Pro Life • Pro 2nd Amendment • Pro Free Markets • Pro Agriculture • Your LIBERTY First
As a legislative member of the House Interim Committee on Revenue, I heard firsthand the most recent report of glowing economic news from Oregon's state economists. Consumer spending, roughly two-thirds of the economy, remains strong, job prospects are still good and overall wages continue to climb. Because Oregon’s economy closely follows the U.S. economy, we can be thankful to Republicans at the federal level for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed at the end of 2017. While it is debatable whether the Tax Cut and Jobs Act created a one-time bump in the economy or not, what is certain is that consumer confidence and employment numbers, especially for minorities, are very good.
One of the results from this great economy is a boom in to state tax revenue — once again at record levels. An outcome from this surge in state revenue is that the kicker (a constitutionally mandated rebate to Oregon taxpayers) will be the third largest highest in state history.
Oregon's 2019 Legislative Session took a full 160 days, nearly six months, to complete its business. This was the first time since 2011 that the legislature took this long. Constitutionally the only duty of each legislature is to produce a balanced budget. That said, the legislature does far more than produce a balanced budget when it assembles — policy is a major part of its business, and 2019 was no exception.
2019 was an unusual session in that the Democrats held super majority status in both the state's House of Representatives and Senate. A super majority is noteworthy because while it only requires a simple majority threshold to pass new, or modify current policy, creating or raising taxes requires a 3/5th’s minimum vote. Moreover, with the re-election of Kate Brown as Governor, Democrats controlled the entire legislative process from creating policy to how to pay for new policy.
On the 243rd anniversary of brave men signing a document declaring 13 State’s independence from the British Empire, we, as Americans, celebrate our freedom. However, what is seldom talked about is freedom from what and freedom to do what. Unfortunately, today’s society has substituted the idea of autonomy for freedom — that freedom means we are “free to do whatever we want.” But it is a mistake to understand freedom this way, for autonomy leads to chaos, and chaos to anarchy, and anarchy to tyranny.
Real freedom, the freedom of the founders, is not autonomy, but has a sovereign and has boundaries. As mentioned above the founder’s idea of freedom had two parts: freedom from and freedom to. Freedom from is fairly obvious. The Founder’s freedom was freedom from the tyrannical style of government being dictated by King George of England. We have all heard “no taxation without representation”. Founder’s freedom makes this claim a baseline — that we consent to be governed under a new set of principles, where each citizen has adequate representation in government’s decisions. If we disapprove of that governance, then we have the right to replace those representing us. Freedom from tyranny by consenting to be governed in a particular way, with the ability to correct course upon our disapproval.