Tax and Budget

Just Say No to the Oregon Opportunity Initiative

The cost of obtaining a college degree is rising rapidly, leading some people to advocate that taxpayers subsidize even more of the cost. They assume that the state will benefit economically if more of its citizens obtain higher educations. And yet, as one researcher puts it, “One of America’s most durable myths is that the […]

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Cascade in the Capitol – Testimony Against Additional Tobacco Taxes (HB 4129)

February 11, 2014 Testimony Against HB 4129 in the House Revenue Committee By Steve Buckstein Chair Barnhart and members of the committee, my name is Steve Buckstein. I’m the Senior Policy Analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute, a Portland-based free-market think tank. I’m here to ask you to reject HB 4129. Why the state […]

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Portland’s Renewable Energy Pipe Dream

By William Newell Since 2001 the City of Portland has aimed to obtain all of its electricity from renewable sources. More than 10 years later, the City has failed to meet its own goals, even after renewing the pledge in 2009 and again in 2012. To achieve its long-standing goal, the City has sought to […]

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The Public vs. Private Sector Compensation Conundrum

Salem Statesman Journal editor Dick Hughes just published a lengthy column asking whether public or private sector employees are better compensated. He cites studies that reach contradictory conclusions, depending on their assumptions, and then answers his question by stating, “Who knows?” That answer must be challenged because he somewhat dismisses the apparent fact that “…public […]

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Meet the New Tax Reform…Same as the Old Tax Reform

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, fresh off his early October special legislative session “Grand Bargain” success, says he will now turn his attention to tax reform. He has plenty of company in Oregon’s recent history. Governor Barbara Roberts, concerned that property tax limitation Measure 5 which passed in 1990 would decimate state finances (it didn’t), embarked […]

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It’s Time for Renewable Energy to Stand on Its Own Legs

The Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO) is a non-profit organization that carries out energy efficiency activities on behalf of PGE, Pacific Power, NW Natural Gas, and Cascade Natural Gas. ETO also subsidizes the above-market cost of small, renewable energy projects. For 2014, ETO proposes to spend $178.9 million while taking in revenues of $163 million. […]

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The Story Behind Thanksgiving That Every Elected Representative Should Know

The quintessential American holiday, Thanksgiving evolved from the Pilgrims’ celebrations to thank God for the harvests that saved Plymouth Colony. What most people didn’t learn in school is that nearly half the Mayflower Pilgrims died of starvation because many refused to work in the fields. Plymouth Colony originally had a socialist economy. Land and crops […]

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The Portland Streetcar: Time to Reset the Vision

If some Portlanders are confused about why we have a 19th century trolley operating in a 21st century city, they are not alone. City leaders are confused as well. According to the Streetcar Concept Plan adopted by the Portland City Council in 2009, there are three primary policy goals related to streetcar expansion: (1) help […]

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Which Is the Monster? Tax limitations, or the taxes they limit

A City Club of Portland research panel has concluded that property tax limitation Ballot Measures 5, 47, and 50 have created a “Frankentax” monster that is “slowly but surely wreaking havoc upon its creators and their communities in ways they might not yet realize.” Before we buy such arguments and repeal these taxpayer protections, let’s […]

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The State of Freedom in Oregon

By William Newell Today, Oregon is at a crossroads. Oregonians must choose between our current unsustainable path and becoming a place where freedom and prosperity can grow. Sadly, according to the Mercatus Center’s Freedom in the 50 States report which looks at the last 12 years, freedom in Oregon has decreased since 2001; and a […]

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