Month: February 2009

Karma Neutral: We do good deeds, so you don’t have to!

If they can do it with carbon, why can’t we do it with karma?

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Tax Reform Vision Goes Up In Smoke

Steve BucksteinCascade Commentary

Summary:

The Task Force on Comprehensive Revenue Restructuring was charged with developing a blue print for a state and local government tax system. But Portland pollster Adam Davis has shown that public negativity on government and politics is now higher than it has been in 30 years. Oregon voters do not trust government or politicians to get things right. (more…)

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A Convention Hotel by Any Other Name…

QuickPoint!

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City of Portland officials have proposed developing a new stadium in the Rose Quarter for the Portland Beavers baseball team, hoping to attract a major league soccer team to the Rose City.

Meanwhile, the Ambridge Event Center (located directly across from the Convention Center and the Rose Quarter) has been purchased by a subsidiary of the Schlesinger Companies, with a view toward future development of the property. (more…)

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Making Health Insurance More Affordable

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

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As the Oregon legislature risks making matters worse by creating a brand-new health care system for us all (HB 2009), there are some small changes legislators can enact now that will make a real difference.

One way to give Oregonians more insurance choices is for the state to give its own employees the same ability to choose a Health Savings Account as federal employees have. (more…)

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Expanding a Broken System Only Widens the Cracks

Christina MartinCascade Commentary
By Christina Martin

Summary

The Unemployment Insurance Modernization Act, tacked onto the current version of the proposed federal stimulus bill, provides an incentive to states to modify UI to ameliorate some of the system’s more publicized inadequacies. However, true UI modernization requires real innovation, not more of the same. (more…)

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SB 168: Allows State Agencies to Open Facilities for the Generation of Electricity

Todd Wynn
Testimony for Senate Bill 168
Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee
Todd Wynn
February 12, 2009

Senate Bill 168 allows state agencies to construct and operate facilities for the generation of electricity and allows certain agencies to purchase renewable energy certificates.

Although seemingly harmless, this bill has vast implications and could significantly increase the cost of energy for state agencies. (more…)

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Money for Nothing: The Illusion of Carbon Offsets

Todd Wynn

Because cap-and-trade programs and other wide-ranging carbon emission reduction strategies rely heavily on offsets to reduce compliance costs, Cascade Policy Institute audited the leading offset provider in Oregon, the Climate Trust. This report takes a close look into the Climate Trust’s offset portfolio and shows that numerous problems undermine the quality and true effectiveness of the organization’s purpose.

Click here to read the full report in PDF format

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“Global Warming Crisis: Cancelled”

Second New York conference of global warming skeptics announced, expected to draw up to 1,000 scientists and experts

The organizers of a March 2008 conference that brought together more than 500 scientists, economists, and other experts on global warming today unveiled plans to hold a second conference on March 8-10, 2009, once again in New York City.

The 2009 International Conference on Climate Change will serve as a platform for scientists and policy analysts from around the world who question the theory of man-made climate change. This year’s theme, “Global Warming Crisis: Cancelled,” calls attention to new research findings that contradict the conclusions of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. (more…)

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Bailing Out School Choice

QuickPoint!

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The time for an education tax credit is now. As the economy suffers, even more families are struggling to afford the best education for their children. A $1,000 tax credit for your own children’s K-12 education expenses, or for donations to scholarship programs for children in low-income families would ease the burden on many Oregonians in these tough economic times. It would also increase parents’ ability to choose the best education for their children.

One state representative recently commented that considering the anticipated budget shortfall, this would be a terrible time to create an education tax credit. The truth, however, is that the legislature’s priorities lay elsewhere. (more…)

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Testimony for SB80: Implementing a Cap-and-Trade Program in Oregon

Todd Wynn
Testimony for Senate Bill 80
Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee
Todd Wynn
February 5, 2009

Senate Bill 80 directs the Environmental Quality Commission to adopt by rule a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade system to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals. The Oregon version of a cap-and-trade program would be one part of the Western Climate Initiative’s (WCI) regional cap-and-trade program.

There are many problems with implementing a cap-and-trade program in Oregon, but the main issue is that it would create excessive economic burdens and provide little or no environmental benefit. A cap-and-trade program for the state is truly an “all pain, no gain” strategy. (more…)

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Food Stamp Recruitment is not an Economic Development Strategy

Cascade Commentary
By Shirley Iverson and John A. Charles, Jr.

Summary

Over the past decade, Oregon has had some of the highest participation rates for federal food aid in the nation. The reason is that state agencies and “anti-hunger” advocates have aggressively recruited people into the food assistance program, a callous approach to government aid that fosters a lifestyle of government dependence among those most in need of self-reliance skills. (more…)

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Testimony for SB76: Regarding the Removal of the Klamath Dams

Todd Wynn
Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee
Senate Bill 76: Regarding the Removal of the Klamath Dams
Hearing is February 3 at 3 pm

Testimony for Senate Bill 76
Todd Wynn
February 3, 2009

 My name is Todd Wynn, and I am Cascade Policy Institute’s climate change and energy policy analyst. Cascade Policy Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization that focuses on state and local issues in Oregon and has been active in the state since 1991. My research focuses entirely on Oregon public policy that involves energy, climate change and environmentally related issues. (more…)

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Public Opinion Polls Express Doubt about Global Warming

Todd WynnQuickPoint!

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With a new president and a fresh batch of state senators and representatives in Salem, there is a lot of discussion on what to do about global warming. Because state and national public policy is overly focused on reducing greenhouse gases for the sake of “saving” the climate, a couple of national polls have been released assessing public opinion on the topic of global warming. It turns out that addressing global warming with public policy is not a top priority. (more…)

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Obama’s Stimulus Plan: A Plan Without Stimulus

Cascade Commentary

At the cost of $819 billion, the current House version of the Obama Stimulus Plan is more than twice as costly as the much-reviled Iraq War to date. Passage of a stimulus plan, according to President Obama, is an urgently needed and critical step to a rapid recovery. In fact, as I argue here, the Plan is simply a standard-issue spending program masquerading as stabilization policy, and unlikely to provide useful stimulus.

Why Fiscal Policy Doesn’t Work

If Nobel-laureate economist Milton Friedman were still alive today, he would be shaking his head in dismay at the current version of Stimulus Plan. Dr. Friedman, whom I had the pleasure of knowing, was a strong skeptic of the usefulness of fiscal policy as an economic stabilization tool. Fiscal policy (the use of changes in government spending or tax revenue collection to influence the economy) has both fatal theoretical flaws and weak empirical justification. (more…)

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Oregon’s Carbon Offset Scam

Todd WynnCascade Commentary

Click here to read this Commentary in PDF format

Summary

Because cap-and-trade programs and other wide-ranging reduction strategies rely heavily on offsets to reduce compliance costs, Cascade Policy Institute audited the leading offset provider in Oregon, the Climate Trust. The report, Money for Nothing: The Illusion of Carbon Offsets, takes a close look into the Climate Trust’s offset portfolio and shows that numerous problems undermine the quality and true effectiveness of the organization’s purpose. (more…)

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