Lower spending will balance the budget

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

Oregonians will soon vote on the legislature’s $1 billion tax package. Because this added revenue will translate into more government spending, it makes sense to see just how Oregon compares to other states in the spending arena.

According to the latest data available, in 2000 Oregon state and local governments combined spent more money per capita than all but six other states.

From 1992 to 2000, Oregon state and local government per person spending rose faster than all but one other state.

If this spending had just risen with inflation, in 2000 it would have been $5 billion lower than it actually was. That’s billion with a “b”.

Oregonians could do wonders with an extra $5 billion a year in their pockets. Think about how good that would be for the economy, job creation, and our charitable abilities to help those in need.

Government saving that $5 billion per year would more than offset the $1 billion three-year tax increase Salem is asking from us now. In other words, rather than facing a tax increase, we could lower taxes and still meet all legitimate government needs.

The best way to keep more money in Oregonian’s pockets may be through a strict tax and expenditure limitation, as discussed in Cascade’s latest report, Halfway There: Measure 5 and the Road Ahead. With a limitation, even the thought of more taxes may become unthinkable.

Steve Buckstein is senior policy analyst at 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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