Wild Claims! Deception! Mystery Money!

Paulie Brading

Rep. Sal Esquivel, R-Medford, Sen. Chris Telfer, R-Bend and Sen.Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day continue to spew false information to voters that there is a pot of gold laying around in the state "ending fund balances" with Telfer stating "there are billions for use at the legislature's discretion." in their "No on 66/67" campaign statements.

Secretary of State Kate Brown weighed in, "Make no mistake about it: These dollars are subject to federal restrictions, as well as statutory and constitutional spending constraints. These include transportation funds that cannot, under the law, be spent for general-fund purposes, such as schools or prisons." On Thursday Secretary of State Brown sent out a news release calling the claims "wildly inaccurate" as reported by Harry Esteve of the Oregonian.

Ken Rocco, the legislative fiscal officer stated, "The vast majority of the funds are tied up in special kinds of trust funds, revolving loan accounts and other restrictions.

William K. Jaeger, a specialist in applied economics at Oregon State University wrote in the Statesman Journal on 1/17/10:

The shifting reasons and explainations by the "No" campaign and in particular legislators who have spoken out in favor of voting No on measures 66 and 67 will face difficult races to keep their seats. Conservative rhetoric aside, the facts speak for themselves. It is not OK to fool tax payers into believing there is a pot of gold when there isn't one.  The stance taken by R-Esquivel, R-Telfer and R-Ferroli is an extremist and reckless trap because even if 66 and 67 pass Oregon school districts will remain about $550 million below essential funding levels.

In other words, Esquivel, Telfer and Ferrioli are for larger class sizes, fewer teachers, shorter school years and inadequate policing.




Comments

  • Richard (unverified)
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    This isn't all bad. If voters are dumb enough to believe it, then we deserve ruination.

    I don't get the transactional logic at the end. Apply that to voters and what do you end up with? It's the same with all these M66/67 posts. Valid points, put well...and then you have to go for a cheap shot just to prove there's no difference in character

    Obviously the reps in question, given their stupid claim that the money is there, aren't saying to not fund those things. They're saying to fund it from fantasy land. Does that really need a cheap dig? Let them hang themselves.

    No, whether or not the measures pass, these guys know they're toast. Good ridance.

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    but just so we're clear, Paulie, it's the Dem leaders in the Leg who've fostered this partisan climate, shutting out moderate business voices, taking the easy way out ($2 bln in cuts, piece of cake) and so on. the Oregonian continues to make that clear, and they're a liberal mouthpiece, right?

  • Robert Harris (unverified)
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    From the 2003 voters guide special election referrendum on M28, January, 2003. This was signed by 17 Republicen Senators and Representatives, including Dan Doyle, who claimed that there were millions in reserves and unspent ending balances that could be tapped to fill the holes.

    "The Oregon economy needs help! Oregonians have the highest unemployment in America and already pay high income tax. Oregonians need responsible state government, not more taxes. State government should not ask for more taxes until Oregonians are back to work and waste and low priority programs are eliminated.

    During 2002, we worked for five special sessions to protect essential government services: public education, public safety, and human resource programs for Oregon's seniors and most needy. Unfortunately, this tax measure was passed instead of prioritizing spending. Increasing taxes maintains non-essential government spending and stops true reform. Furthermore, this measure could keep Oregon in the recession even longer.

    Your "NO" vote for this unnecessary tax increase will not turn prisoners loose, will not increase the size of our classrooms or force our senior citizens to choose between rent or food. Such scare tactics are not true. What is true is Oregonians have prioritized their personal spending during this recession and state government needs to do the same."

    M28 failed of course. Then criminals weren't only set lose, crimes weren't even prosecuted (Coincidence that that was the beginning of the Meth and ID theft surge?). Schools were shut. Hillsboro schools lost 17 days. And of course, there were articles like this

    Those that forget the past are condemned to repeat it.

  • ThinkOregon (unverified)
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    "... Secretary of State Kate Brown weighed in, "Make no mistake about it: These dollars are subject to federal restrictions, as well as statutory and constitutional spending constraints..."

    Blaming process is simply the tyranny of the weak. Translating Kate Brown: "we have the money, just not the will."

    Also, here's a Ph.D. who disagrees with your economist:

    http://www.econinternational.com/blog/2009/11/17/oregon’s-in-recession-but-the-state-budget-is-booming/

    If we're to craft any economically sustainable future for Oregon, tax AND spending reforms must be a part of the solution.

  • (Show?)

    Ted once offered some advice to the bikers back in the day, and it was that repetition is the single most important single influence on anyone who is undecided on anything.

    The advice is neither moral or immoral. Just a fact regarding the proper way to sell cars or ballot initiatives or whatever.

    Smart guy. follows his own advice. Reminds me of the morally neutral characters that were always my favorites in Dungeons and Dragons......You could do anything at all without a worry of interference from your deity's representatives whether dark or light side.

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    "The vast majority of the funds are tied up in special kinds of trust funds, revolving loan accounts and other restrictions

    Please define: vast majority

  • Robert Harris (unverified)
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    My link failed, here's the NYT item I was trying to post http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/05/opinion/05HERB.html

  • Richard (unverified)
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    Posted by: Pat Ryan | Jan 17, 2010 1:02:09 PM

    Ted once offered some advice to the bikers back in the day, and it was that repetition is the single most important single influence on anyone who is undecided on anything.

    What a whopper! That only works on the mindless. Oh, right. You're gung ho into means justify the ends mode now. Hmmm. Cars. Not MUCH fraud in that. Aw hell, the bidness of American's bizness is fraud, anyway. But then why change the tone? Not trying to reach all those stupid progressive you used to associate with. What a hopelessly, cynical, cowardly point of view!!!

    And D&D is for wankers.

  • Insider (unverified)
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    Great post, Paulie.

    A quick look at the specifics of the House & Senate Republican proposals reveals the insanity of their approach:

    • The Republicans want to cut $200 million from the Education Stability Fund that is slated to go entirely to fund K-12 schools this biennium, but they pretend that won't hurt kids.

    • The Republicans want to cut $240,000 from the Oregon Student Assistance Commission that is entirely committed to help Oregon kids attend college this biennium, but they pretend that won't prevent these students from accessing higher education.

    • The Repubicans want to cut $5 million in the "new automobile fund" that will go entirely to purchase vehicles for the new state troopers we have hired, but they pretend that they don't want those troopers patrolling our freeways by foot.

    Do the Republicans even READ this stuff before they publish it?

    Vote YES on 66 and 67. And vote OUT of office these legislative Republican clowns.

  • ThinkOregon (unverified)
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    Just for the sake of argument, let's also assume the following are true:

    1. Oregon is an extremely attractive and livable state;
    2. Oregon has an educated, talented and creative work force;
    3. Oregon has an ultra low $10 minimum corporate tax rate.

    Why then, does Oregon continue to lag behind the rest of the nation on employment, wages, housing affordability and so many other key economic indicators?

    Could Nike's Chairman be correct in his assertions that Oregon does indeed have an anti-business bias? Is that why he labels M66/67 as "... Oregon's Assisted Suicide Law II" (Read Here)

    Could Prof Duy at UO be correct in his assertions when he asked, "Can a region afford to set policies that make them undesirable to large firms?" (Read Here)

    The most important contribution Oregon employers make to funding state services is that they employ people. Employers are the state's primary generators of state funding by the employment they provide and the income they generate for working Oregonians.

    Employers also are the primary tax collectors, withholding from employees' pay the estimated state taxes they may owe and sending that money to the state. Private sector employers have shed 131,500 jobs since this recession started and re-growing that job base is the only sustainable way to rebuild state revenues.

    So ... if we're concerned about education and social services... why are we about to cripple our primary source of funding by foisting $733,000,000 in new, permanent and retroactive taxes on Oregon employers?

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    Could Nike's Chairman be correct in his assertions that Oregon does indeed have an anti-business bias?

    When all the objective rankings say Oregon has among the lowest business tax burdens in the country? Sorry, it's just not credible.

    Let's look for a simpler explanation: Knight is the 24th richest person in the country. When he looks longingly at the tax system across the border, the grass he's seeing is painted green with dollars. That’s because Washington’s is the best system in the country – if you happen to be worth $9.5 billion like Phil Knight. In Washington, the richest 1% pay only 2.6% of their family income on state taxes, while the bottom 20% pay 17.3% and the middle 20% pay 10.8%.

    So – unless you want Oregon to start looking more like Washington and have us all pitch in to lighten Phil’s load, vote Yes.

  • Geoffrey Ludt (unverified)
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    My BFF Phil Knight! Check out his NO ON 66/67 Editorial ... I personally like how he ties Oregon's loss of fortune 500 companies in recent years to the state's anti-business stance -- you progressives are job killers!

    http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2010/01/nike_chairman_anti-business_cl.html

    Choke on it.

    Geoff

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    The Fortune 500 line is a total crock. Check this out:

    According to the Tax Foundation, the top 3 states with the best business tax climate are South Dakota, Wyoming and Alaska. You know how many Fortune 500 companies are located there? Zero.

    Oh - and the 3 states with the worst business tax climate are New Jersey, New York and California. Number of Fortune 500 firms there? Respectively, 21, 56, and 51.

  • Mike M (unverified)
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    There is continued reluctance from 66/67 supporters to address several questions:

    • why are business shedding jobs?
    • despite touting the attractiveness of Oregon, why are businesses choosing to establish or grow elsewhere?
    • other than bolstering public employment, what part of supporting Measures 66/67 do anything to create jobs or attract business to Oregon?
    • for the few successful and thriving businesses in Oregon, why are the best and brightest minds going after them to extract even more taxes? Has everyone forgotten what they have already done so far for the state?

    Nike, Jeld-Wen and Intel are perhaps Oregon's largest private employers and probably the 3 companies whose employees contribute a considerable amount in state income and real property taxes to the state's coffers. Perpetuating a negative attitude towards business will not likely cause them to relocate, but they may think twice about expanding if the "unfriendly-to-business" trend continues.

    There have been statements that stronger schools will attract businesses. Can the business decline to date be blamed on weak schools? I think not. Many of Oregon's K-12 graduates have moved on to the nations best schools and graduate. Is there an outflow of Oregon's best and brightest to other states because that is where the best jobs are?

    As for companies leaving if taxes are raised; not likely. Their current investments make it difficult to leave.

    Intel for example has multi-billion dollar plant investments in Washington County that are impossible to move. However, when the plants are obsolete they can simply be shuttered, just like the other vacant technology fabs in Washington County.

    The bashing here shows no appreciation for what these companies bring to the state of Oregon. Perhaps Jeff Golden's other post here deserves serious consideration.

    As for the so called business experts here offering expert business and tax advice - just what are the names of your wildly successful businesses? What are your ideas for attracting businesses to Oregon.

    Here are my suggestions that make a locale attractive to business: - good transport so raw materials and supplies can enter quickly and finished goods can be exported efficiently - a productive and responsible workforce - efficient transportation between worker homes and company facilities - efficient and cooperative regulation and planning authorities for expansion and modification of facilities - good quality of life - affordable housing, food, and transportation - eliminate taxes that punish success - and of course, good schools, safe communities, and accessible services for everyone

    As for the latter, don't use them as hostages to promote an agenda. It's sort of like "do as I say or I'll shoot this kitten (or dog)". Why oh why must our schools and public safety organizations always be the hostage? That is the ultimate deception!

  • LT (unverified)
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    Mike, I have a question for you:

    In 2004 (6 years ago) Oregon voted on Measure 30. The Russ Walker folks won and claimed the result would be a great thing.

    In the intervening 6 years, has there been no report on jobs created in 2004?

    Years ago, a millionaire was running for office (in one of the Plains states) and was asked if the government was a force for good or ill when it came to businesses.

    He replied that without government roads, he and his partners would never have been able to build up the chain of roadside restaurants which became so successful.

    Can you prove this comment is wrong:

    Posted by: Dan Petegorsky | Jan 17, 2010 3:36:10 PM

    How many employers want to relocate in a state where education is underfunded, state police funding is questionable, and the courts (which businesses rely on in contract disputes) might have to close a day a week if there are any more budget cuts?

    What is your business experience which tells you that none of those questions need be mentioned because people will get educated (outside of the community colleges which now do employer-specific training), security can be provided, and courts are really not necessary for functioning, successful businesses?

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    There is continued reluctance from 66/67 supporters to address several questions:

    • why are business shedding jobs?
    • despite touting the attractiveness of Oregon, why are businesses choosing to establish or grow elsewhere?
    • other than bolstering public employment, what part of supporting Measures 66/67 do anything to create jobs or attract business to Oregon?
    • for the few successful and thriving businesses in Oregon, why are the best and brightest minds going after them to extract even more taxes? Has everyone forgotten what they have already done so far for the state?

    Other topics not addressed by supporters of 66 & 67:

    Why do I keep gaining a pound or two a year despite my best efforts?

    Why does my dog keep asserting that it's dinner time at around 3:00 pm, even though we both know it won't happen 'til 5:00 pm at the earliest?

    How come there seem to be way more british actors that can do Amrecan accents than the reverse?

    What are supporters of 66&67 doing to address these issues?

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    I will never understand the right/left black/white mentality. Can we all agree that government does some thing really well and others not so much. That some businesses are real pricks and the majority actually do really good things.

    Can we move this discussion along.....please!!!

  • Mike M (unverified)
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    LT:

    Of course there have been jobs created since 2004 in certain sectors. And there have been reductions in others. But due to Measure 30 failing? Perhaps, perhaps not. Intel, Nike, and Jeld-wen have grown in subsequent years, too; in Intel's case, though there were reductions announced in some departments, the increase in other areas of Intel Oregon resulted in a net employment gain. A healthy business is always making adjustments. An annual activity at Intel is Ranking&Rating where employees are reviewed; some are given the opportunity to improve or find another job. (Disclaimer: I do not work for Intel)

    As for infrastructure - i.e. roads - you need to drive around Intel Oregon and Nike here in Washington County to see what they have actually done to improve the surrounding area. Yes, road and intersection improvements built on their nickel.

    Establishing a new, large business results in infrastructure improvements. Many times, it is the large successful companies providing the funds to launch these projects. It is only when the state, county, or local governments impede development that causes businesses to look elsewhere.

    What also occurred is that soon after Measure 30 failed Oregon tax revenues still increased in subsequent years due to the then booming economy; Oregon proceeded to significantly increase its spending to expand government in a non-sustainable manner, contributing to our problems today.

    As for education being underfunded, or the courts lacking "open" days: no one has ever provided a satisfactory answer to "how much is enough?". When the state did forecast higher tax revenues in past years, nothing was done to build a more sustainable future.

    A few years ago, Beaverton School District passed a local option to increase local school funding. The money did not get spent, because it wasn't actually needed. The district also wisely deferred these added funds since it did not want to launch a spending trend that was not sustainable.

    Courts closing for 1 day per week? I see no problem - businesses regularly close their doors temporarily when times are tough. Although there still may be essential services staffed to take care of critical business needs. I don't see why the courthouses and other public agencies stagger the employee work furloughs to keep the offices open with reduced staffing on certain days.

    From your frequent postings here regarding your work with the legislature, I think you have a myopic view of how the private sector works. Perhaps visiting with a few larger established businesses will give you an alternative view. I've certainly learned quite a lot working with school administration and legislators to see their challenges and how they have tried to solve them.

    Have you?

  • Mike M (unverified)
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    Pat,

    You are quite funny.

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    Mike M -

    You cite transportation as a key to business development. You do realize that the 2009 legislature passed a $1 billion transportation infrastructure package, and spent another $150 million on "shovel ready" projects that included funding for local infrastructure, don't you?

    You also point out that we need "good schools, safe communities, and accessible services"...

    These are precisely the things that the legislature was attempting to fund through the proposed tax increases. But even if these tax measures pass, Oregonians are going to see a smaller general fund budget (i.e., the part of the budget that is funded through state taxes) in the next biennium than we had in the last one.

    The main reason Oregon's budget grew in the last biennium is that a signigicant amount of Federal ARRA (stimulus) funds came into the state.

    Someone posted the following statistics on Oregon Catalyst a few days ago, but the numbers are accurate so far as I can tell, and they bear repeating here:

    General Funds budget + Lottery Funds decreased by $142.8 million.

    • K-12 is down 7.7% from the last biennium
    • Higher ed is down 6.6% from last biennium
    Other Funds budget increased 5.5% from last biennium
    • $400 million raised from hospital provider tax triggered $850 million in federal matching funds. We could decrease the budget by $850 million by sending back the federal matching funds. I know of no one who thinks that doing so would be a good idea for Oregon.
    • Oregon University system brought in $185 million in additional tuition and fees from increased enrollment.
    Federal Funds to Oregon's budget increased by 33.7 percent in this biennium, thanks to one-time stimulus money through ARRA and increased money under medicaid matching programs. Again, would we be better off sending that money back? Here's where much of the money went:
    • $81 million for LIHEAP and LIWP (low income heating and weatherization assistance).
    • $400 million from federal government for increased unemployment insurance claims. Maybe we should send that money back, given that we have 12 percent unemployment, eh?
    • K-12 and Higher ed received a 1-time payment of $560 million in ARRA funds.
    • $541 million increase in medicare and medicaid payments to DHS.

  • westside (unverified)
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    Um, Intel has reduced it's presence in Oregon. 100s of employees were moved out of the Amberglen complex last week. There was also a major fab shutdown not to long ago.

    By the way, Intel no longer does ranking and rating.

  • Mike M (unverified)
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    Sal,

    Yes, I read the reports from the state legislative and budget offices.

    You casually mention the fact that many of these funding sources are one-time deals. What happens after that funding is gone? Most funds are a temporary stimulus.

    Yes, due to declining tax revenues - a direct result of increased unemployment and uncontrolled tax credits, the general fund will have less. If this is a temporary problem, why did the legislature create permanent tax increases? If it is a permanent problem, why didn't the legislature work on restructuring?

    If the current employment levels or downward trends are permanent, affirming the legislature's new taxes with the passage of Measures 66&67 does nothing to fill the gap left when the fed stimulus money is gone. The shovel ready projects do not permanently increase the employment rolls.

    Nothing in my suggestions indicate that current deficiencies exist in infrastructure, making Oregon less attractive. I only state that businesses expect there to be infrastructure already, and that government work with business when improvements are needed. What I inferred is that government and a vocal community minority are sometimes an impediment.

    As for education and public safety getting less funding, were other departments allocated more? (yes, according to state budget office). The legislature made those hard decisions without considering alternatives. Yes, I realize that employment contracts promise benefits that are more expensive than general fund funding can pay.

    As for refusing fed funds. . .

    Oregon is addicted to this increased funding, and simply doesn't know how to say no. A restructuring of state funding is long overdue. We missed our chance for major changes when the coffers were flush a few short years ago.

    I realize that a lot of this is 20-20 hindsight.

    I also realize that the state and local governments must consider alternatives to tax increases. I have no problem with expanding tax revenues due to economic success. Just remember what Martha Thatcher said many years ago.

  • LT (unverified)
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    "Of course there have been jobs created since 2004 in certain sectors. And there have been reductions in others. But due to Measure 30 failing? "

    Russ Walker et al claimed there would be a sucking sound of all jobs draining out of Oregon if his side lost and a job creation Nirvanna if his side won.

    One would think that meant they were really concerned about the number of jobs created after they won. But they don't want to answer the question of which jobs were created where after they won.

    OAJKT could have run a more intelligent campaign if they had shown how the Measure 30 election resulted in more jobs---it would make their title seem like more than a clever slogan.

    Instead it has been "trust us---jobs will be lost if the measures pass".

    Based on what?

    Or does even asking "create a poor business climate"?

    The Chief Justice of Oregon said in a speech how many people have already been laid off and what will happen if there is another budget cut.

    But of course, you know better?

    "As for education being underfunded, or the courts lacking "open" days: no one has ever provided a satisfactory answer to "how much is enough?".

    What do you think the court system should be doing? Is drug court a high priority? Family court?

    Or should those be turned over to the private sector?

    Did you vote to put the kicker in the Constitution? (It was one of the 2 measures in 2000 to get the least votes and still win.)

    Could the kicker be a reason why, as you say, "When the state did forecast higher tax revenues in past years, nothing was done to build a more sustainable future."

    Do you support the cause of kicker reform?

  • Mike M (unverified)
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    Westside,

    Most of the Amberglen folks moved to Jones Farm in recent weeks. The lease was not renewed, but a few groups remain until their lease expires. Amberglen is not owned by INtel. The previous owner was CALPERS, and it recently was foreclosed.A new owner purchased the property according to an article in the Oregonian. Due to the foreclosure it was perhaps difficult to negotiate a new lease.

    I suggest you talk to an Intel employee or manager to determine the fate of R&R. You are mistaken.

    The Aloha fab has been idle for several years. This was the first fab built in Oregon back in the 70s. It is obsolete; its last task was to build keyboard controllers, a variation of the 8051/8048 chip technology. It's rather difficult to refurbsih for new technology. There are professionals working at this site in the extensive Class A office areas. The other Oregon fabs are at Ronler Acres, and all are active or undergoing improvements for new processes. Additionally, a new fab is under construction at Ronler. Jones Farm is mostly professionals.

  • ThinkOregon (unverified)
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    Sal Peralta...

    "...The main reason Oregon's budget grew in the last biennium is that a signigicant amount of Federal ARRA (stimulus) funds came into the state.

    From the Oregonian...

    "A surge of more than $20 billion in federal stimulus money for roads and bridges has had no effect on local unemployment rates, raising questions about President Barack Obama's argument for billions more to address an "urgent need to accelerate job growth."

    An Associated Press analysis of stimulus spending found that it didn't matter if a lot of money was spent on highways or none at all: Local unemployment rates rose and fell regardless. And the stimulus spending only barely helped the beleaguered construction industry, the analysis showed. "

    This is a good time to revisit another statement that President Obama made during in his weekly radio address on January 10, 2009. MSNBC.com reported that the number-one goal of his economic stimulus plan was to create 3 million new jobs - 80 percent of which, were suppose to be new private-sector jobs. It was reported elsewhere that the unemployment rate was likely to peak at around 8 percent.

    The fact that only a fraction of those jobs have been created, and that unemployment remains over 10 percent, serves to remind us that - while government is apart of our economy - it is certainly not the engine.

    Watch CSPAN Video Here

  • Mike M (unverified)
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    LT:

    Yes, I support kicker reform - to build a rainy day fund; not to expand government spending.

    Yes, I voted for the kicker. I have been a resident of Oregon since the mid 70s, and have voted for and against tax measures; I have been in favor of some increases, but opposed to most.

    Your statements about OAJKT assume perhaps that Intel is against Measures 66&67. According to an Oregonian article last week, Intel has not taken any position on the measures.

    I am not a part of OAJKT, and have no affiliation with Russ Walker, so I don't see any need to defend or support him directly. I can see what is happening in Oregon with my own eyes.

    My concern with the issues these measures address are that they are a band-aid that do nothing to solve the long term issue of our tax revenue volatility. While I am against these measures, there is a chance they will pass. I am concerned that our legislature will not do anything about restructuring when they meet in February.

  • Jim (unverified)
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    "The fact that only a fraction of those jobs have been created, and that unemployment remains over 10 percent, serves to remind us that - while government is apart of our economy - it is certainly not the engine.

    Watch CSPAN Video Here"

    And please see President Eisenhower's speech on the military-industrial complex.

  • LT (unverified)
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    "My concern with the issues these measures address are that they are a band-aid that do nothing to solve the long term issue of our tax revenue volatility."

    My concern has been for a long time that legislators in both parties have no spine.

    The opponents of 66 & 67 have no real alternative except to tell all of us that spending is too high (without advocating for specific cuts) or that if everyone just believed in the "all funds budget" everything will be peachy keen.

    I live just blocks from Dan Doyle's old district. Mystery money didn't exist.

    My Republican state rep. thought THESE ARE BAD TAXES (all caps to indicate tone of voice) but not being on Ways and Means she didn't have to think about an alternative to them until Feb. 2010.

    I don't see how voting no changes that. Perhaps if we were to totally change the Speaker and Majority and Minority Leaders in the House we might get more intelligent public debate about the whole broken tax and budget system in this state.

    But voting no on these measures won't accomplish that, and neither will Dan Doyle's dream of "Mystery Money" come back in the form of proposals from legislators who have no clue.

    My state sen. has been on Ways and Means for years, incl. a subcommittee chair.

    She says nothing becomes an official budget without following these steps:

    1) Debated in Ways and Means subcommittee, and if approved goes to full committee.

    2) Debated in full Ways and Means and if it passes goes to the House and Senate.

    3) If it passes the House and Senate, it goes to the Gov. for signature.

    4) Only if the Gov. signs does it become an official budget.

    Mike, just what restructuring do you want, specifically? What the State Treasurer has outlined, or something different?

    Which legislators have you talked to about this?

    Or should they read your mind?

    As I understand it, the Feb. session will operate on a disciplined timetable and the deadline for introduction of measures has already passed.

    Mike, I would suggest you talk to legislators/legislative candidates and start the debate on how to restructure. Along the lines discussed by the Public Comm. on the Legislature or the Revenue Restructuring Task Force? Or a different plan?

    "We must restructure the tax system in this state" is to vague to act upon.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Mike, can you and I agree that the first line of restructuring should be citizens asking legislators "How do you plan to pay for that?"

    My state rep. made a crack in the newspaper recently that Oregon "is in the tax credit business". Sez who?

    House bills for Feb. are already posted, and one of them is this:

    "Establishes tax credit for transportation of woody biomass from forest management operations to biofuel producer."

    Can this legislator tell us how that would be paid for? Budget cuts elsewhere? Revenue increase? or something else?

  • (Show?)

    Mike M - A couple of points...

    • A significant portion of the "permanent" increases are, in fact, temporary. For example, the 1.3 percent increase on taxable income greater than $250,000 in 2009-2010 drops to 1% in in the next biennium, and disappears entirely for businesses that earn less than $10 million in 2013.
    • It is not accurate that the legislature did not look at revenue restructuring in the last session, particularly since you mentioned "out of control tax credits". It is true that they did not address kicker reform, but for example they set sunsets on ALL current tax credits so that these could be subject to legislative review.
    • Regarding your comment that "the legislature did not consider alternatives..." What evidence, if any, do you have for that statement? I haven't heard ANY Republicans who were part of the Ways and Means process make similar assertions. In fact, most suggested that the opposite was true, even those who disagreed with many of the decisions that were made.
    • I agree with you about the need for kicker reform and said as much to key legislators and members of the administration who were gracious enough to discuss these matters with me.
    • Democrats have campaigned successfully for the past two elections on a platform that included increasing taxes on corporations. There is no reason for anyone to be surprised that this was a part of their revenue solution.
    • Personally, I think that a portion of these taxes were made permanent because the votes were not there to pass the package otherwise. I think that they targeted the wealthiest 2 percent in the state and large corporations because they understood that ANY ANY ANY revenue measure they proposed would be referred to the ballot, and these measures gave them the best shot at surviving a referendum. Vic Atiyeh tried a consumption tax, got beaten at the polls in the 1980's and ultimately went with a proposal that looks remarkably similar to the ones that passed with bi-partisan support in the last session.

    Think Oregon - I'm not sure who you are or how your diatribe about Obama relates to the topic at hand, which is the state budget.

  • ThinkOregon (unverified)
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    Sal Peralta,

    You mentioned the growth in the State's budget was due to the influx of AARA funds. The total ineffectiveness of the stimulus underscores the concerns of Oregon taxpayers: massive amounts of taxpayers resources are squandered, but still government comes back to the trough time and again, all while crying "the sky is falling."

    I am an Oregon taxpayer, a small business owner, a registered voter. The well-documented and continuing decline in Oregon's economic performance, the rise in public employee involvement in state politics and these two ill-timed, ill-conceived tax increases pushed me into action. I'm dedicating every spare moment I have to debunking the assertions that M66/67 will not kill Oregon's economy.

    There seems to be several fundamental disconnects for the Vote Yes campaign. They fail to recognize that Oregon employers are the source of funding for education and social services. They fail to recognize the extent of the structural issues with Oregon's economy. They fail to recognize that M66/67 will harm the very services they claim to want to preserve.

    Or is it more about protecting those Cadillac benefits and the ultimate power grab?

  • Mike M (unverified)
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    Sal and LT:

    • Yes, more citizens should be asking their legislators the question, "how do you expect to pay for this?"
    • some of the new taxes are permanent, while some are not.
    • I could have used better phrasing than simply relying on "looking"; the end result is that there was no restructuring other than increasing the tax rate on the "rich" and on larger businesses. The increase of the minimum tax from $10 to $150 is inconsequential overall, and should have been a separate piece of legislation. I have no issue with this slight change.
    • with the super-majority, kicker reform should have been addressed; again, separately.
    • what I had in mind when I wrote "did not consider alternatives": the legislature could have referred to voters several alternatives. They did not. Instead, many funding solutions were cobbled together into the two issues the measures address. In retrospect,perhaps some of the solutions could have been referred separately.
    • Yes, I know what the Democratic candidates campaigned on; I did not agree with them, and did not vote for them either.
    I agree with Sal in that the legislation was cobbled together to leverage class differences - the majority lower/middle class and unemployed against the upper class and business minority. An interesting tactic, unethical perhaps finely tuned to the current times. More to the current situation, most of us here are well too aware of the details. This has been pointed out time and time again in the various postings. What I have distilled from talking to friends and associates is that most people have little or no idea at all of these measures, other than the legislature wants to raise taxes. The reasoning and rationale is lost. The outcome will not be reasoned at all; instead the result will be an emotional one.
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    There seems to be several fundamental disconnects for the Vote Yes campaign. They fail to recognize that Oregon employers are the source of funding for education and social services.

    I disagree. What we are seeing is that they do not buy the "sky is falling" scenario that folks like you and other folks on the no side are painting.

    I was basically neutral on these measures until I finally had time to sit down and analyze how these measures will impact my business (I will see a small increase that i can afford); how the legislature dealt with discretionary spending in the last 2 budgets; and how the failure of these measures are likely to affect local schools in my community.

    There were mistakes made, and there are elements of these measures that I don't like, but on balance I tend to agree with those who recommend a more balanced approach than I suspect that you would advocate for. Cut spending. Raise revenue. Minimize disruptions.

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    Yes, I know what the Democratic candidates campaigned on; I did not agree with them, and did not vote for them either.

    They didn't just campaign on those issues. They campaigned SUCCESSFULLY on those issues. That's an important distinction because it makes it reasonable to say that with 36 votes they had a mandate to pass these proposals. And I say that as one who fully supports the right of opponents to give voters the opportunity to weigh in via the referendum and as one who opposed the "yes is no" shenanigans that were attempted in the last session.

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    I agree with Sal in that the legislation was cobbled together to leverage class differences - the majority lower/middle class and unemployed against the upper class and business minority. An interesting tactic, unethical perhaps finely tuned to the current times.

    Pragmatic is the term I would use. And I am a big fan of pragmatism when it comes to governance.

  • ThinkOregon (unverified)
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    Sal Peralta ... fair enough. As long as folks are open and thoughtful, we can't ask for anything more, can we?

  • LT (unverified)
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    Yes, Mike, the kicker should have been addressed. I talked to legislators who told me that they were on deadline to balance the budget before the end of the fiscal year, wait until Feb. I didn't like that answer but I can understand it. Did you talk to any actual legislators about kicker reform?

    Mike, have you talked to legislators about this:

    "what I had in mind when I wrote "did not consider alternatives": the legislature could have referred to voters several alternatives. They did not. "

    First of all, there is a view by some legislators (which I agree with) that in the past decade too many measures were sent to voters which didn't need to be.

    And there were voters who reacted by saying "Don't we pay you a salary to decide these things inside the capitol building? Unless it requires a vote of the people (const. amendment) why can't you do the work you were hired to do?"

    More importantly, what "several alternatives" did you have in mind?

    "Legislators should have discussed alternatives, but don't ask me to be specific" is not very persuasive.

    I talked with 8 full comm. or subcomm. members of Ways and Means during the 2009 session, some repeatedly, some in depth, some exchanges of emails. One said in June something to the effect that the reason more people who complained as the final product was being voted on didn't talk to legislators months earlier when it might have influenced decisions was "maybe they didn't have the heart for it".

    As much as I may disagree strongly with some members of W & M, I respect their hard work. They did the long hard slog with detailed budgets while many people on the outside were just making generalized remarks. My sympathies go to the people dealing with specifics (or the activists known for their involvement in issues--incl. Sal, who I have seen in the capitol) over the people who make generalized comments on blogs.

    Mike, exactly what did you propose to legislators and how many did you talk to?

    Or are you one of those who thinks discussions on blogs substitute for discussions with the people who actually make the decisions?

  • Mike M (unverified)
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    LT:

    I don't have the pull or experience you have with your frequent visits to Salem and meetings with legislators.

    Instead, I worked closely with my representative and senator. I also wrote letters to legislators, and listened to hearings to follow the proceedings and deliberations.

    Like you, your suggestions and mine were perhaps heard, but not necessarily influential enough to make a difference. I will continue to pass along my suggestions to my reps, and discuss the issues with my friends and associates.

    In my various posts, I have made several suggestions; no need to repeat them again and again, only to be asked about them again as you have done several times.

    Thanks for your insights and encouragement to keep working with the legislature. I will. That may be more fruitful than trying to convince people here.

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    Mike M - Good on you. I really appreciate your approach, even if we may disagree on some aspects of policy.

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    Um, Intel has reduced it's presence in Oregon. 100s of employees were moved out of the Amberglen complex last week. There was also a major fab shutdown not to long ago.

    I can't speak to the factual nature of this assertion, as I haven't located the numbers. But I can speak to the fact that Intel just doled out bonuses to employees and they were up substantially from last year.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Mike, about this:

    "Thanks for your insights and encouragement to keep working with the legislature. I will. That may be more fruitful than trying to convince people here."

    As has been said before, even if you could convince everyone on a blog to agree with you 100%, that wouldn't change anything.

    However, if a legislator is able to build a coalition behind a positive suggestion (kicker reform, for instance) then something happens.

    There is a link here to the bills to be introduced in the special session. http://landru.leg.state.or.us/index.html

    House bills already posted, Sen. bills to be posted sometime in the upcoming week.

    Since they want it to be the Feb. session and not drag on into March, there are solid deadlines--- any bill not already submitted will not be heard, a deadline for being voted out of committee (or bills die), a deadline to be heard by originating chamber (SB voted out of Senate, for instance) and to be voted out of the other chamber.

    But that doesn't mean they can't discuss kicker reform while they are all in the building together. And it doesn't mean they can't be asked questions, hold press conferences, write opinion pieces here or elsewhere online, etc.

    There are rumors that there are some legislators who don't want to talk about kicker reform period. Start with the House leadership and just call or email asking "Do you believe in kicker reform and when will we hear that discussed publicly?".

    Keep track of your results and when you are done, report them here. Then the rest of us who don't want the issue swept under the rug (as we suspect some would like to do) could start calling the ones who don't want public discussion and ask "Do you support public discussion of kicker reform, and is there a particular plan you support?".

    Long before there were computers, that was a way of citizen lobbying. There becomes a point of critical mass (sometimes as few as 5-10 phone calls) when legislators begin to say "Gee, if the idea is that widespread, I'd better start talking about it!".

    It is the old idea of complaining to the management. If you have lousy food or service in a restaurant, the situation is more likely to change if you complain to the management than if you just tell your friends you had a lousy meal and are not likely to go back.

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