Category: Testimony

Testimony before the Metro Council on Resolution No. 07-3868 authorizing creation of a finance plan for the development of a Convention Center Headquarters Hotel

Steve BucksteinPresident Bragdon and members of the council, for the record my name is Steve Buckstein. I’m Senior Policy Analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute in Portland. I’m here to oppose this resolution.

Originally, we built the Oregon Convention Center thinking it would encourage everyone to come to Portland and spend lots of money eating and shopping when they weren’t attending conventions.

But the same idea occurred to people in other cities, and it sparked an ambitious municipal competition that is still going strong.

When our original $90 million center didn’t generate the expected revenue, we spent another (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Testimony before the Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission on Qwest’s Cable Franchise Proposal

Steve BucksteinMembers of the Commission, my name is Steve Buckstein. I’m Senior Policy Analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute, a non-profit think tank based in Portland. Our mission is to advance policies that foster individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic opportunity in Oregon.

In the late 1980s I remember one Multnomah County Commissioner campaigning on a platform of bringing multiple cable TV providers to the county. Hopefully, tonight is the night that promise will come true. The mere choice of providers is, I believe, the most powerful public benefit that will be generated with the acceptance of Qwest’s franchise request.

We can speculate about why there hasn’t been any real (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Testimony before the Portland City Council on The Great Duct Tape Controversy

Steve BucksteinThis testimony was in response to a proposed ordinance by Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard which would ban reserving sidewalk space to view parades. Before my testimony, Mayor Potter suggested that Leonard withdraw his proposal and agree to solicit citizen input through a public committee. As the first person to testify, I supported the Mayor’s suggestion. After my testimony and that of others, Leonard withdrew his ordinance and agreed to co-chair such a committee with the head of the Rose Festival Association. Commissioner Dan Saltzman told his colleagues that he hoped “Steve Buckstein’s Rose Festival Duct Tape idea” would be considered. The idea was presented in my testimony below. (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Testimony before the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on SB 823 A, prohibiting development along the Oregon Trail

Steve BucksteinGood afternoon Chair Roblan and members of the Committee. My name is Steve Buckstein. I’m Senior Policy Analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute, a Portland-based think tank that promotes individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic opportunity in Oregon.

The pioneers walked 2,000 miles from Missouri, risking life and limb, to build a new life for themselves and their families in the open west. Some never made it, dying along the way. The Oregon Trail was all about progress. It was all about opportunity. It was all about the right to (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Testimony before the House Consumer Protection Committee on SB 118A, imposing price controls in a disaster

Steve BucksteinGood afternoon Chair Holvey and members of the Committee. My name is Steve Buckstein. I’m Senior Policy Analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute, a Portland-based think tank that promotes individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic opportunity in Oregon.

Imposing price controls to protect consumers is one of the worst things government can do in an emergency. Rapidly rising prices signal those outside the affected area to conserve scarce products, and they signal producers to ship more of those products into the affected area quickly. Price controls short-circuit these signals, turning a natural disaster into a political one.

Let me give you just one example of how this bill might backfire and (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Sometimes a Little Magic Happens: Public Testimony on HB 3010

Matt WingardCascade Commentary

Summary

Public policy advocates often find that spending extended periods at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem can lead to growing cynicism about the public process. But every once in a while, you experience something that restores your faith in what you do. April 5, 2007 was one of those days. I traveled to Salem with a delegation from Portland to testify in support of House Bill 3010. (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Testimony on HJR 28 before the House Revenue Committee on using Lottery funding for the Oregon State Police

Steve BucksteinGood afternoon Chair Barnhart and members of the Committee. My name is Steve Buckstein. I’m Senior Policy Analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute, a Portland-based think tank that promotes individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic opportunity in Oregon.

Currently, less than two percent of the All Funds budget is spent on the State Police. We spend only about eight percent on all public safety, including the prisons and courts. We spend twice that much, 16%, just administrating state government.

The Preamble to the Oregon Constitution proclaims (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Testimony before the House Transportation Committee on bills to ban cell phone usage while driving

Steve BucksteinGood afternoon Chair Beyer and members of the Committee. My name is Steve Buckstein. I’m Senior Policy Analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute, a Portland-based think tank that promotes individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic opportunity in Oregon.

I’m here to question the necessity and effectiveness of all the bills before you today that seek to ban certain uses of cell phones while driving.

I think everyone agrees that cell phones have opened up wonderful benefits to our society. Most of us also agree that they have also introduced some risks. Unfortunately, politics is not a very good tool for (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Testimony on HB 3010: Freedom to Choose My School Grant Program

Kathryn HickokMy name is Kathryn Hickok, and I am director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland. Since 1999 CSF-Portland has provided privately funded partial-tuition scholarships to the children of Oregon families whose income is low to moderate. 29% of families currently participating in our program live in Portland neighborhoods directly affected by HB 3010. Some of the parents whose children receive our scholarships are here today. Others regret they are unable to leave work or school to be here. I am including their letters and comments with my written testimony.

CSF-Portland is a partner program of the national Children’s Scholarship Fund. Our mission is to maximize educational opportunity at all income levels by offering tuition assistance for needy families and promoting a diverse and competitive education environment. As far as I am aware, CSF-Portland is the only program in Oregon providing scholarships to (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Testimony of Matt Wingard In Support of HB 3010

Matt WingardMy name is Matt Wingard and I appreciate the opportunity to testify in support of HB 3010. I am Director of the School Choice Project for Cascade Policy Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan policy research center based in Portland. Cascade works to advance individual liberty, economic opportunity, and personal responsibility.

House Bill 3010 is the product of an 18-month outreach effort in the North and Northeast Portland minority communities. In September, 2005 we began hosting monthly meetings in Northeast Portland to hear the concerns of parents and students in and around the Jefferson High School Cluster. We spent many hours listening to longtime residents and (more…)

Read Blog Detail

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…)

Read Blog Detail

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…)

Read Blog Detail

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…)

Read Blog Detail

Testimony on HB 2700

Bina PatelThe Cascade Policy Institute, a non-partisan free-market think tank, would like to present information on the economic impacts of increasing health insurance mandates. This question is focused not only the economic consequences, but also on the larger question facing policymakers: are we seeking universal health insurance, or expansive benefit coverage for the few?

  1. Insurance by definition is designed to provide security against unpredictable risks that a group of individuals share and pay premiums for in the event such a risk may occur. The principles of insurance include that risks covered are unpredictable and unintentional. Insurance is not an effective mechanism to provide maximum coverage to all for every foreseeable event. When predictable and regular costs are billed to insurance, in addition to occurrences for those experiencing an unpredictable risk, the cost of insurance increases — that is, more funds are needed to cover both risks and predicted events. In this case, health insurance in fact appears more as a “health benefits package”.

(more…)

Read Blog Detail

Testimony on SB 80 and SJR 10

Steve BucksteinBefore the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee

on deleting the double majority voting requirement from certain property tax elections

Good morning Chair Deckert and members of the Committee. My name is Steve Buckstein. I’m Senior Policy Analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute, a Portland-based think tank.

There’s no one right way or wrong way to hold an election in a democracy. Clearly, some limitations on pure majority rule are both acceptable and appropriate under our form of government. In 1996 Oregon voters approved a Constitutional amendment that requires a (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Testimony on HB 2557

Steve BucksteinBefore the House Business and Labor Committee

on certain exemptions from prevailing wage laws

Good afternoon Chair Schaufler and members of the Committee. My name is Steve Buckstein. I’m Senior Policy Analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute, a public policy research organization based in Portland.

I’m here to express my support for exempting certain projects from Oregon’s prevailing wage laws. Let me briefly tell you why. (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Testimony on SB 580

Steve BucksteinBefore the Senate Business, Transportation and Workforce Development Committee

on the establishment of signature research centers

Good afternoon Chair Metsger and members of the Committee. My name is Steve Buckstein. I’m Senior Policy Analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute, a public policy research organization based in Portland.

Directing the Oregon Innovation Council to establish signature research centers is poor public policy because (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Outline of Testimony by John A. Charles, Jr. Regarding HB 2201

John A. Charles, Jr.

  • Tobacco taxes present a moral hazard. By using this as a finance measure, legislators are clearly stating that they want Oregonians to buy as many cigarettes as possible.

(more…)

Read Blog Detail

Testimony on HB 2037

Steve BucksteinBefore the House Education Innovation Subcommittee

in favor of removing restrictions on public charter schools offering online courses

By Steve Buckstein

February 6, 2007

Good afternoon, Chair Komp and members of the Committee. My name is Steve Buckstein. I’m Senior Policy Analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute, a public policy research organization based in Portland.

As you know, one section of public charter school law ORS 338 requires 50 percent of online charter school students to (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Invited Testimony on HB2201: “Oregon Healthy Kids Program”

Steve BucksteinPresented to a Joint Hearing of the House Committee on Health Care and the Senate Committee on Health Policy and Public Affairs

By Steve Buckstein

January 26, 2007

Good afternoon Mr. Chairman, Madam Chair, and Committee members.

My name is Steve Buckstein. I’m Senior Policy Analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute, a public policy research organization headquartered in Portland.

Before addressing the Healthy Kids Program specifically, I think we can all agree that our current health care system is dysfunctional. We may not agree on the causes, however, or the cures. (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Testimony before the Portland Development Commission on its Prevailing Wage Policy

Steve BucksteinThe Portland Development Commission (the semi-independent economic development arm of the Portland City Council) has resisted paying above market, government-mandated, prevailing wages on construction projects that involve some public funding but are primarily privately owned. Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries is trying to convince PDC that it should pay prevailing wages on these projects.

Steve Buckstein’s testimony before the PDC commissioners came as they continue to wrestle with setting a formal policy on the prevailing wage issue. (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Testimony before the House Select Committee on Education

Steve BucksteinThe Oregon House Select Committee on Education, chaired by Representative Linda Flores, is meeting to consider possible education reform legislation for the next legislative session which begins in January. On September 27, 2006 the committee heard from the Washington Scholarship Fund, which administers both a privately funded and a publicly funded voucher program in Washington, D.C., followed by testimony and discussion with Steve Buckstein and Matt Wingard of Cascade Policy Institute on the concept of school choice. (more…)

Read Blog Detail