Month: March 2007

Transporting Low-Income Workers to a Better Future in Rural Oregon

Sreya SarkarCascade Commentary


The growing number of low-income workers in Oregon’s rural counties calls attention to their diverse transportation needs. The sparse populations concentrated in these areas, combined with the types of occupations available, require flexible transportation arrangements that cannot be provided by fixed-route public transit. Private car ownership can empower these workers to reach jobs in our rural communities. (more…)

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Health Insurance for the Few: The “Lexus” Model of Benefits

Bina PatelCascade Commentary


Government health insurance mandates intended to increase health care coverage for all, especially for lowerincome Oregonians, actually make insurance coverage more expensive and reduce low-cost benefits available to low-wage workers. Basic packages should be offered to allow more individuals to have some level of insurance, rather than mandating “deluxe” insurance packages employers and employees alike cannot afford. (more…)

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No Plan(ners) Required

Steve BucksteinCascade Commentary


Central economic planning suffers from the fallacy of composition: assuming that what is true of the parts is true of the whole. But there is no collective mind in a city, state or nation that can do for the whole what countless individuals and organizations can do better for themselves. Oregon should remove the central planners and let individuals and businesses make economic decisions based on real-world market and consumer signals. (more…)

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Invited testimony on health care reform proposals before the House Health Care Committee

Sally PipesSally C. Pipes is President and CEO of Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco. In addition to her Oregon State legislative testimony below, she was the feature speaker at Cascade’s Legislative Leadership Forum at the Capitol on March 28th talking about the quest for universal health care coverage. (more…)

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Freedom to Choose My School Grants

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

Finally, low-income students and their parents will be able to see the Oregon legislature consider a bill that could give them the same access to school choice that higher-income Oregonians already enjoy. House Bill 3010 was submitted at the request of the School Choice Working Group, which is a partnership between the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) and Cascade Policy Institute in Portland.

The Freedom to Choose My School Grants bill will create a (more…)

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Summary Testimony Regarding HB 3244

John A. Charles, Jr.HB 3244 is similar to HB 3948, which was enacted during the 2001 session. As currently written, the bill has a number of problems, including:

1. The preamble of HB 3244 implies that market economies are not “sustainable” and therefore need intervention from government planners, but empirical evidence demonstrates that we already have a sustainable economy. (more…)

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Outline of comments on HB 2626-1 Amendments

John A. Charles, Jr.

  • Electronic waste is a challenge, not a crisis.
  • Disposing of e-waste in a regulated landfill is not a negative externality; the costs are fully internalized into the price of disposal. Moreover, many garbage ratepayers are forced to pay for other social programs that have nothing to do with waste disposal, so they create positive externalities. Examples: Metro tipping fees, Portland OSD financing.
  • The bill purports to impose personal responsibility for the eventual disposal of consumer products, but in fact does just the opposite. It places cost burden on manufacture to create another free entitlement.


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Testimony of John A. Charles, Jr. on SB 838

John A. Charles, Jr.My name is John Charles, president of Cascade Policy Institute. Cascade is a non-profit, non-partisan research center dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, economic opportunity and personal responsibility.

I was not asked to be part of the REWG and therefore am not bound by any informal deals that may have been made among its members. My primary concerns about SB 838 can be summarized as: (A) The bill is unnecessary given Oregon’s low-carbon energy supply system (B) it interferes with the existing green power marketing programs which are voluntary; and (C) SB 838 imposes high costs on ratepayers with no offsetting benefits. (more…)

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Self-employment, a way out of welfare

Sreya SarkarQuickPoint!

To fit in with the latest federal requirements set by Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, Oregon needs to change its existing Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program significantly. Oregon could lose up to $14 million annually if it fails to connect half of the TANF recipients to work-related activities.

The Legislative Assembly is currently considering (more…)

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New Study Shows that Selling the Elliott State Forest Could Double the Common School Fund

For immediate release, March 19, 2007

Cascade Policy Institute released a report today calling for a new management strategy on the Elliott State Forest, including the possible sale to private parties. The study, entitled “Another Option for School Funding: Selling the Elliott State Forest,” was authored by Cascade President John A. Charles, Jr. (more…)

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Another Option for School Funding: Selling the Elliott State Forest

John A. Charles, Jr.


School funding has become one of the most intractable policy issues of the past 15 years. As each session of the Oregon legislature convenes, political leaders vow to bring financial stability to Oregon’s K-12 system, but it never happens.

One positive step that could be taken would be to sell the Elliott State Forest and place the proceeds in the Common School Fund (CSF) endowment. The Elliott, potentially worth $1 billion or more on the open market, is currently earning about 3% annual return on asset value (depending on assumptions), and state managers have no realistic plan for increasing returns. Selling the forest and placing the revenue in the CSF would likely result in annual returns in excess of 8% or more. This would generate an additional $40-$60 million annually for schools. (more…)

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Legislative Leadership Forum – March 16, 2007

Ending Oregon’s War on the Poor
10 Strategies for Reducing Economic Barriers
Cascade Policy Institute
Legislative Leadership Forum
Presented in HR 50, State Capitol
Salem, Oregon noon-1pm
March 16, 2007

Oregon is often seen as a “progressive” state. But many of the state’s policies make it unnecessarily difficult for the lowest-income members of society to gain a foothold on the economic ladder.

In this legislative briefing, Cascade Policy Institute explores 10 simple ways to lower the tax and regulatory burdens on the poor. (more…)

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The Great Green Power Swindle

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

One of the governor’s top priorities is SB 373, a bill mandating that most electric utilities in Oregon derive at least 25% of their power from wind, solar, wave, geothermal and/or biomass energy by 2025. Since those sources currently provide only 2.4% of Oregon’s electricity, that’s a significant increase.

Unfortunately, the governor seems to be ignoring the (more…)

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Economists DO NOT AGREE about elimination of the corporate kicker

Steve BucksteinThe legislative debate on whether to finance a rainy day fund by ending the corporate kicker, whether forever or just this year, is complex. Proponents of ending the kicker claim that economists of all stripes agree that the corporate kicker holds no economic benefit for the state.

Noted Oregon economist and Cascade Policy Institute academic advisor Randall Pozdena recently responded to one maker of that claim, Senator Ryan Deckert. Below, with his permission, is Dr. Pozdena’s email message:

—–Original Message—–
From: Randall Pozdena
Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2007 12:37 PM
To: Senator Ryan Deckert
Subject: Economists DO NOT AGREE about elimination of the corporate kicker.

Dear Senator Deckert: (more…)

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The business of a rainy day fund

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

Virtually everyone agrees that the state of Oregon needs a rainy day fund; they just disagree on how to finance it. Last year voters rejected a rainy day fund coupled with a state spending limit. Now, even though state general fund revenue is expected to be 20 percent higher than last biennium, legislative leaders want corporations to give up this year’s kicker refund to build the fund.

Major business groups endorsed that idea, but the increase in the corporate minimum tax that comes along with it is causing (more…)

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Protecting the "victims"

Steve Buckstein

There’s no one right or wrong way to hold an election in a democracy. Three times since 1996 Oregon voters have approved the so-called “double majority rule” for local property tax measures in other than general elections. Basically, the rule requires that for a tax measure to pass at least half of all eligible voters must vote, and half of those voting must vote Yes.

In my testimony* before a Senate committee against moves to eliminate the double majority rule, I renamed it the “25 percent rule” because what it really does is require that at least 25 percent of all eligible voters approve a tax increase on everyone else (one-half of all eligible voters showing up multiplied by one-half of those voting Yes = 25 percent).

The Majority Leader of the Oregon House testified before me at the same hearing. In his view, the double majority rule has created a number of “victims,” namely (more…)

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