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.
There are five statewide ballot measures this November. I have been asked several times how I will be voting on these, so below is a description of each ballot measure and my quick analysis to help clarify what a yes or no vote means.
Ballot Measure 102 - Amends Constitution: Allows local bonds for financing affordable housing with non-governmental entities. Requires voter approval, annual audits. Measure 102 is an attempt by government to solve a problem in the housing market. While Measure 102 will not allow governments to build new housing, government will be front and center in collecting new taxes (with local voter approval) and managing these housing projects through non-profit organizations. This is a very new concept and also one that is ripe for corruption — remember government will be the collection arm, manager and distributor of these new tax dollars. I believe if the State would loosen its land use laws and local governments would stop using the permitting and inspection process as profit-centers, the private market will solve the housing problem in Oregon in a much faster and efficient way. For those very reasons I am voting NO on Measure 102.
Ballot Measure 103 - Amends Constitution: Prohibits taxes/fees based on transactions for "groceries" (defined) enacted or amended after September 2017. The opponents of this measure claim it will create a tax loophole for large corporations. This argument is disingenuous because groceries are not taxed today, so how do you create a tax loophole by prohibiting taxation on something that is not taxed? The reason the boo-birds are wanting you to vote No on Measure 103 is because they want the ability to tax groceries and grocers at some point in the future. Measure 103 will constitutionally block such an effort. Therefore I am voting YES on Measure 103 to stop Oregon's government from ever taxing groceries without voter approval.
It has been an honor to serve as your State Representative in the Oregon House of Representatives for the past two years. My goal is to give southern Klamath & Lake Counties a strong voice in Salem and to promote rural Oregon values.
I am pro-life, pro-liberty, pro-second amendment, pro-small business, pro-hydropower and pro-agriculture. I have been nominated to represent the Republican Party of Oregon, the Independent Party of Oregon and the Oregon Libertarian Party for the general election in November.
These are not merely words but are backed up by the fact that I am the only candidate in my race to have received numerous endorsements from associations such as Oregon Right To Life, the NRA, Oregon Farm Bureau, Oregon Home Builders Association, Oregon Chiefs of Police, Oregon Sheriffs Association, the Taxpayers Association of Oregon and the Nation Federation of Independent Businesses.
You probably have been told about the wonderful things that could happen in Klamath Falls if the people would vote to “lift the ban” on the recreational retail sale of marijuana. At first blush, the idea may actually sound good — expanding liberty (letting people choose for themselves) and adding revenue to our budget-strapped schools and law enforcement. However, retail marijuana is a short-term band-aid to address serious budgeting issues.
Before lifting this ban, be sure to understand all the facts, costs and consequences.
July 5, 2018
To: Chris Stein, Hydroelectric Specialist
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
165 E Seventh Avenue Eugene, OR 97401
I stand in firm opposition to dam removal along the Klamath River. For multiple generations these dams have provided exemplary flood control, and abundance of clean, renewable, reliable and affordable power for the region, in addition to recreational enjoyment. I understand DEQ is only asking for comment on the JC Boyle Dam which sits within Oregon’s borders, however, the proposal is to remove four dams along the Klamath River. Discussing removal of one dam outside the scope of the entire project leads to false assumptions and incorrect conclusions about the overall impact to the environment and Oregonians.
The Governor has called a special session of the Oregon legislature for the week of May 21st. According to the Governor, the purpose of this special session is to pass one bill which will address an “obvious inequity in Oregon’s tax system”. With the changes to the Federal Tax code passed by President Trump in 2018, Oregon’s state taxes automatically connect to Trump's new deduction. However, in February, State Democrats led the charge to reject those automatic tax breaks for Oregon’s small businesses and to keep Oregon's previous state tax code.
The difference for Oregon’s small businesses, between the State accepting the code from the Trump tax plan and remaining with Oregon’s previous tax code, is over $1 billion during the next five years. A $1 billion cash flow infusion that was intended for the pockets of Oregon’s entrepreneurs and Etsy moms will now go to the State of Oregon, which already collects a record amount of revenue. Salem’s tax and spend politicians are elated.
The Governor’s call for a special session will only grant approximately 12,000 of Oregon’s 260,000 smallest businesses a tax break. Sole proprietors with at least 1 full time employee will see a reduction in rates. That’s it.
The tragic deaths of 17 students at a Parkland, Florida high school is a grim reality we must all face. Besides the obvious tragedy, once again this mass-shooting brings up political rhetoric claiming guns are bad, therefore guns should be banned. The idea of keeping children safe while at school is one in which all Americans can agree. However, banning guns from law abiding citizens runs contrary to a foundational principle that as Americans we have a natural right to protect ourselves — in other words, the right to bear arms.
A month later after the Parkland shooting, #MarchForOurLives protests took place in several cities across the United States. Organized and funded by Left-wing groups, students took to the streets in anger against our current gun laws, including the Second Amendment.
The following is the speech I gave on the Floor of the House of Representatives on March 2, 2018 to stand up for small businesses in Oregon.
SB 1528 effectively eliminates the tax benefits from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Bill passed in Congress. SB takes those dollars intended to boost small business and slurps them up into the State Treasury. As long as liberal Democrats run this state, there will never be enough of your money in their pockets.