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by Todd Wynn
The Tax Dollar Addiction
Drug addiction is tough to deal with, both for the addict and for his or her friends and family. Those around drug addicts lend or give them money and often are surprised when they use it to buy more drugs. It is important for those who care for an addict to show support, yet not enable him to make more bad decisions. This is how we need to treat our legislators.
Many Oregon legislators are addicted. No, the addiction isn’t crack, meth or heroin; it is taxpayers’ hard-earned money.
Every time the Oregon legislature decides to grow government by increasing spending, it milks the taxpayers just a little more. This is exactly what happened when voters approved Measures 66 and 67, raising taxes on corporations and higher-income individuals. Measures 66 and 67 enabled legislators to continue their addictive habits.
Unfortunately, another supposed revenue shortfall totaling $577 million is on the horizon. Bad decisions of the past have not been resolved, and more are being made. PERS, OPEB and other unfunded liabilities continue to grow. All the while, legislators and government agencies froth at the mouth with the lust for more taxpayer dollars.
Unless we limit and reform government to make fiscally responsible decisions, we will all pay for the addicts’ bad decisions for generations to come.
Todd Wynn is Vice President at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.