries where private groups handle air traffic shows there need not be any safety risks” according to

One report charges that the FAA is using “technology from the World War II era.”

Private enterprise is almost always preferable to government control. And when Progressive statists such as The Register Guard, New York Times and Rep. Defazio line up against private enterprise we get suspicious.

We say if private air traffic control is good enough for Canada and other countries it’s probably good enough for us!


Lawmakers try again at making Oregon ballots free to mail

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

By Gordon R. Friedman

SALEM — Voting may be a right, but in Oregon it can also come with a price: 49 cents, the cost of a postage stamp needed to put a ballot in the mail. But that may change as members of the Legislature are again considering a bill to have the state pre-pay for ballot postage.

The legislation, Senate Bill 683, is backed by Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, and Sen. Richard Devlin, D-Tualatin. They say it’s tough for some would-be voters to obtain a stamp.

“This is especially true for a lot of young people who don’t use stamps,” Dembrow told the Senate Rules Committee Monday. “They pay their bills electronically…. It’s also true for a lot of people who are low-income or who maybe have disabilities.”

Devlin told the committee that Senate Bill 683 is about increasing “participation in our representative democracy.”

If pre-paying for ballot postage boosted voter turnout by 5 percent, it’d be worth the estimated $650,000 to $1.3 million annual price tag, he said…

We Respond & Your Comments

We’re touched to the point of tears by Mike & Rich’s concern for the young, poor, disabled and voter turnout. Aren’t you?

What’s that you say? Mikey & Richy don’t give a (insert your favorite word here) about them? You think he knows they vote mostly Democrat and that his Progressive pals will snag a whole slew of votes?

We’re shocked by your cynicism. We know Dems care only about young, poor and other at risk Oregonians – whether or not they vote. Indeed, they care deeply. And they care enough to add maybe a million or more bucks to our State’s budget hole.

Now – aren’t you ashamed of yourselves?


Competition, demographics concern Oregon Lottery director

Thursday, April 6, 2017

By Anna Marum, The Oregonian

PORTLAND — One of Oregon’s critical revenue sources, the Oregon Lottery, could be in jeopardy.

Aging players, increasing competition from tribe-operated casinos and a shrinking retail base threaten to cut into revenue the state budget counts on, lottery director Barry Pack told the House Revenue Committee on Tuesday.

The lottery, with more than 3,900 retailers statewide, is projected to contribute nearly $1.2 billion to state coffers this biennium. About half of that goes to education…The rest would pay for economic development, parks and natural resources, and gambling addiction treatment…

The biggest problem facing the state’s lottery, Pack said, is…players are getting older, and young people aren’t as interested as lottery officials would like…

We Respond & Your Comments

There are arguments pro and con on government lotteries. Pro – They generate loads of money. Con – They’re regressive taxes on low income workers and catnip to addicts.

We believe people should get the government they’re willing to pay for. Instead, Oregonians get $1.2 billion of programs whose costs aren’t paid by taxes and therefore go unnoticed. When money dwindles, legislators can zero them out or preserve them with more taxes. Guess which they choose.

Who’s really gotten a free ride on lottery bucks are politicians. They’ve spent them to create programs that get them reelected. Think when lottery dollars fade they’ll just kill them? No – they’ll pick your pockets to keep their good times rolling.


Oregon legislators from Lane County area focus on pet projects and peeves in upcoming Salem session

Thursday, April 6, 2017

By Saul Hubbard, The Register Guard

Sen. Lee Beyer, Democrat, Senate District 12: Springfield –

Beyer wants to try to curb rising hospital costs with a new governor-appointed commission that would monitor and approve the prices hospitals charge patients…

Senate Bill 419 would require hospital rates for any service to be approved by the commission, unless the price is less than two times what a Medicare patient would be charged…

To charge more, hospitals would need the commission’s approval…

[ Beyer said hospitals] “have to make a reasonable profit.”

We Respond & Your Comments

That’s a terrific idea, Lee! What we need is a new commission made up of Progressives whose idea of “progress” is a bunch of “experts” deciding what a “reasonable” profit is and steering as much of it as they can to the next “Beyer For Senate” campaign. That’s the kind of central planning we love!


Income tax increase for homeowner’s bill up today — House Bill 2771

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

By Taxpayer Association of Oregon,

… the House Revenue Committee will be hearing an income tax increase bill for homeowners -House Bill 2771.  House Bill 2771 phases out allowances of itemized deductions for homeowners. This bill raises taxes on any homeowner who earns more than $50,000. For higher income earners this bill eliminates entirely one’s deduction for property taxes. This is a steep income tax increase for most Oregon homeowners.

The bill has no author. The politician who created this bill has remained anonymous.

The bill is also missing the 3/5th majority requirement for tax increases…   This amounts to a naked violation of the state constitution…

We Respond & Your Comments

As we said above – Oregon’s $1.8 billion budget hole isn’t the result of taxpayers not paying enough. It’s the result of our “Progressive” Legislature spending (and here we apologize to drunken sailors) like drunken sailors.

HB 2771 is one of the first fiscal assaults on Oregonians who are just trying to earn a living. There will be many more as our one party government slops up at the trough filled with your tax dollars.

Always remember our Legislature’s motto: “Government can never do with less money. Taxpayers always can.”


Oregon tax revenue growing 2x other states

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

By Taxpayer Association of Oregon Foundation, reprinted in Oregon Catalyst

Governor Kate Brown and some lawmakers say the State of Oregon is facing a $1.7 billion budget shortfall in the 2017-19 biennium. Yet, this shortfall is in the face of all-time high tax money coming in to state government.

Research published by the Pew Charitable Trusts finds that Oregon has seen some of the fastest growth in tax revenues since the end of the Great Recession.

Pew’s comparison of each state’s tax receipts show that since 2010, Oregon had the third largest recovery among the states. On average, states have seen tax revenues grow by 21 percent. At 41 percent growth, Oregon’s tax revenues grew at nearly double the state average.

…On average, states have seen tax revenues grow by 6 percent since their pre-recession peaks. Oregon’s tax revenue growth was more than 16 percent since the end of 2008…

Deficits are caused from spending outpacing revenues. Despite Oregon’s record rate of revenue collection, state spending plans have increased even faster…

We Respond & Your Comments

Record levels of tax dollars – dollars you worked for – are rolling in to Salem. But they’re not enough for the Progressives who run our Beaver State. They’ve spent themselves into a $1.7 or $1.8 billion (who’s counting? They’re not) deficit. Every program sounded good. Every union raise and new benefit was for “fairness.” But any spending cut they might pass means they’re taking something away from somebody. And Progressives’ union sugar daddies, who deliver votes and dollars, hold tight to what they’ve already won.

We doubt that our liberal legislators will jerk from their arms the spending needles that mainline their votes and campaign dollars. That leaves us, the taxpayers, first in line to solve their spending problem. Our advice: Grab your wallets! Progressives are on the prowl for them.