When Will Republicans Get Serious?

Jeff Alworth

It is an odd thing for a fairly partisan liberal to admit, but I wish Republicans took governance more seriously.  Public policy benefits from a genuine exchange of ideas about how to solve problems; the friction between opposing ideas sharpens each position.  Weaknesses are exposed and addressed and parties refine their policies.  But for years and years now, the Republicans have refused to participate, offering only stale bromides recycled election after election.  Yesterday gubernatorial hopeful Chris Dudley released a plan detailing his policy ideas.  Dudley has tried to position himself as a new breed of Republican who will bring fresh thinking to Salem, but the plan he offered contains the same 20-year-old list of talking points every Republican has run on since Dave Frohnmayer.

See if this sounds familiar.  Dudley's plan calls for tax cuts (sometimes styled "incentives"), land use deregulation, cuts to "state bureaucracy," cuts to PERS, and that truly golden oldie, increased logging.  There are a couple of interesting proposals in the margins: Dudley would scrap state control of liquor sales and appears to support the Frohnmayer plan for higher ed (though that bullet point is so loaded with jargon it's difficult to say).  But these will affect only a tiny percentage of state expenditures--even if Dudley's numbers are correct.  The Oregonian's Jeff Mapes, questioning Dudley on the proposal, elicits a great quote:

"We have no choice but to make cuts going forward," said Dudley, noting that the state faces a shortfall of some $2.5 billion in the next budget. "We are going to have rein in spending."

In an interview, Dudley declined to name any cuts in major services provided by the state, saying only "we're going to have to look at the amount of employees we have and the amount of compensation we're paying."

This is not a serious proposal.  The State of Oregon has been in a fiscal crisis for well over a decade.  "Reining in spending" is all state agencies have been doing.  In the past decade, as we've lurched from one deficit to another, agencies have suffered program cuts, job freezes, and this year, salary cuts.  The state isn't a sailor on a two-week furlough; in this case "reigning in spending" is a euphemism for deep cuts to services provided to Oregonians.  Unless Dudley is willing to name the cuts he intends to enact, this is purely magical thinking: we'll cut taxes but not services.  Right.

Twenty years ago, Republicans hypothesized that cutting taxes and deregulating industry would spark an economic boom that would make up for lost tax revenue.  It seemed plausible, and even moderate Democrats played along.  We ran the experiment.  Guess what?  Cuts mean cuts.  Republicans refused to make any hard choices about which programs they wanted to scrap, and instead were content to watch tax cuts lead to fiscal crises and ultimately to unplanned, indiscriminate cuts in services. 

Dudley wants to be taken seriously as a potential governor.  Republicans want to be taken seriously as a party that can govern.  You want to be taken seriously?  Get serious: put forward policy that would actually address real problems.  Make tough choices.  Abandon the magical thinking.  Then maybe--maybe--someone will begin to listen.  Believe it or not, some liberals might even appreciate it.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Superb post, Jeff.

    I am pleased to see that Mapes managed to get Dudley on the record on something somewhat substantive as well.

  • Boats (unverified)
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    "Abandon the magical thinking?" Like raising taxes, agitating for a sales tax, throwing more money at problems without accountability, buying off public sector unions, and increasing the power and reach of the nanny state despite all logic or sense, with a massive end game failure spectacularly on view to the immediate south?"

    Physician heal thyself.

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    Let's say for the sake of the argument that every single dollar spent by government in Oregon is needed. Not one dollar can be cut. Therefor, your only choice is to raise more revenue.

    You have three options: 1. Raise the rates on the existing tax base 2. Increase the tax base 3. Some of both

    How about some ideas from our tax loving friends here on how to accomplish this.

  • (Show?)

    MP:

    1. We just did that with M66/67.
    2. Having just watched the local urban and rural reserves process, Washington County is expecting thousands and thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of new people to show up here in the next 20-50 years. We had to set aside foundation farmland to make room for them, in fact.

    Seems like we're on our way.

  • (Show?)

    Liberals have for years proposed lots of revenue-generating proposals. This is the hard choice they're willing to make. Apparently, Oregonians agree, because not two months ago they voted to raise taxes.

    Far from actually implementing their revenue policy, as Democrats have done, Republicans refuse to even talk about it seriously. You can't both cut taxes and preserve spending, which is what Republicans offer.

    MP, if by "increase the tax base" you mean cut taxes, you indulge in magical thinking, too. It has been tried and has failed, repeatedly and lately spectacularly, for the past 30 years.

    Next.

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)
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    "How about some ideas from our tax loving friends here on how to accomplish this."

    I know, let's start another war in another foriegn country then lower the tax rate.

    Because that worked so well before.

  • Buckman Res (unverified)
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    Liberals have for years proposed lots of revenue-generating proposals. This is the hard choice they're willing to make. Apparently, Oregonians agree, because not two months ago they voted to raise taxes.

    Please, at least be honest in your description of what Oregonians did.

    Oregonians voted to raise taxes on someone else, not on themselves. The legislature understood this in the sly way they crafted the measures to pit economic groups against each other and in not referring the kicker to a vote for repeal as Guv K wanted.

    With unfair tax measures and appeals to voter’s base instincts you can usually get them to approve “revenue-generating” measures. Just don’t ask them to personally pay more.

    Next.

  • Dylan Amo (unverified)
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    Republicans want to be taken seriously as a party that can govern. You want to be taken seriously? Get serious: put forward policy that would actually address real problems.

    Jeff-

    What specifically do you want from an "R" to satisfy this statement? And please don't answer with what you don't want. I (for one) would like to use this as a learning opportunity. Do you not like the topics (ie when you say "real problems") or do not like the way they're addressed?

  • (Show?)

    Buckman, you're the one who wrote "raise taxes on someone else." I said raise taxes. This demonstrates that I understand basic arithmetic: increase revenues = raising taxes. You'll also note that, as a progressive, I think raising taxes on the wealthiest is good policy.

    Dylan, I'll accept any answer except one that suggests we can get something for nothing. If conservatives want to make the argument that we can get by on current funds by cutting programs, I want to know which programs. Don't elide the question by saying you'll "cut bureaucracy." Maybe you think there's a way to raise taxes on some group. I don't know--that's my point; I can't envision what a conservative proposal would look like. But just don't tell me you can wave a wand of tax cutting to solve all the problems. We know how that sleight of hand works.

  • (Show?)

    Oregonians voted to raise taxes on someone else, not on themselves. The legislature understood this in the sly way they crafted the measures to pit economic groups against each other and in not referring the kicker to a vote for repeal as Guv K wanted.

    So it is your conclusion that nobody who is paying the new taxes actually voted for them..? It was my understanding that one of the GOP's main objections to the corporate tax increase is that it would be passed on to consumers. Seems to me if that's the case, we're all paying the new taxes.

  • (Show?)

    Superb post. This is one of the reasons I left the Republican party in the 90's. This and the religious right wing. Of course they have since gone crazier and added a "lets declare war on everybody" wing.

    It is clear that there are policies in Oregon that have not been well managed and we would have benefited from good conservative watchdogs. In Portland we had the Tram and the first rounds of voter funded elections. We currently have the mess with the Police/Fire disability fund. At the state level we have the BETC program that was horribly managed. We also have a lot of tax benefits for programs that aren't real priorities and rob from other tax payers. If we closed them then we might be able to lower taxes on the general public.

    There are lots of places for a fiscal conservative to play a constructive role. It would be nice if people like Dudley and Alley actually tried raising the level of debate instead of trying to appeal to the anti-tax, anti-government crowd that seems to find the governing process in Somalia attractive.

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)
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    "What specifically do you want from an "R" to satisfy this statement?"

    Well, let's start with simpler premise: Name one bill or piece of legislation that was designed or written by an R in Oregon that actually benefited the average $50k a year family. Anything to do with healthcare, transportation, or energy to get you started.

    Oh, and gays, guns, god, or the flag don't count.

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    Washington County is expecting thousands and thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of new people to show up here in the next 20-50 years.

    Employed by whom?

    if by "increase the tax base" you mean cut taxes

    No.....that means increase the number of people who pay taxes.

    I know, let's start another war in another foriegn country then lower the tax rate.

    Who is Oregon at war with?

  • (Show?)

    It was my understanding that one of the GOP's main objections to the corporate tax increase is that it would be passed on to consumers. Seems to me if that's the case, we're all paying the new taxes.

    Perfect question Carla. They can either respond that they were lying during the campaign or they can argue that the voters were too ignorant to understand that fact.

    Neither fits well into their usual dogma.

  • (Show?)

    Employed by whom?

    Apparently, by the next Intel or Nike--because we have to have 3-4 100 acre parcels (some of it foundation farmland) for them.

    Incidentally, Tom Hughes (former Hillsboro mayor, now running for Metro Chair) told me that several existing Hillsboro businesses are expanding. Some of them will be taking real estate along Cornelius Pass Rd. Presumably they'll be hiring, too.

  • Admiral Naismith (unverified)
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    What specifically do you want from an "R" to satisfy this statement? And please don't answer with what you don't want. I (for one) would like to use this as a learning opportunity. Do you not like the topics (ie when you say "real problems") or do not like the way they're addressed?

    For starters, what taxes will YOU raise in order to balance the budget?

    None, you say?

    OK, then, exactly what spending will you cut in order to balance the budget? Since most of the budget is allocated to schools, prisons and social services, which of those will you cut spending on?

    If schools, what will you do to prevent the next round of cuts from collapsing the already overburdened system, which already has overfilled classes, underpaid teachers, a school year shorter than most and sports and arts programs reserved for only those Oregonians who can pay extracurricular fees?

    If prisons, does that mean you're soft on crime? Will we be safe from crimes committed by people let out early? Will programs that prevent reoffending be cut?

    If programs, what are we going to do about the poor and needy who will be left without food, housing and health care? Let 'em rot? Put them in prison without spending more money on the prisons?

  • Dylan Amo (unverified)
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    Jeff-

    A "serious" proposal is one that is budget neutral. Containing SPECIFIC offsets for the new spending (or tax cuts.) Do I understand you correctly?

    Sounds fine to me. I think both sides are equally guilty of this and I think we can raise the level of discourse by demanding this standard. And yes ... I'll demand this of the candidates that I talk to this weekend at Dorchester.

  • Dylan Amo (unverified)
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    Jeff-

    A "serious" proposal is one that is budget neutral. Containing SPECIFIC offsets for the new spending (or tax cuts.) Do I understand you correctly?

    Sounds fine to me. I think both sides are equally guilty of this and I think we can raise the level of discourse by demanding this standard. And yes ... I'll demand this of the candidates that I talk to this weekend at Dorchester.

  • Robert Harris (unverified)
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    Jeff, this isn't just a republican problem.

    Republicans do want to cut state services and whole agencies. But, they also know if they lay it out in any detail, they're unlikely to get elected because the details will be used by their opponents to defeat them at the polls.

    Democrats do want to keep government jobs and compensation at current levels, retain or expand services and raise taxes to pay for that. And with some exceptions, the Dem's won't give details, or blur the details on how to pay for it, for the same reasons.

    So who ever is elected has no mandate for making the systemic changes necessary to get Oregon back on track. Because it doesn't force the voters to make real choices.

    I believe Dr. K is ready for this discussion and debate if he had a partner/opponent on the Republican side he could trust to lay off taking advantage of hard spoken truths.

    There is the complication of independent expenditure campaigns that WILL take advantage of honest debate. So the candidates will need to disavow those campaigns and pledge to not ever, ever meet with any lobbyists or consultants who work on those campaigns.

    Mr. Dudley just needs to show he's more Atticus Finch than Mitch McConnell.

    A real campaign of choices would force the voters to decide between more taxes, or reduced services.

    That would be the best public service Mr. Dudley could provide to us. We've had governors without mandates, electing another will do nothing for the state of this state.

  • Sid Leader (unverified)
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    Thinking "right" here... Oregon declares war on Washington state, wins a quick, decisive victory one sleepy, Sunday morning and then we take their obscene sales tax revenue. It's like billions! And... I hear the Washingtonians will greet us as liberators, gently tossing colorful, perfumed garlands as we pass.

  • (Show?)

    I'd rather invade Canada and take their health care system.

  • Rob (unverified)
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    Kari, I'll buy your bus ticket:)

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)
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    "Oregonians voted to raise taxes on someone else, not on themselves."

    So wealthy Oregonians and Corporations aren't really Oregonians?

  • (Show?)

    WTF is it with all these "equally guilty" posts?

    Are you seriously comparing a bunch of boilerplate GOP pablum to kinds of direct clear details specified in M66 and M67?

    Seriously?

    All you "both sides are bad (so vote Republican)" types need to go and very clearly elucidate what you're talking about, because as far as I'm concerned, the only reason why Democrats aren't more popular is because they actually inform the U.S. public about the hard choices we have to make. And a large amount of the electorate would rather believe in a free lunch - or, as one door-knocked Washington county voter put it, "Why can't the government pay my taxes?"

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    The edition of The Oregonian I saw today ran the story of Dudley's plan in the Business section. Do they think that his candidacy for governor is only of interest to the business community, or that his candidacy is actually a business venture? Doesn't sound like that paper takes governance seriously.

  • Frank (unverified)
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    The "same old tired" Democratic ideas have put us among the worst of the worst states in economics. Perhaps when Oregon attempts genuine tax, spending, and regulatory reform (Read...less regulation, more smart regulation) and opens its arms to businesses instead of stigmatizing corporations in campaign ads, we can genuinely talk about "old tired" Republican ideas. They are not old and tired if they have never been tried, but have been shown to work wonders in many many other states.

  • Steve Buckstein (unverified)
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    I'm not a Republican, but Rob Kremer is and he's just posted a link to New Jersey's new governor being "taken seriously" with his budget decisions.

    I suggest that Oregon gubernatorial candidates of any party who make such statements (and mean them) will be taken seriously here too.

  • (Show?)

    Oregon is (thankfully) not New Jersey.

  • Boats (unverified)
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    Since the majority of the budget is schools, prisons and social services, whacking unnecessary state agencies is where I begin:

    Addictions and Mental Health Division - DHS Advocacy Commissions Office Arts Commission - ECDD Asian Affairs Athletic Trainers, Board of Black Affairs Blind Commission Body Piercing Licensing Program Children's Trust Fund Columbia River Gorge Commission Community Colleges and Workforce Development Department Cosmetology, Board of Criminal Justice Commission Cultural Trust, Oregon - ECDD Dieticians, Board of Examiners of Licensed Disabilities Commission, Oregon - DHS Employment Relations Board Film and Video Office Fire Marshal, Office of State - OSP Geologist Examiners, State Board of Hearing Aids, Advisory Council on Hispanic Affairs Commission Housing/Community Services Department Human Services Department Licensed Social Workers Board Liquor Control Commission, Oregon--START RIGHT HERE!!! Long Term Care Ombudsman, Office of the Massage Therapists, Board Of Minority, Women and Emerging Small Business Office - OBDD Mortuary And Cemetery Board, State Naturopathic Medicine, Board of Oregon Business Development Department Private Health Partnerships, Office of Racing Commission State Fair and Exposition Center, Oregon - OPRD Student Assistance Commission Tax Practitioners, Board of Tax Supervising and Conservation Commission Tourism Commission, Oregon (Travel Oregon) Travel Information Council Veterans Affairs, Department of Wine Board Women, Commission For

    All of the above are superfluous, ridiculous, redundant to federal efforts, established to sponge federal dollars or are "consumer protection boards" not too many were clamoring for protection from, (save me from my tax preparer?) and duplicate a right of private action for malpractice anyways. A board for dieticians? Really? Massage therapists? Really? There are not tremendous health and safety concerns being addressed by all of these boards.

    They all provide appointment jobs though and many are manned by pensioned public employees doing work of dubious societal value. If someone pierces your genitals "incorrectly" my take is that you were rather asking for such an outcome as no one in the history of humanity has needed genital piercing, not that we as a society should be regulating this to save your stupid ass from garden sprinkling the toilet for the rest of your miserable life.

    I have no idea how much money I just proposed to save since I do not have a line budget in front of me, but I do know one thing: I'd never get the votes from the Democrats to eliminate or merge even a third of them.

  • Jim Houser (unverified)
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    For the record I can say that I (and other business owners I know) campaigned and voted for M66/67. My business taxes went up from $10 this year to (probably) $1000 next year. So much for "voted to raise other people's taxes". (My new minimum, BTW, will negate a healthy BETC tax credit my company is owed but will likely never recover.)

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    Boats

    Your examples show are braindead. Of course you don't even know how much of the budget is accounted for above, and I suspect it is TINY.

    But is this smart budgeting? Or just whacking with a dull cleaver?

    Tourism board--you are aware, aren't you, that tourism accounts for 10% of Oregon's economy, up to nearly 25% in many coastal counties? That the tourism portion of the economy is projected to grow at a rate 50% higher than the rest of the Oregon economy?

    And get rid of state supported programs to reduce drug use and addiction, now there's a smart thing to do! You do remember the meth crisis, right? Perhaps you think it is cheaper to put addicts into the slammer (hint: the answer is NO!).

    And you know what, many of us appreciate that practitioners have to be licensed. I don't particularly feel like finding out after the fact that a tax preparer is a fraud, or my dietician is a quack.

  • Boats (unverified)
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    Did I say that it would be a panacea for every budgetary woe? It was a start. No matter how much or how little money is saved is nearly irrelevant next to the fact that somebody, somewhere, at some time in this state would actually cut an identifiable "essential service."

    Newsflash champ, they aren't all "essential" most of the above certainly are not. Besides, I wouldn't propose ELIMINATING them all, but some could no doubt survive largely intact through a merging.

    Tourism board--you are aware, aren't you, that tourism accounts for 10% of Oregon's economy, up to nearly 25% in many coastal counties? That the tourism portion of the economy is projected to grow at a rate 50% higher than the rest of the Oregon economy?

    Tourism can promote itself. The state has no business subsidizing businesses on the taxpayer nickel. If tourism was so damn important, someone bold would propose replacing property taxes with a sales tax. Sales taxes get shot down in Oregon not because the public are Neanderthals, but because they do not trust their politicians. I'd bet they'd give them the sales tax in exchange for the property taxes and then we'd capture a lot more money off of tourism for both state and municipalities as long as we didn't go as kooky with it as our neighbors to the north and south have.

    And get rid of state supported programs to reduce drug use and addiction, now there's a smart thing to do! You do remember the meth crisis, right? Perhaps you think it is cheaper to put addicts into the slammer (hint: the answer is NO!).

    I think it is cheaper to merge those programs into other existing departments so as to reduce bureaucratic overhead.

    And you know what, many of us appreciate that practitioners have to be licensed. I don't particularly feel like finding out after the fact that a tax preparer is a fraud, or my dietician is a quack.

    Do your own goddamned homework then. If your massage therapist sucks, don't go there again and spread the word. Pick a tax preparer that has already been vetted by the Accountancy Board. I left important oversight boards like the ones for doctors, nurses, MH therapists (though LSW's should have their oversight merged in with the shrinks and PhDs), contracting, architecture, landscaping (retaining walls) wholly intact where people could actually get killed. Don't get your privates pierced unless the iercer has insurance or assets in Boats' Oregon.

    And get the state totally out of the liquor business save for tax collecting. Just having a "Minority Affairs" office rather than a Asian Affairs, Black Affairs, Hispanic Affairs, and Womens' Commission would get rid of three letterheads and stationary, probably some office space, and certainly prevent some overlap.

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    I would be curious to see what would happen if Jeff, Carla or Kari were appointed by the Governor to be the state budget czar with a mandate that they had to cut 10% of the states current budget.

    So Jeff, Carla and Kari, what would you cut? I know its so damn easy to say nothing can be cut and taxes must be raised on "the rich" and big evil out-of-state businesses, but the Governor has declared "no new taxes." What would you do?

  • (Show?)

    So Jeff, Carla and Kari, what would you cut? I know its so damn easy to say nothing can be cut and taxes must be raised on "the rich" and big evil out-of-state businesses, but the Governor has declared "no new taxes." What would you do?

    Why ask people who are not inured in the state's actual budget to guess? It's a fool's errand. Besides, the "oh-so unwilling to cut budgets" legislature has already done it.

    2009-2011 Budget reduction Options.

    In addition to passing the 2 tax referenda, the legislature cut the general funds budget in the 2009-2011 budget compared to the previous biennium. Then they laid out a plan to cut up to an additional 10 percent from all state budgets in the event that the economy continues to deteriorate and/or the tax measures failed.

    Respectfully, I think it's a sign of partisanship run amok that folks like yourself, boats, and even some legislators and candidates can't be bothered to review information that has been available to the general public for months and that outlines a plan for making deep reductions in the state budget, should such reductions become necessary.

    It is all well and good to cast stones at people for trying to come up with a plan to protect our schools, public safety, and the state's most vulnerable people.

    It's all well-and-good to demagogue against health care for school children, even though the funding for those programs brought in 2 dollars in federal matching funds for every dollar that the state spent, as Jim Weidner did -- at least until he was set straight by Rep. Greenlick.

    But for GOD'S SAKE, can't these people even be bothered to acquaint themselves with the basic facts around these issues first? At the very least, they'd be able to speak intelligently about how to cut these budgets while leaving the strength of the agencies that are affected intact.

    Jeff has it right. If the Republicans want to walk out of the wilderness, then more of them need to start acting like they actually care enough about governing to get a handle on the policy they are pontificating about.

  • (Show?)

    mp says: "You have three options: 1. Raise the rates on the existing tax base 2. Increase the tax base 3. Some of both

    Item 1 has been the situation in Oregon for over 100 years. Increasing the tax base by including corporations (item 2) and adding more tax marginal tax rates at the top end (item 3) are the indicated ways to go. Both sources benefit from state spending but don't pay their fair share.

    As to spending cuts, this state has been in a state of siege at the hands of the tax cutters -- the Don McIntire/Bill Sizemore cabal -- for decades now. Austerity and the kickers are their tools; withering away of the state is their goal.

  • Boats (unverified)
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    When did 10% become "deep cuts?" Among other things, I proposed eliminating the OLCC, saving the lions share of ~$64+ million a year, ridding the state of the bulk of 233 FTEs, devolving their tax collection capacity to the Dept. of Revenue, and further realizing some additional revenue by selling off all of the state controlled franchise licenses to the private sector. Let counties regulate liquor licenses in conjunction with the investigative powers of their own law enforcement capabilities who first respond to trouble spot bars and bust minors in possession all of the time anyways.

    Ten percent? That's window dressing. The OLCC simply forewent an desired 8% increase in their budget and proposed to save money by not taking credit cards at rural locations.

    I'd privatize them as a largely useless relic from the wake of Prohibition's repeal because that is what it is. Should I so desire, I should be able to pick up a bottle of tequila at Fred Meyer or Safeway, or anywhere else that has the wherewithal to be a retail establishment that can garner a license to sell liquor from the county in which they propose to do business. You want to keep a pet dinosaur that the people of the State of Oregon have been feeding continuously for 77 years.

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)
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    "Tourism can promote itself."

    Said the man who has never worked in a sales/market driven organization.

  • Boats (unverified)
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    Well we already know that all governmental fed cows are sacred to progressives. Nothing to see, move on.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    When you say "Democrats" and "revenue raising proposals", you're using a narrow filter if you only look at what the party faithful here offer up. Many Dems regularly embraces a much broader range of proposals, that you would never know were in play. Maybe it isn't the proposals but lack of greenback sweets for "serious" Dems' sweet tooth.

  • (Show?)

    So Jeff, Carla and Kari, what would you cut?

    MP, I wouldn't cut anything, obviously--given the state of the budget, that's insane. And therefore the purview of the right wing. I'd raise revenues.

    Your question is better directed at those who think cutting services is the way to go. Paging candidate Dudley: which services would you cut?

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    I would be curious to see what would happen if Jeff, Carla or Kari were appointed by the Governor to be the state budget czar with a mandate that they had to cut 10% of the states current budget.

    Given how much we've already cut the budget (as Sal has linked above), the governor would be irresponsible to mandate such cuts. I would not serve such an appointment.

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    Jeff and Carla,

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my question and doing so respectfully.

  • Buckman Res (unverified)
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    This demonstrates that I understand basic arithmetic: increase revenues = raising taxes. You'll also note that, as a progressive, I think raising taxes on the wealthiest is good policy.

    Now that you’ve so successfully mastered arithmetic try moving on to ethics.

    It is profoundly unfair and unethical to place a hugely disproportionate tax burden on one small segment of society. Particularly without offering any options to cut government budgets.

    If everyone benefits from government all should pay an equal percentage of its cost.

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    Buckman - As I have pointed out, it is simply factually incorrect to assert that the legislature did not:

    a) make cuts; and b) lay out options for further cuts.

    I also disagree with your ethical analysis, but unlike the other claims, such disagreement is a matter of opinion and not something that can be easily verified by just looking at the cut recommendations laid out by the LFO.

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    I'm all for eliminating the absurd OLCC, but I'm not sure that abolishing it saves any money. After all, it is a revenue-generating entity. I haven't done the hard research, but if you eliminate the revenues and keep the enforcement and licensing functions, isn't that a net higher cost?

  • LT (unverified)
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    For years, Republicans have said "we must stop the growth of government" but then not specified what they mean.

    Which programs, which line items in the budget would the cut, and why?

    They do realize, don't they, that rhetoric alone does not line up the votes to make cuts?

    When I was in college, Gov. Reagan (yes, I went to college in Calif. that long ago) mandated across the board budget cuts. One of my roommates had been working at a state home for retarded/disabled kids (like the old Fairview in Salem) and saw what the cuts did--substandard food, inadequate staffing, etc.

    She said she would consider other Republican candidates in the future but not ever again support Reagan for anything.

    Make someone that angry while they are in college---great way to build a party. NOT!

    What if the reasonable Republicans (Jenson in the House, Morse in the Senate) do pushback on Tiernan and his point of view turns out to be an ebbing tide rather than an incoming tide?

    Tiernan is basically saying "Vote Republican only if you agree completely with us". Voters may well say (as some did in January) "don't agree, won't vote for your side of an election".

    So, Tiernan gets his purity, but also fewer wins.

    If that is what he wants...........

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Jeff, I too wish we had two vibrantly strong parties in Oregon and nationally. That is reality. In my fondest dreams we would have 3 or 4 such parties.

    However, I think the lack of seriousness may be working in the republican's favor at least for this mid term election. As a proud NAV I have voted people and practice over party affiliation for decades. I am dangerously close to voting the straight party (republican) line for the next 3-4 elections.

    I do not like what the state democrats have done to wrest centralized control in Salem. I do not the fact that they wasted the Tobacco Settlement and then foisted an unfunded mandate on health isurance in Oregon for mandatory smoking cessation. The OLCC handling of the regional manager in Deschutes cunty was horrible. I don't care for how M66/M67 was handled even tho I voted for both. I find the Metolius debacle a huge negative mark for power politics as well as Hunt's behavior towards all elected DA's for speaking out against early dismissal from prison.

    At the national level I find the whole HC Reform circus of democrats pitious and think reconciliation was a bad idea when used by Bush; yet intoleable if used to ram the Senate's verson of "reform" upon us. About now all it would take is a recess appointment of Craig Becker, the SEIU mouthpiece and author of EFCA to the NLRB to tip me over the edge.

    November is certainly shaping up to be interesting. Pass the popcorn.

  • Boats (unverified)
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    Re: Eliminating the OLCC--Keep the revenues, collections done by already existing DOR. Devolve enforcement and regulation to the counties, which already take a cut of the revenues and are the the primary enforcers of the law in the first place. Problem bar? who responds? Not the OLCC. Minors in possession at a party? Who responds? Not the OLCC.

    There is simply no need for the state to be in the liquor business beyond the laying and collection of taxes. Licensing can be handled by the county for a fee. Stings and license revocation can be conducted by the local cops.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Boats, actually the OLCC regularly takes valuable time away from local public safety (police) to go WITH them to bust bars and private households where underage drinking may take place.

    Medford has a full time OLCC gestapo-like agent whose sole purpose is busting private households and bars.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    <h2>OLCC is a travesty and an unaccountable commission. You also have to figure in the non-tangibles of their effect on the rest of gov by spreading bad practices. In a litigious society, they're also a potential law suit. Their charter isn't to promote drinking in moderation, it's to suppress all drinking. Equating Oregon ale with gin as "alcohol" is outdated fetish behavior. I'm waiting for someone that never drank red wine their whole life, living in Oregon where the OLCC promoted that none was a good choice, suing with heart disease, because the OLCC contributed to their condition.</h2>

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