Year: 2009

Tax Policy and the Oregon Economy:The Effects of Measures 66 and 67

Eric FruitsRandall Pozdena

by Eric Fruits, Ph.D. and Randall Pozdena, Ph.D.
Click here to read the full report in PDF format

Introduction: This report measures the likely effects of recent, proposed tax rate increases on households and corporations in Oregon. It examines the effect of these policies on job growth in the state, and the migration of taxpayers and their income. The tax policies examined are those passed by the Oregon legislature in 2009. The Legislature passed two bills affecting, respectively, personal and corporate tax policy. These bills are subject to a referendum in January 2010 and thus are known by their ballot measure numbers: Measure 66 and Measure 67.

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Cell Phone Mismanagement Costs Oregon Taxpayers at Least $588,000

Jacob SzetoFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Jacob Szeto
T: 503.242.0900
F: 503.242.3822

A recent report by the Oregon Secretary of State Audit Division questions the efficiency of state cell phone use. Of $3.1 million charged to the state for cell phones, the report found $588,000 of waste during a one-year period for unused and overused cell phones.

According to the report, “Charges did not appear consistent with efficient business….[I]mproved practices would result in cost savings.”

Included in the audit data were all state agencies, state boards and commissions, public universities, OHSU and the SAIF Corporation. The Department of Administrative Services (DAS) has contracted AT&T, Sprint and Verizon as cell phone vendors for these agencies. For the purpose of identifying problem areas and recommendations the audit reviewed three agencies in detail: the Department of Human Services (DHS), the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Department of Corrections (DOC.) (more…)

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Paying a “Climate Debt”? Plans for Global Wealth Redistribution

Todd Wynn
QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 12-23-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

This month, Senator John Kerry introduced the International Climate Change Investment Act of 2009, which is intended to “fund efforts to reduce deforestation, deploy clean energy technologies, and increase adaptation capacity in developing countries.” In addition, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that the United States would contribute to a climate change fund amounting to $100 billion a year by 2020. Apparently based on dubious assumptions of higher global temperatures by 2100, politicians on the federal level are aiming to hand over a significant sum of money from hard-working Americans to developing countries. (more…)

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Climate Change Alarmists in Hot Water

Todd WynnCascade Commentary

Click here to read the full report in PDF format

Summary: We are told that the earth is the hottest it has been in thousands of years and humans are to blame. But what if the science behind climate change was exaggerated? What if temperature records have been manipulated or cherry-picked? What if climate scientists are unsure about past temperature history? It appears that this is the case. (more…)

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Water Storage Can Provide Many Benefits

Karla Kay Edwards
QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 12-16-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

Water is the lifeblood of the Oregon economy.  Whether it’s the water that turns the turbines to generate clean and cheap energy, acts as the essential nutrient for agricultural commodities, or provides a multitude of recreational opportunities and environmental essentials— water is needed for every aspect of our lives and economy.  Yet, Oregon continues to pass bills like HB 3369 which allowed one storage project to move forward while creating huge hurdles for any new proposed projects to clear. This can lead to the stifling of opportunities to store water at favorable times and create efficiencies within various water uses. (more…)

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Testimony of John A. Charles, Jr.Before the Oregon State Land BoardRegarding The Elliott State ForestDecember 8, 2009

John A. Charles, Jr.Cascade Commentary

My name is John Charles, and I am President of Cascade Policy Institute. I am here to urge the Board to sell or lease the Elliott State Forest.

Read the entire testimony and the analysis, Future mangement of the Elliott State Forest, Providing Adequate Returns for Oregon’s Schools.

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Taking the Wider View on Tax Increases

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

Beware the common wisdom about who might support and who might oppose the new taxes proposed in Measures 66 and 67.

When asked to make the “No new taxes” case to the board of directors of a Portland-based non-profit that provides services to disabled Oregonians, I was skeptical that anything I could say would cause them to oppose the measures. After all, they are funded in large part by government grants; and the people for whom they advocate are often dependent on government programs, some of which might be threatened if the new taxes are defeated. (more…)

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Counties Should Rezone Rural Land

Karla Kay EdwardsCascade Commentary

Click here to read the full report in PDF format

Summary: HB 2229 will allow counties throughout the state to take a fresh look at their designation of agriculture and forestry lands. Before that happens, there needs to be further consideration of all the elements needed for commercial agriculture and forestry to be viable. Soil type is not the only thing upon which to base a land designation. (more…)

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Taxing Work

Christina MartinQuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 12-2-09.mp3]
Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

This January, a hidden tax increase will penalize almost every employee and employer in Oregon. Due to the recent high unemployment rate, State payroll taxes, which fund the unemployment insurance system, will increase from an average of 1.97% of base wages to 2.76%. In other words, assuming you make at least *$32,100 (before taxes), your employer will have to pay an additional $269, for a total of $886 next year. Over time, higher payroll taxes may make Oregon’s economy worse. (more…)

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Government Health Care “Reform:” The Culmination of Incrementalism

Cascade Commentary

Click here to read the full report in PDF format

The opening words of HR 3200, the initial solution to the health care “crisis” in the United States, read: “A Bill to provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans and reduce the growth in health care spending, and for other purposes.” I haven’t yet heard President Obama or Congressional leaders comment on those “other purposes.” However, let us be completely honest here. The only words in that opening statement that have real meaning are those last four words. (more…)

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Cascade Policy Institute Stands by Economic Analysisof Job Losses due to Measures 66 and 67

Steve Buckstein
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Steve Buckstein
T: 503.242.0900
F: 503.242.3822

 

Supporters of higher taxes in Oregon are desperate to debunk the overwhelming economic logic that the personal and corporate income tax increases in Measures 66 and 67 on the January ballot will result in tens of thousands of job losses. (more…)

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False Claims “Stimulate” Investigation

Jacob SzetoQuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 11-25-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

The White House recently claimed that about 640,000 jobs have been saved or created as a result of the $787 billion stimulus package. Many have questioned the accuracy of this number, and for good reason. (more…)

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Learning from Others: Education Tax Credits are a Win-Win

Summary: Forty-four percent of Oregon parents would choose private school if they could afford it, while few actually do attend. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Simple legislation that has saved other states millions of dollars has brought hope to thousands of families in other states. (more…)

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Oregon Has a 60th Congressional District!

Jacob SzetoFOR IMMEDIATE  RELEASE
CONTACT: Jacob Szeto
T: 503.242.0900
F: 503.242.3822

According to Recovery.gov, the U.S. government’s official website for data related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Oregon has a total of nine new congressional districts. That’s eight more than Oregon is projected to have after the 2010 census. (more…)

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$80,000 to Live on Your Own Farm?

Karla Kay EdwardsQuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 11-18-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

Oregon is a leader in the “buy local food” movement, and buying fresh produce from local farmers’ markets and community supported agriculture (CSA) could become an even stronger trend in our state. People not only want to know where their food is coming from, but they also like the fact that they are supporting the local rural economy. (more…)

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Mandates to Reduce Driving Will Kill Oregon’s Economy

Cascade Commentary

By Todd Wynn and John A. Charles, Jr.

Summary: Numerous federal, state and local policies aim to reduce vehicle miles travelled as a carbon-emissions reduction plan, yet rarely considered are the possible economic effects of these policies. New evidence shows that those effects are likely to damage both the environment and the economy. (more…)

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When Good Companies Go Alarmist

Todd WynnQuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 11-11-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

Several corporations recently cancelled their membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over differing views on cap-and-trade legislation. The Chamber of Commerce wants to pursue a rational debate over the direction the nation should take on climate change legislation. Corporations like Nike, Apple and Exelon subsequently left the Chamber of Commerce for a number of reasons. “Saving the planet” is probably not one of them. (more…)

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Killing Jobs with Tax Increases

Steve BucksteinCascade Commentary

Click here to read the full report in PDF format

Summary: The looming campaign to approve or reject two new legislative tax increases will be spirited and probably heated. What voters believe these new taxes will do to jobs very well could be the deciding factor in the January 26, 2010 special election, where both measures will be decided. (more…)

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Debunking Tax Increase Claims

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 11-4-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

The campaign over two legislative tax increases is heating up. Tax proponents are latching onto a recent Legislative Revenue Office (LRO) report which they claim argues that raising personal and business income taxes now will actually be good for Oregon’s economy. (more…)

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Hazy Implications of Cap-and-Trade

Todd WynnQuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 10-28-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

Despite the uncertainty involved with future climate predictions, the federal government is now poised to pass a cap-and-trade program that will attempt to reduce human-emitted greenhouse gases. Because a cap-and-trade program is essentially an energy tax, the program would have an enormous effect on Americans by increasing the costs of almost everything that is needed or desired in our daily lives. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans do not have a clue about what a cap-and-trade program actually is and thus are unable to voice their possible concerns.

(more…)

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Study Finds that Driving has a Positive Effect on the EconomyEfforts to “Get People out of their Cars” Put Economy at Risk

For Immediate Release

Contact: John A. Charles, Jr., 503/242-0900
Randall Pozdena, 503/368-4604

October 28, 2009 – Cascade Policy Institute has released an empirical study examining the relationship between vehicle-miles-travelled (VMT) and Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The study finds that “VMT is a large and statistically significant driver of GDP” and cautions that artificial attempts to limit driving through taxation or regulation will cause a significant decrease in economic output.

Specifically, if the government reduces VMT through mandates, GDP will decline by almost the same percentage as the drop in VMT, over a two-year period. Over a longer period, GDP will drop by about 46% of the rate of VMT decline. (more…)

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Driving the Economy: Automotive Travel, Economic Growth, and the Risks of Global Warming Regulations

Introduction
Concerns about climate change necessarily have focused attention on the energy and carbon “footprint” of various sectors of the economy. Particular attention has been focused on the
transportation sector and private vehicle travel in particular. For example, the May 15, 2009 proposal by Senators Jay Rockefeller and Frank Lautenberg requires that the next federal transportation bill “reduce national per capita motor VMT on an annual basis.” With some state climate initiatives calling for reductions in carbon emissions of as much as 40 percent of today’s levels in a decade, further focus on the transportation system and private highway use is inevitable.
Click here to read the full report in PDF format

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Concealed Handgun Case Should Be Decided by the Court, Not the Legislature

Karla Kay EdwardsQuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 10-21-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

The state and federal courts are currently considering important gun control issues with practical implications for Oregonians’ Second Amendment rights.

In June 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment applies directly to an individual’s right to bear arms. However, the decision did not clarify whether states and other government entities can limit those rights. The Court will hear a case early next year that could determine what, if any, limits can be put on our Second Amendment rights. (more…)

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Rationing Political Discussion

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 10-14-09.mp3]

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Former governor and emergency room physician John Kitzhaber held a live Facebook conversation on health care reform last week. Wanting to be Governor again, he billed it as a way to collaborate with Oregonians to “create policies that work for Oregon.” (more…)

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Charter Schools Don’t Take the Cream, They Make More

Kathryn HickokQuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 9-30-09.mp3]

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Do charter schools “cream” the best students from neighborhood public schools? According to a new study by Stanford economist Caroline Hoxby, the answer is “no.” Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that charges of charter schools “cherry-picking” the best students is inaccurate. (more…)

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Individual Accounts Can Save Medicare

Eric FruitsCascade Commentary

Click here to read the full report in PDF format

Summary:Medicare is a “pay-as-you-go” system in which today’s workers are taxed to pay for today’s spending. Unfortunately, demographics and economic reality make this model unsustainable. A pay-your-own-way system of individual accounts will ensure that today’s workers receive high quality medical care when they become tomorrow’s retirees. (more…)

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Virtual Schools: A Study in Freedom

Christina MartinQuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 10-6-09.mp3]

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The history of humanity is generally one of a handful of people trying to control the decisions of the many. From monarchies to communist governments, the tendency of government is clear because human nature is clear. It doesn’t take evil intentions to rob individuals of their freedoms; it simply takes arrogance. (more…)

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Addressing some of the misinformationin the national health care debate

Dan Lucas
By Dan Lucas

SummaryDan Lucas is an IT worker for a nonprofit health insurer. Tired of hearing highly inaccurate and politicized information, he takes on four of the myths most often cited in the national health care reform debate:

“Insurance companies care more about profits than people.”
“The excessive salaries & bonuses that are paid to health insurance CEOs are a major factor in the cost of health insurance.”
“This is a health insurance crisis.”
“A public option is needed to keep health insurance companies honest and because the government is more efficient than private insurers at administering health care.”

Not true! Click here to read why….

View a PDF Chart of executive pay for health insurers here.

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A Free Market Perspective on Electric Vehicles

By Todd Wynn and Steve Lafleur
Summary:The first alternative fuel vehicle to hit the market arrived without government subsidies. Within a decade, the gas-powered automobile dominated the market. While the emergence of automobiles took place more than a century ago, it is an excellent analogy to the current development of the electric car.
Click here to read the full report in PDF format

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Economic Opportunity Grows with Woody Biomass

Karla Kay EdwardsCascade Commentary

Summary: Woody biomass opportunities abound in rural southern Oregon. With more than 4.25 million acres of timberland that would benefit from hazardous fuel reduction, rural communities also could prosper from the development of a significant biomass industry. (more…)

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Don’t just Blame the Politicians

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 9-23-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

 

The Oregonian ran an editorial this week (Stuck in the middle with you, September 21) bemoaning the fact that the Democrats who control the state legislature “shoved Oregon’s progressive and far-sighted business leaders into a corner” by voting for permanent tax increases. If only the legislators had gone along with the Oregon Business Association’s proposal for temporary tax increases, the editors believe that somehow everything would have worked out just fine on the tax and budget front. (more…)

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Corbett: The Little District That Could

Christina MartinCascade Commentary

 

 

Summary: Corbett High School is one of the top 100 public high schools in the U.S. Responding to parents’ demand, Corbett’s superintendent opened a charter school so students can attend Corbett’s public school without braving the bureaucracy of the inter-district transfer system.  (more…)

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Where is Oregon among the 50 Bright Stars?

Christina Martin

To celebrate Constitution Day, Cascade Policy Institute is posting the results of the Goldwater Institute’s report comparing the strength of each state’s constitution to protect freedom and secure limited government. A strong constitution is vital to preserve freedom; however, alone it is not enough. Accordingly, the report also provides a supplemental assessment of each state’s political and judicial culture.

Where did Oregon rank? Comfortably in the middle, with a very low score for poor protections of property rights and a high score for free speech.  Read more about Oregon’s ranking in 50 Bright Stars: An Assessment of Each State’s Constitutional Commitment to Limited Government.

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We Depend On Rural Oregon

Karla Kay EdwardsQuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 9-16-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

Oregon’s rural economies are based on renewable natural resources susceptible to economic volatility. They are also reliant upon the political will of the urban populations they serve. Unfortunately, there is often a disconnect between people’s emotional response to a natural resource policy question and the impacts those policy decisions will have on both rural communities and urban consumers. (more…)

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Astoria Tea Party Hears from Cascade Policy Institute

Steve in Astoria
On Saturday, September 12, Cascade Policy Institute founder and Senior Policy Analyst Steve Buckstein [center photo] spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of about 80 people from the courthouse steps in Astoria. The event was one of hundreds of such “9-12” events around the country, including a massive rally in Washington, D.C. (more…)

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Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) HearingReport on Performance of the Oregon Climate TrustTestimony by Todd WynnSeptember 11, 2009

Todd WynnCascade Commentary

Regulatory Issues

I.   The purpose of HB 3283 is not being met and the EFSC monetary offset rate is not being followed.

The purpose of HB 3283 is to regulate and reduce CO2 emissions from regulated facilities by implementing carbon offset projects .
The Climate Trust has never adhered to the monetary offset rate established by the Energy Facility Siting Council, and this has led to a major shortfall in offsets that were paid for by regulated facilities.
The Climate Trust claims that the monetary offset does not provide sufficient funding to offset the amount in excess of the standard. This means HB 3283 and The Climate Trust are not offsetting the carbon dioxide that is required to be offset and is thus failing to meet the intent of HB 3283.
The Climate Trust claims the amount of carbon dioxide in excess of the standard is not being fully offset for two reasons :
1. 20% of the funds received are set aside for the costs of “monitoring, evaluation, administration, and the enforcement of contracts to implement offsets.”
2. “The monetary path rate has not kept pace with market prices”
Click here to read the full report in PDF format

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Testimony of John A. Charles, Jr.Regarding the Portland Streetcar System Concept PlanBefore the Portland City CouncilSeptember 9, 2009

John A. Charles, Jr.Cascade Commentary

The Portland Streetcar System Concept Plan would have been considered cutting-edge in 1909. Unfortunately for rail advocates, this is 2009, and the heyday of streetcars is long over.  The streetcar as a meaningful transport mode will never return to prominence no matter how much the Council tries to subsidize it, because it’s too slow, too expensive, and not flexible enough for people who typically have multiple places to go each day.
Click here to read the full report in PDF format

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Wisdom in the Balance: Adaptive Management on State Forests

Karla Kay EdwardsCascade Commentary

The Oregon State Board of Forestry recently reviewed and revised the 2001 management plans for the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forest. Part of the Northwest Forest Management Plan, these plans call for the use of “adaptive management”: a systematic, rigorous approach for learning from actions taken, improving management and accommodating change. “Adaptive management” has been an environmental mantra for more than two decades. But when it is used to an end that isn’t to environmental activists’ liking, they consider it corrupt decision-making. (more…)

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Corbett: The Little District That Could

Christina MartinQuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 9-9-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

Corbett’s K-12 public school is so effective that many parents drive from far and wide so their children can attend what is likely the best public school in Oregon. Responding to parents’ demand, Corbett’s superintendant opened a charter school within the public school so students can attend Corbett’s public school without braving the bureaucracy of the inter-district transfer system. (more…)

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Health Care Overhaul: Congress Can Learn From the Costly Mistakes of the States

Eric FruitsQuickPoint!

While many members of Congress have been heading to their home districts to face town halls filled with concerned citizens, some Americans’ thoughts have drifted overseas. As we find ways to overhaul the U.S. health care system, pundits have pointed to other countries’ experiences with government-run health care. Some say that Canada has the solution. Others look to the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland and even Cuba as a model for a U.S. overhaul. Little attention, however, has been paid to the lessons from several U.S. states. During the Congressional recess, I have crossed the country talking about the Oregon Health Plan while learning about the costly mistakes of other states’ experiences with government-run health care. (more…)

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The Glenn Beck Phenomenon

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 9-2-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

 

Talk radio has been around for a long time. More recently, talk television has attracted lots of attention and large audiences.

The most successful hosts combine interesting food for thought with a flair for showmanship that keeps their audiences both entertained and engaged.

One rising star in the talk show world is Glenn Beck. With national radio and television shows, Beck’s limited government theme, and sometimes over-the-top rhetoric, are captivating a growing audience. (more…)

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Will Work for Human Capital

Cascade CommentaryChristina Martin

Summary: The teenage unemployment and underutilization rates are staggeringly high. This has a negative impact on teenagers’ ability to build human capital such as job skills and education. Policies like minimum wage laws should be amended or reversed to allow teens to better develop their human capital. (more…)

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Free Markets, Not Free Electric Vehicles

Cascade Commentary

By Steve La Fleur and Todd Wynn

Click here to read the full report in PDF format

Summary:The first alternative fuel vehicle to hit the market arrived without government subsidies. Within a decade, the gas-powered automobile dominated the market. While the emergence of automobiles took place more than a century ago, it is an excellent analogy to the current development of the electric car. (more…)

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“Undesignated” Lands Can Meet Unforeseen Needs

Karla EdwardsQuickPoint!

Metro, along with Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties, is nearing the end of a complicated planning process to designate urban and rural reserves for the next fifty years. But how do counties who have been struggling with identifying areas for growth and preservation over the next fifty years make an educated decision? (more…)

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Cascade Economist Travels the Country Discussing Health Care Reform

Portland economic consultant and Cascade adjunct scholar Eric Fruits, Ph.D. joined other health care policy reform experts last week traveling the country to explain how state-based reforms like the Oregon Health Plan have failed and why current national reform efforts are doomed to also fail.

Watch Dr. Fruits interview in Arkansas here:

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Cascade remembers Rose Director Friedman

Steve Buckstein

Rose Director Friedman, wife of the late Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman, passed away yesterday at the age of 98.  While Milton was better known, Rose was a great economist in her own right, and a tireless champion of individual liberty. (more…)

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School Doors Open for Lower-Income Hoosier Children

Kathryn Hickok

QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 8-19-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

This summer Indiana became the most recent state to enact a state tax credit scholarship program for lower-income families to send their children to the schools of their choice. Providing a 50% tax credit for donations to student tuition scholarship organizations, the legislation promises to be a lifeline for lower-income children in the Hoosier state. (more…)

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Economic Freedom for Rural Oregon

Karla Kay EdwardsCascade Commentary

Click here to read the full report in PDF format

Summary: Cascade Policy Institute announces the establishment of the Rural Oregon Freedom Project. Cascade will work with rural communities and the state legislature to remove barriers inhibiting rural economic opportunity and to advance balanced and creative approaches to rural community issues. (more…)

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What’s the Big IDEA?Picking Winners and Losers in Education

Christina MartinCascade Commentary

Click here to read the full report in PDF format

Summary: A recent U.S. Supreme Court case requiring a school district to reimburse parents of a disabled child for education expenses widens the gap between the legal rights of disabled children and non-disabled children. In contrast, education tax credits or vouchers could provide every child with an education that meets his or her individual needs. (more…)

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Not a Carbon-Free Breeze

Sarah RossQuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 8-12-09.mp3]

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Why are Governor Ted Kulongoski and the Oregon Legislature spending millions of dollars pursuing what could prove to be carbon-emitting energy? While Oregon’s commercialization of wind power may appear to be carbon-free, it can bring a hidden carbon footprint.
(more…)

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Money Won’t Fix Schools

Jonathan CalenzaniQuickPoint!

Oregon’s public schools are failing Oregon students. That became even clearer on August 4, when The Oregonian reported new data showing that despite increased funding since 2000, 71 public schools in Oregon are failing, according to federal No Child Left Behind standards. Every time Oregon’s public schools come up short, there is a renewed chorus for more funding. But the history of public education funding suggests no amount of money can fix public schools. (more…)

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Two Job-Killer bills threaten to destroy 100 TIMES more jobs than Oregon’s so-called “stimulus package” will create

Steve Buckstein

CORRECTION of media release dated June 24, 2009

The state recently announced that its $176 million “stimulus package” has created or saved 3,236 jobs in the first three months, spending about eight percent of the money to date. But an Associated Press analysis now finds that those jobs only provided an average of 35 hours of work apiece. When converted to full-time jobs over a year, the number of jobs shrinks to just 54. Once all the funds are spent, assuming the same rate of job creation, the AP analysis finds that it will have created or saved the equivalent of just 688 full-time jobs for one year.

What the state still hasn’t told citizens is that Oregon risks losing one hundred times as many jobs if two “anti-stimulus” tax bills take effect.  (more…)

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The Troubled Ambassador

Stephan BurklinQuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 8-5-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

The city of Portland is perhaps the finest ambassador for the Environmental Protection Agency. Nestled in the idyllic Willamette Valley, the Rose City is the shining environmental vanguard, the poster child for sustainable growth and clean energy.

So when the EPA asks Portland to take precautionary measures to guarantee safe drinking water, it’s odd that the city refuses to comply. (more…)

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Wind Farms Can’t Take the Heat

Todd WynnQuickPoint!

Temperatures soared in Oregon last week and, with the extreme temperatures, energy use soared as well. A recent Oregonian article pointed out a serious issue of how relying on wind energy affects electricity grid stability in the Pacific Northwest especially during times of extreme hot or cold temperatures. But the reliability of the grid and the ability of utilities to meet demand are being constrained by government policy. Oregon utilities are overinvesting in unreliable and inconsistent power sources like wind farms in order to meet renewable portfolio standards, and this overreliance could lead to brownouts and blackouts in the future. (more…)

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Tax Credits for Hybrids Don’t Significantly Increase Demand

Steve LaFleur
QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint – 7-29-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

It seems as if every time you turn on the news, you hear politicians talking about raising taxes on the wealthy. The Oregon legislature already raised taxes on higher-income earners, and the Obama administration wants to do the same. Despite this, both the Obama administration and the Oregon legislature have proposed subsidies for certain higher-income earners. This is being done through tax credits for hybrid electric cars. (more…)

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The Fatal Conceit

Stephan BurklinCascade Commentary

Click here to read the full report in PDF format

Summary: Created nearly ten years ago, the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department’s “Vertical Housing Program” was designed to encourage mixed-use commercial/residential developments. But despite massive public subsidies invested in these projects, the program is not able to attract businesses to its retail spaces. (more…)

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John A. Charles, Jr. featured in KATU 2 story on the “cash for clunkers” program

The federal government’s ‘Cash for clunkers’ program aims to boost cars sales and cut fuel use by letting car shoppers trade-in their older, gas guzzling vehicles for a rebate from $3,500 to $4,500 toward the purchase of a newer, more fuel-efficient vehicle. Cascade President John Charles points out why the program won’t work as intended, and how it will create a shortage of used cars, thus driving up their prices and making it even more difficult for low-income people to purchase affordable transportation.

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It’s Summertime, But These Students Can’t Wait to Go to School

Kathryn Hickok

QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint – 7-22-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio Quick Point.

Most gradeschool children are enjoying their summer off, but some young Oregonians already have September on their minds. You see, they are on the waiting list of the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland and eagerly hope to attend the school of their choice next fall. (more…)

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John A. Charles, Jr. featured in KGW-TV story on TriMet’s WES commuter trains

Watch this great KGW-TV exposé of TriMet’s commuter rail “financial train wreck” featuring Cascade President John A. Charles, Jr.

Click the link below to watch:
Empty WES trains hurting TriMet bottom line

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John A. Charles, Jr. on KATU News (Channel 2) July 20 & 21

John A. Charles, Jr. will be intereviewed by KATU News (Channel 2)
on the federal “Cash for Clunkers” proposal on
July 20 at 11 pm, and
July 21 at 6 am.

Set your recorder or TiVo; you won’t want to miss it!

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Oregon’s Energy-Inefficient “Green Revolution”

Sarah RossCascade Commentary
Summary: With huge subsidies coming from the federal and state governments to prop up inefficient forms of energy production, scientists and entrepreneurs are less likely to produce new, more efficient energy forms. In addition, the massive influx of regulations supported by environmentalists inhibits new energy forms from competing in the market. These factors prevent new sources of energy from coming onto the grid and cost taxpayers millions of dollars in increased energy costs. (more…)

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John A. Charles, Jr. featured on KATU 2story on TriMet’s gold-platedemployee benefits.

Watch this great KATU-TV exposé of TriMet’s “most generous in the country” benefits package. Featuring Cascade’s President John Charles’ analysis of the agency’s out-of-control spending and Common Sense for Oregon’s Golden Fleece Award for wasting taxpayers’ money.

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Oregon could add 20,000 new jobs at no cost to taxpayers if Congress will end the federal estate tax

Steve Buckstein

For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Buckstein
(503) 242-0900 or steven@cascadepolicy.org

 

Portland, Oregon, July 15, 2009 – Oregon could add some 20,000 new jobs at no cost to taxpayers if the federal estate tax were repealed, according to a new analysis by Cascade Policy Institute.

The estimates are based on research by the former director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Holtz-Eakin. The research was conducted for the nonprofit American Family Business Foundation (AFBF), Washington, DC.  (more…)

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The City Council’s Expensive New Toys

Stephan BurklinQuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 7-15-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

Portland’s Rose Quarter is like that small-scale battery-operated car your parents gave you for your fifth birthday. It provided amusement, provoked envy and secured your happiness for a full two weeks; but now it sits abandoned in your family’s basement.

If Portland were a single-family home, then Pioneer Square would be its living room, Tom McCall Waterfront Park its front lawn, and the Rose Quarter its unsightly basement. (more…)

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Federal Climate Bill Will Intensify Oregon’s Recession

Cascade CommentaryTodd Wynn

Click here to read the full report in PDF format

Summary: Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 2454, known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 or the Waxman-Markey bill. If also passed by the Senate and signed by the President, the bill would implement a federal cap-and-trade program. Advocates of the bill have proclaimed that it will be an opportunity to create a new clean energy sector that will be a boon to the United States’ weakened economy. Unfortunately, this isn’t true.
(more…)

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John A. Charles, Jr. responds to The Port of Portland unanimous vote to enter into an Air Service Development Agreement with Delta AirlinesJuly 8, 2009

John A. Charles, Jr.
Today the Port of Portland voted unanimously to enter into an Air Service Development Agreement with Delta Airlines. Under the terms of the agreement, the Port of Portland will pay Delta a service retention fee in the amount of $3.5 million in exchange for Delta’s commitment to continue daily nonstop service between PDX and Tokyo, Japan, from September 1, 2009 through May 31, 2010.  This program is also available to any other air carrier willing to commence new daily nonstop service between PDX and Asia, so it creates an open-ended liability for the Port. If 7 other airlines sign up for the same deal, then presumably the Port would have to pay out $24.5 million, regardless of whether it actually has the money and regardless of whether PDX needs the service. (more…)

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The Great Taxation of ’09

Sarah Ross
QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 7-8-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

With the recent dismissal of the Oregon legislative session, Oregonians have ended up with three things: taxes, taxes, and more taxes. The legislature raised taxes by over $1 billion this year by increasing the income tax on the wealthiest Oregonians and by raising the corporate income tax. Legislative leaders have claimed that these tax burdens on the state’s job creators will help create long-term jobs throughout the state. In reality, the loss of Oregon jobs and businesses is apt to be unfathomable. (more…)

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There’s No Such Thing as a Free Ride

Steve LaFleur

QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 7-1-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio Quick Point.

Why should taxpayers be disappointed with TriMet right now? Between 2004 and 2008 TriMet’s revenue increased 60%, but they actually reduced their level of service. As taxpayers, and consumers, we want to get our money’s worth. (more…)

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The Power of Choice in Virtual Charter Schools

Christina MartinCascade Commentary

Click here to read the full report in PDF format

David struggled in public school. His individual learning needs were not being met. Teachers were even concerned that he would “not ever be able to pass state test[s]” because of his learning disabilities, explains his mother, Naomi Handsaker. Yet, after “one year with ORCA [a virtual charter school] he has gone from that to passing all of his state test[s] and maintaining honor roll all year long!” Like Naomi, many families are raving about virtual schools. Yet, some powerful special interest groups would like to close these innovative schools. (more…)

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What’s in a Name Change?

Jonathan Calenzani

QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint – 6-24-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio Quick Point.

What costs $150,000 of taxpayer money, is opposed by 90% of the people affected and could cost small businesses thousands? Renaming 39th Avenue Cesar Chavez Boulevard.

For the last three years the Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard Committee has been trying to rename a street in Portland after Mexican-American labor leader Cesar Chavez. Running into community opposition on three previous streets, the Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard Committee now has petitioned the City of Portland to rename 39th Avenue Cesar Chavez Boulevard. (more…)

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New Report Documents Massive Cost of Proposed High-Speed Rail Program

For Release June 24, 2009

For more information, contact:
Randal O’Toole, 541-595-1460 or
John Charles, 503-242-0900

The Cascade Policy Institute released a report today documenting that President Obama’s proposed high-speed rail program will cost $1,000 for every federal income taxpayer, yet the average American will ride high-speed trains less than 60 miles a year. The report estimates that the average Oregonian will take a round trip on high-speed trains only once every 10 years. (more…)

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Two Job-Killer bills threaten to destroy ten to twenty times more jobsthan Oregon’s so-called “stimulus package” has created

Steve Buckstein
For immediate release
Contact Steve Buckstein
(503) 242-0900 steven@cascadepolicy.org

The state recently announced that its $175 million “stimulus package” has created or saved 3,236 jobs.1,2

What the state hasn’t yet told citizens is that Oregon risks losing ten to twenty times or more as many jobs if two “anti-stimulus” tax bills take effect. (more…)

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Raising Oregon’s Corporate Income Tax RateWill Cost 43,000 Oregon Jobs

Randall PozdenaCascade Commentary

Raising tax rates of any kind risks impairing the private sector’s motivation to invest in activities that support job and income growth. However, the taxation of corporate income is particularly injurious to growth. (more…)

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Digging Holes in Oregon: The Governor’s Plan to Save the Unemployed Will Deepen the Pit

Cascade CommentaryChristina Martin

Governor Kulongoski has a plan to save Oregon’s sorry economy: raid the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund of a total of $90 million. Forty million dollars would further extend unemployment benefits “for 11,000 unemployed Oregonians who face the loss of benefits in that time period, provided no additional benefits are made available by the federal government.”[i] He would use the other $50 million to pay thousands of Oregonians to work at unknown community projects or to go into training programs. His plan (House Bill 3500) aims to create 7,100 jobs for individuals who are receiving unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, paying between $8.40 and $10 per hour (which is more than average benefits) and providing transportation and childcare for up to 2,500 low-income individuals in the program. Each participant in the job creation program could get an additional $2 per hour placed into an Individual Education Account if participants jump through a few hoops. (more…)

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Global Warming? No! It Is Now Called Climate Change

QuickPoint!Todd Wynn

[audio:QuickPoint 6-17-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

Global warming used to be the defining term to represent the increase in the average temperature of the earth during the past 100 years. Recently, the more politically popular term, climate change, has replaced global warming. Why? One main reason is because the earth is currently cooling.
(more…)

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Oregon’s Little Carbon FootprintBy Todd Wynn

QuickPoint!Todd Wynn

[audio:QuickPoint 6-10-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

The threat of human-induced climate change is driving public policy towards attempting to reduce human emissions in the state. It is important to put Oregon’s “carbon footprint” into perspective in order to understand that state emission reduction policies make no economic or environmental sense. (more…)

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Taxing the “Wealthy” More Will Cost 36,000 Oregon JobsBy Bill Conerly

QuickPoint!Bill Conerly
I estimate that raising the maximum tax rates on personal income, including capital gains, to eleven percent will cost the Oregon economy 36,000 jobs by 2015. The job losses will continue to accumulate beyond that year. This analysis does not incorporate job losses due to higher corporate income taxes.

The estimate is based on a model of state employment growth that incorporates data for all 50 states for 26 years. It exploits tremendous variation in tax practices from one state to another, and within individual states across time. The model was developed for my 2005 analysis of Oregon’s capital gains tax. (See “Generating Jobs and Income Through a Capital Gains Tax Reduction,” Appendix 1, Equation 3, available at http://www.conerlyconsulting.com/pdf/Capital_Gains_Report.pdf.) (more…)

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An Economist’s Perspective on HB 3405 and HB 2649By Randall J. Pozdena, PhDPresident, QuantEcon Inc.June 9, 2009

Randall PozdenaThe opinions expressed herein are those of the author and
should not be attributed to any other individual or to any other organization
with which the author is affiliated.

Introduction
The State of Oregon faces State budget deficits due to the sharp decline in employment and economic activity in the state. In an attempt to fend off this fiscal problem, the Oregon House just passed, and the Oregon Senate will decide shortly, on two major tax measures:

HB 3405 would increase tax rates on corporate profits, from 6.6 to 7.9 percent for two years, dropping to 7.6 percent thereafter.
HB 2649 would increase, for three years, personal income and capital gains tax rates from the current 9 percent to 10.8 percent and 11 percent for those earning more than $125,000 and $250,000, respectively. A 9.9 percent rate would be imposed thereafter. (more…)

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Update on the status of SB80The Oregon version of a cap-and-trade program

Senate bill 80 has been referred to the Ways and Means committee and subsequently assigned to the subcommittee on Natural Resources.

The bill is not defeated but it is a far cry from the original economy-killing bill that was first drafted and it no longer contains any provisions for Oregon implement a cap-and-trade program.

[audio:senboquistonSB80.mp3]

Click the play button to hear Senator Boquist acknowledge Cascade Policy Institute’s Climate Change analyst, Todd Wynn, for his hard work toward defeating this bill.

Todd Wynn

To hear Todd’s original testimony on February 5 before the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources click here and go to 3:21:05-3:23:15 and 3:34:11-3:37:18 on the audio file.

Click here to read Todd’s original testimony.

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Why taxing the rich may backfire

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 6-3-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

Oregon state legislators are busy working to pass bills that they hope will generate $800 million income tax dollars from wealthy individuals and corporations.

The personal income tax bill would impose higher tax rates on households with taxable income above $250,000 along with single filers whose income tops $125,000. Supporters think they can raise about $500 million over two years, but that’s only if economic realities don’t get in the way. (more…)

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Todd Wynn Testimony for House Joint Resolution 48, Committee on RevenueMay 28, 2009

Todd WynnCascade Commentary

Listen to Todd’s testimony on this audio file
at 1:30:01-1:33:34 and response from Representative Bailey at 1:35:38-1:38:48.

HJR 48 would propose an amendment to the Oregon Constitution allowing the Legislative Assembly to impose taxes on carbon emissions for the purpose of funding reductions in carbon emissions and carbon fuel use. HJR 48 would refer the proposed amendment to the people for their approval or rejection at the next regular general election.

This bill is entirely unnecessary and could impose significant costs on Oregonians while providing no environmental benefit. (more…)

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Timber Jobs: Jeopardy or Opportunity?

[audio:QuickPoint 5-27-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

karla kay edwardsQuickPoint!

In today’s economy everyone is looking for ways to create jobs and increase revenues. That includes Senator Ron Wyden, who has drafted the Oregon Forest Restoration and Old Growth Protection Act, which would manage Oregon’s federally owned forests tree by tree instead of as a sustainable landscape. Though his goal to improve forest health while providing jobs in our rural communities is well intentioned, it will only create more bureaucracy while jeopardizing forest health and our rural communities’ livelihoods. (more…)

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John A. Charles, Jr. Testimony supporting SB 36 Tolling Authority for Bridges

John A. Charles, Jr.Cascade Commentary

Listen to John’s testimony at 1:47:05 through 1:57:35 on this audio file, which includes an exchange he had with Representative Bruun and the unanimous committee vote on the bill.

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Representative Matt Wingard Testimony opposing SB 34 on Video

Senate Bill 34 gives TriMet authority to increase payroll taxes. Watch Representative Wingard’s compelling testimony here.

SB 34 passed the House on a 32 to 28 vote.

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SB 767 Violates Oregon’s Education Reform Promise

[audio:QP 5-20-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

Christina MartinQuickPoint!

Oregon received around $121 million for education as a result of the federal stimulus bill passed earlier this year. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the stimulus funds are intended to save jobs at risk of budget cuts and to advance education reforms.

According to the Department of Education, in order to receive these funds, the Oregon government promised to “collect, publish, analyze and act on basic information regarding the quality of classroom teachers, annual student improvements, college readiness, the effectiveness of state standards and assessments, progress on removing charter caps (more…)

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Testimony of John A. Charles, Jr. Regarding SB 34-A May 18, 2009

John A. Charles, Jr.Cascade Commentary

Listen to this testimony at 2:55:51-3:09:05 on this audio file.

My name is John Charles and I am president of Cascade Policy Institute, a non-profit policy research organization. I have extensive experience with urban mass transit, both as a consumer and as a researcher. During the past 29 years I have used the TriMet transit system over 20,000 times.

Click here to read the full testimony in PDF format

Read the full text of the bill here.

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“A Job in Every Home”

Cascade Commentary

Click here to read the full report in PDF format

Just when federal and state legislators are passing economic stimulus packages to get people working, House Bill 2204 in the Oregon State Legislature would end innovative programs that provide exactly the kind of stimulus that spurs people to continue working. Pieces of legislation are pending at both the state and the federal level for the addition of multiple public projects as part of economic stimulus packages. In contrast to the old “chicken in every pot” (more…)

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DHS Transformation Initiative: Anything But Transparent

Cascade Commentary

Click here to read the full report in PDF format

In a world full of names, acronyms and management change plans, taxpayers can get lost. When the information to describe these programs is not transparent to the public, we cannot keep up with what our tax dollars are purchasing. Moreover, we cannot wander into discussions of government services without an entire world of letters swimming together to shorthand the names of agencies and programs. This alphabet soup is almost guaranteed to confuse those being asked to fund all these changes: the taxpayers. (more…)

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John A. Charles, Jr. Testimony regarding HJM11 Carbon Sequestration on Federal Timberlands May 6, 2009

John A. Charles, Jr.Cascade Commentary

Listen to this testimony at 1:00:00-1:03:45 on this audio file.

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, the assumption with HJM 11 is that we can get something for nothing through the hoped-for carbon sequestration on federal lands, as part of a national carbon rationing program. Advocates hope that the creation of a new type of asset called carbon sequestration offsets, formed literally out of thin air, will help lock up more federal lands into non-harvest regimes. (more…)

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John A. Charles, Jr.Testimony on HB3253subsidies for electric vechiclesHouse Revenue CommitteeMay 6, 2009

John A. Charles, Jr.Cascade Commentary

Listen to the testimony at 0:30-6:21 on this audio file.

Mr. Chairman, although I look forward to someday driving an electric vehicle, subsidizing the industry is a bad idea. There is already a generous federal subsidy program for electric vehicles, beginning January 1, 2010. Tax credits for plug-in electric passenger vehicles and light trucks will range from $2,500 to $7,500, depending on battery capacity. (more…)

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Government Grows,Even in Recession

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

Most Oregonians think that our state government is short of money, billions of dollars short. Legislators are faced with cutting programs and raising taxes as they struggle to close a $4 billion hole in the General Fund budget.

What most Oregonians don’t know is that the General Fund is only about one third of all the money Oregon state government spends. (more…)

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Legislators Table Attemptto Steal the Kicker

Steve BucksteinCascade CommentaryClick here to read the full report in PDF format

Summary: SJR 29 is based on a fallacy. Its supporters assume that the kicker somehow has prevented the state from building a substantial rainy day fund, when in reality there has been no prohibition against lawmakers budgeting for less spending than the point estimate forecasts would allow. (more…)

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To Empower Families, Encourage Savings

Christina MartinQuickPoint!

Some activists are begging Oregon’s legislature to create yet another social safety net: paid family leave. Senate Bill 966 would create “insurance” benefits for family leave, subsidizing time off from work to care for a new child or a seriously ill family member. It would cost each full-time worker about $42 each year. After working six months, a worker could receive up to $300 per week for six weeks while on family leave.

To pay for a worker to take the maximum amount of leave benefits, about 42 full-time workers would have to work more than a year. Since this program would change behavior, it is likely that the tax (more…)

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Steve Buckstein Testimony in favor of HB 2817 before the Senate Business and Transportation CommitteeMay 4, 2009

Steve BucksteinCascade Commentary

Chair Metsger and members of the Committee, my name is Steve Buckstein. I’m Senior Policy Analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit public policy research organization based in Portland. Our mission is to promote policies that enhance individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic opportunity in Oregon. (more…)

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Green Jobs to the Rescue?

Todd WynnQuickPoint!

[audio:QP – 4-29-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

Last month, Oregon became the state with the fastest growing unemployment rate, adding another 1.4% to the currently unemployed and becoming the state with the second highest unemployment rate at 12.1%. Because of the dismal economic climate, it is tempting for Oregonians to support a policy that promises to add new “green” jobs. Unfortunately, a policy that specifically tries to increase job growth in a highly subsidized sector of the economy may do more harm than good. (more…)

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Kathryn Hickoktestimony on SB 767Senate Education CommitteeApril 22, 2009

Kathryn HickokCascade Commentary

Chair Hass and members of the committee, I am Kathryn Hickok from Cascade Policy Institute in Portland, speaking in opposition to SB 767. Cascade promotes public policy alternatives that foster individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic opportunity in Oregon. We also run an entirely privately funded scholarship program for K-12 Oregon students from lower-income families. The Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland has helped nearly 650 Oregon students have access to diverse educational settings that meet their individual needs. (more…)

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OREGON SCHOOL CHOICE VIDEO CONTESTWINNING FAMILY CLAIMS $10,000 GRAND PRIZE

 

A Hillsboro 8th grader will receive up to ten thousand dollars to help with the cost of a private school education in the first-ever Oregon School Choice Video Contest.
(more…)

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Who Represents the Children?

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

[audio:QP – 4-22-09.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

If the current recession leads to job losses in Oregon’s public schools, how should the cuts be made? When it comes to unionized teachers, the answer seems to be pretty simple, and pretty troubling. (more…)

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My Two Cents and My Freedom:The Cost of Paid Family Leave

Christina MartinCascade Commentary

Click here to read the full report in PDF format

Some Oregon activists are begging the state legislature to create yet another social safety net: paid family leave. Senate Bill 966 would create “insurance” benefits for family leave, subsidizing time off from work to care for a new child or a seriously ill family member. Proponents argue that if society values families, then this bill is vital. (more…)

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Testimony from John A. Charles, Jr. on HB 3253House Transportation CommitteeApril 8, 2009

John A. Charles, Jr.Cascade Commentary

HB 3253 would create a tax credit for plug-in electric drive motor vehicles beginning in 2010. Testimony in opposition from Mr. Charles is at 38:15 – 41:58 of this audio file.

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