Fiscally Responsible Democrats


We should applaud the demise of an Oregon Legislative Special Session for one good reason: Democrats took the opportunity to proclaim support for fiscal responsibility. Many publicly stated such a gathering would waste taxpayer dollars. Buoyed by these pronouncements, the next regular session could advance ideas that increase freedom and reduce the burden of state government on all Oregonians.

Fiscally responsible Democrats can support contracting out as a way to help resolve the government spending problem. They can trumpet the warehouse services contract between the Portland Bureau of Parks and Recreation and the Genuine Parts Company, which promised $200,000 in savings over 18 months. Jessica Swanson reports in the May 21 Daily Journal of Commerce, “Mary Huff, operations manager for the city bureau, thinks the savings will exceed $300,000.”

Democrats who also advocate freedom can give it to Oregon’s public university presidents who seek to run their campuses as they deem appropriate. Unshackle them and we can be on the cutting edge! The Mackinac Center’s Lance Wieslak and Michael LaFaive note, “In December 2003, South Carolina gave all 13 of its universities permission to go private; [and] Colorado’s university system is preparing a contingency plan to convert all four of its universities to private status in 2009…”

Democrats and Republicans should pursue these ideas during the next scheduled legislative session. Until then, both parties’ candidates would do Oregonians well to discuss these ideas through the November elections so we can see who is interested in freedom and fiscal responsibility.

Kurt T. Weber is vice president of Cascade Policy Institute, a Portland, Oregon based think tank.

© 2006, Cascade Policy Institute. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the author and Cascade Policy Institute are cited. Contact Cascade at (503) 242-0900 to arrange print or broadcast interviews on this topic. For more topics visit the QuickPoint! archive.

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