GOP: The Bigger Government Party


Republicans in Oregon and elsewhere are in danger of losing votes, and elections, due to their hypocrisy about smaller government and lower taxes. Gubernatorial candidate Kevin Mannix is exemplar. He’s deservedly catching flak for being an advocate of higher state spending in the next biennium.

Political satirist P.J. O’Rourke notes, “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” For the past four legislative sessions, teenage Republicans have controlled Oregon’s House and Senate and the state budget has grown steadily. As Oregon Senate Majority Leader Gene Derfler often remarks, if you send us the money, we’ll spend it-whether we’re Republican or Democrat.

A similar lack of GOP truth-in-advertising exists in other states. At a recent conference in Florida, Governor Jeb Bush praised tourists for being the reason the Sunshine State has no income tax. Upon review of my hotel bill, this conference attendee discovered a $23 per night room tax. Republican Bush’s proud statement was about fiscal sleight-of-hand-taxing tourists-not fiscal prudence.

Fortunately, one who walks the small is beautiful talk is New Mexico’s Republican Governor Gary Johnson. With Democrats in control of New Mexico’s house and senate throughout his two terms, Johnson has kept government in check, wielding 750 vetoes in the process. There has not been a single tax increase. His state has a balanced budget. That’s the kind of leadership Oregon needs.

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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