Month: February 2011

Todd Hosts Bill Post Part 2 (VIDEO)

Click here for part 1

Todd Wynn fills in for Bill Post on Feb 7th, 2011. Guests from this second hour include:

John Audley from the Renewable Northwest Project and Paul Bachman from The Beacon Hill Institute on renewable mandates in Oregon

John Audley from Renewable Northwest Project and Paul Chesser from the American Tradition Institute on renewable mandates in the US

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Steve Buckstein reports from the Stand For Children Rally on Bill Post

Check out Steve Buckstein reporting live from the Stand For Children Rally on Bill Post.

[audio:2011-21-2BillPostSteveBuckstein.mp3]

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John Charles on OPB Think Out Loud

Check out John Charles on OPB’s Think Out Loud.

You can listen/download John’s segment on the right, or download the whole show by clicking here.

For more information, visit http://www.opb.org/thinkoutloud/shows/high-speed-momentum

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Todd Wynn on Bill Post Hour 1 (VIDEO)

Click here for Part 2

Todd Wynn fills in for Bill Post on Feb 7th, 2011. Guests from this first hour include:

Christina Martin – Cascade Policy Institute – discusses education, school choice, and the upcoming legislative session.

Gus Gates – Surfrider Foundation – discusses the plastic bag ban in Oregon.

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Steve’s Testimony before the Senate Committee on Finance and Revenue (UPDATED)

Chair Burdick 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.

As a member of Governor Kulongoski’s Task Force on Comprehensive Revenue Restructuring, I must express reservations about Senate Joint Resolution 26 which seeks to revise the Oregon Constitution in a number of significant ways.

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Don’t Make Nicotine a Prescription Drug

Steve BucksteinCascade Commentary

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by Steve Buckstein

If you thought that nothing could be more hazardous to Oregonians’ health than plastic grocery bags, just wait until the health police make nicotine a prescription drug.

Think I’m kidding? House Bill 2233 is already in the pipeline in Salem. Among other good works, it would classify nicotine, an active ingredient in cigarettes, as a Schedule III controlled substance available only by prescription. It would be a crime to possess nicotine, punishable by up to year in prison, a fine of up to $6,250, or both. And it would be a crime to unlawfully distribute nicotine, with the same punishments.

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Oregon’s K-12 Future Must Include Online Education Options

Christina MartinQuickPoint!

by Christina Martin

Click here to hear the audio            Download PDF

According to the College Board, 75% of Oregon schools do not offer Advanced Placement or IB classes in the four core courses: reading, math, science and social studies. Even worse, one in four U.S. high schools do not offer anything above geometry, biology or English. That means one in four high schools do not offer chemistry, physics, algebra II, calculus or even honors English.

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John Charles on OBP’s Think Out Loud Program

John Charles on OBP’s Think Out Loud Program: “High Speed Momentum

When: Monday, February 28 from 9:00 am – 10:00 am

Where: Click here to listen live on the Internet or learn where to find it on the radio

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Todd debates the bag ban on Populations TV

Todd and Gus Gates of the Surfrider Foundation debate the plastic bag ban on Populations TV.

A special thanks to Jim Winkle and Populations TV

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Christina Martin on Lars Larson

Check out Christina Martin talking education on Lars Larson.

[audio:2011-2ChristinaMartinLarsLarson.mp3]


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John Charles on Lars Larson

John Charles talks public transit in an interview with Lars Larson on 2/18/2011.

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John Charles letter to the Oregon Transportation Commission

February 14, 2011

Oregon Transportation Commission

Salem, OR  97301

RE: Feb. 16th meeting, Agenda Item F – Flexible Fund Allocations

Dear Commissioners,

I am writing to express my opposition to the plan to appropriate $13 million of scarce flex funds to the Milwaukie Light Rail project. The reasons for my opposition are as follows:
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Push Education Power Down, Not Up

Governor John Kitzhaber recently announced plans to consolidate control over all levels of education, from pre-Kindergarten through college, in a single board that he would chair. Earlier he proposed consolidating school districts and Educational Service Districts as a way to generate cost savings to taxpayers.

Such efforts have already been tried, however, and failed. Starting before Kitzhaber became governor the first time, while he was Senate President, the legislature mandated a reduction in the number of school districts, hoping to see cost savings. Between 1992 and 2001 the number of districts fell from 277 to 198.
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The Proper Role of Government: Banning Bags and Setting Prices?

Todd WynnCascade Commentary

The Proper Role of Government: Banning Bags and Setting Prices?
by Todd Wynn
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One of the most controversial debates in Oregon’s state capitol this year is banning single-use bags, Senate Bill 536. There is something more important to add to the debate than just the rhetoric from environmental activists, politicians, paper companies and grocery stores. The question of whether government has the right to ban a product and to force retailers to charge a government-created price is an important one to consider, and it has significant implications for government involvement in Oregonians’ lives.
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TriMet Throws Bus Replacement Funding Under the Bus

UPDATE: Read the full letter below

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  February 14, 2011

Contact: John A. Charles, Jr.
Cascade Policy Institute
Tel.: 503-242-0900
Fax: 503-242-3822
E-mail: john@cascadepolicy.org
Website: www.cascadepolicy.org

TriMet Throws Bus Replacement Funding Under the Bus

Portland, OR – Cascade President John A. Charles, Jr.  sent a letter to the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) today opposing TriMet’s request to allocate federal dollars away from bus replacement projects to the Milwaukie Light Rail Project. The plan is on the agenda for OTC approval at its February 16th meeting in Salem.

The Oregon Transportation Commission has created a new program called the Flexible Funds Program. This program will use federal surface transportation funds to support non-highway projects. Based on the stated OTC criteria, the maximum award available will be $2.1 million. The regional transit district for Portland, TriMet, is requesting $13 million in support of the Milwaukie light rail project. The request has been endorsed by the ODOT staff.

If the request is approved, TriMet would be barred from seeking any bus replacement funds from this fund for the next six years. TriMet has agreed to this condition even though the agency has one of the oldest bus fleets in America and the agency asked voters last November to approve a $125 million bond measure for the purpose of replacing buses and upgrading bus stops.
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Karla’s Legislative Testimony on Oregon Forest Lands

Karla Kay EdwardsCascade Commentary

Testimony on HB 2781 Before the House Judiciary Committee

February 14, 2010
by Karla Kay Edwards

Good afternoon, Judiciary Co-Chairs Krieger and Barker and members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on HB 2781. My name is Karla Kay Edwards. I am the Rural Policy Analyst for Cascade Policy Institute, a public policy research organization.

HB 2781 takes a huge step toward attempting to take control of Oregon’s own destiny. More than 53% of Oregon’s land mass is in federal ownership and thus off-limits to any kind of private investment. From 2000 to 2010 federal ownership of land in Oregon has increased by 2,515,739 acres, according to Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) payment records. The federal government has virtually eliminated commodity production on federal forest and grazing lands and continues to further restrict the uses of these lands. A few recent examples: Secretary of Interior Salazar on December 22 issued Order 3310 to designate wild lands (beyond the Wilderness program already in place) and to protect the wilderness characteristics of a potential 245 million additional acres of lands across the U.S. In addition, there is a movement to establish the Siskiyou Crest National Monument which essentially would put another 600,000 acres off limits for many uses in Oregon. Both of these and many other federal land management decisions in Oregon will further limit the ability to manage these lands for multiple uses and generate any significant economic returns for the communities surrounding these areas. Federal land management decisions coupled with state land use laws have reduced more than 90% of non-urban lands in Oregon to what Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto refers to as “dead capital.”
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Todd Hosts the Bill Post Radio show

Check out the audio of Todd filling in as host for the Bill Post Radio show (2/7/2011).

[audio:ToddPost-2011-2-7-pt1.mp3]

Click the play button to hear the audio commentary
Todd and Christina talk education

 

[audio:ToddPost-2011-2-7-pt2.mp3]

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Todd talks to Gus Gates of the Surfrider Foundation about the plastic bag ban

 

[audio:ToddPost-2011-2-7-pt3.mp3]

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Todd talks with John Audley from the Renewable Northwest Project and Paul Bachman from The Beacon Hill Institute on renewable mandates in Oregon

 

[audio:ToddPost-2011-2-7-pt4.mp3]

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Todd talks with John Audley from Renewable Northwest Project and Paul Chesser from the American Tradition Institute on renewable mandates in the US

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Ohio “Rosa Parks” Wants to Choose Another School Bus

What made a low-income African American single mother risk jail time in Ohio? Akron resident Kelley Williams-Bolar recently served nine days in prison after a felony conviction. She used her father’s home address to send her children to a neighboring school district. She says she feared for her kids’ safety in their neighborhood and wanted them to get a good education.

Overnight, Kelley Williams-Bolar became a symbol of the desperation of low-income and minority parents who believe their local public school districts are failing their children. The outrage spans the political spectrum. An online petition for her pardon has 85,000 signatures. Governor John Kasich’s lawyers are investigating the harshness of her sentence. Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. asked the U.S. Attorney General to intervene on her behalf. Editorials for The Washington Post and National Public Radio have referred to this as a “Rosa Parks moment for education.”

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Oregon’s Bag Tax: The Economic Impacts on Oregonians and Retail Stores

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, February 8, 2011
CONTACT: TODD WYNN
CASCADE POLICY INSTITUTE
TEL.: 503-242-0900
FAX: 503-242-3822
E-MAIL: TODD@CASCADEPOLICY.ORG

Oregon’s Bag Tax: The Economic Impacts on Oregonians and Retail Stores

Download the report here

A proposed retail bag ban in Oregon would have a significant negative economic impact according to a report released today by Cascade Policy Institute and Americans for Tax Reform.

One of the first bills likely to be voted on during this 2011 legislative session is the ban on single use bags in retail stores across Oregon. The Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources will hold a public hearing in Salem today at 3:00pm on the ban. If the legislature ultimately passes Senate Bill 536, it would be the first statewide bag ban in the United States.

If passed, retail stores will still be allowed to offer paper bags, but they must charge a minimum of 5 cents per bag. This minimum charge has the same effect as a new tax on consumers.

Cascade Policy Institute and Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) partnered with the Beacon Hill Institute in releasing a short report, Oregon’s Bag Tax: The Economic Impacts on Oregonians and Retail Stores, showing the financial burdens that would be imposed by the bag tax.

The report, prepared by economists at the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University in Boston, found that the bag tax would have a significant negative impact on the state’s economy and on Oregonians.  All other things being equal, Oregonians will allocate a portion of their spending to the bag tax and, as a result, businesses will suffer a reduction in sales and profits. The reduction in sales would lead to a reduction in employment and investment.

“At a time when voters are concerned about jobs and the economy, sponsors of this regressive bag ban seek to destroy millions of dollars of disposable income and investment in Oregon,” said ATR President Grover Norquist. “This is yet another example of government’s penchant for collateral damage – in this case slamming job seekers and the working poor.”

For fiscal year 2012, the report finds:

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Lake Oswego Streetcar Proposal: John Charles Testifies in Favor of a Less Expensive Solution

John A. Charles, Jr.Cascade Commentary

Lake Oswego politicians want to spend more than $400 million in tax dollars to build a five-mile trolley line to service 1,900 transit riders. CPI President John A. Charles, Jr. testified before the Lake Oswego-Portland Transit Project Steering Committee on January 24th. In his testimony, he explained why a simple express-bus option would provide better commuting times at far lower cost. Read the whole testimony below.

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The Fallacy of a $3.5 Billion State Budget Deficit

Steve BucksteinCascade Commentary

The Fallacy of a $3.5 Billion State Budget Deficit
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by Steve Buckstein

$3,500,000,000. That’s the latest official state estimate for what is described as a looming deficit in Oregon’s General Fund Budget for the upcoming 2011-13 biennium. Ask the average Oregonian what this means, and he or she is likely to say that the state must cut its spending by $3.5 billion, increase taxes by that amount, or do some combination of the two. In reality, such stark choices are not necessary because the deficit is not what it appears.

Read almost any news article about the budget crisis and you would think that state revenue will be lower in the next biennium than it is in this one, which ends in June. Actually, current official estimates peg this biennium’s  General Fund and lottery resources at $13.54 billion, while projecting $14.76 billion in the next biennium. Although both these estimates are down from earlier projections, note that as of now state officials believe that they will have $1.2 billion more to spend through the General Fund in the next two-year period than in this one.
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Intertwined: Fish Consumption and Water Quality Standards

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has scheduled a series of public workshops in February regarding raising the state’s water quality standards. DEQ proposes to make Oregon’s water quality standards among the toughest in the country. The reason? DEQ argues that the more fish you eat, the more you are exposed to the cumulative effects of toxins in water, and therefore the higher the standard should be for those toxins.

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