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.
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.
Happy New Year. I wish everyone a 2018 full of prosperity and happiness. As we ring in the new year Oregon’s political world begins with a bang.
Right out of the chute Oregonians will asked to decide the how best to fund Medicaid in a citizen-led ballot measure in a January special election. Just after Christmas you received an Oregon Voters Pamphlet and then right after New Years your ballot will arrive in the mail. All this effort is for a single issue that you, the voters of Oregon, get to determine. The question at hand in Measure 101 isn’t whether we fund Medicaid. Measure 101 is about how we fund Medicaid — whether we should create a new tax on some people’s health insurance policies to pay for Medicaid.
Note the word “some”. Only some people are subject to this new tax. Those people include Oregonians who pay full price for their own health insurance, including those who just bought healthcare for 2018 at Healthcare.gov; nearly 12,000 college students who buy their own health insurance as a requirement of attending an Oregon university; small employers (under 50 employees) which include businesses and non-profits; and our Oregon public school districts. Voting YES on Measure 101 will also lock into statute a provision that insurance companies are allowed to pass these taxes along to ratepayers, effectively creating a new sales tax on health insurance. Local hospitals will be hit with a .7% tax on their net revenues which will translate into higher healthcare costs for patient hospital visits.
Another Thanksgiving has come and gone, and immediately onto Christmas we trod only to soon-be eclipsed by celebrating the new year. However, before we leave this moment of Thanksgiving I would like to share a brief though or two. First, I hope you enjoyed Thanksgiving with friends and family. It is important we have those deep, rooted connections with one another. It is those strong familial ties that build strong communities; and from strong communities come strong States — and a strong nation.
Almost all emotional coaches tell us that gratitude is the attitude that allows us to be truly happy. Those who are thankful for much are usually the ones with the least worries, the ones with whom bitterness finds no home. And data shows those who are full of a thankful spirit also tend to live longer, healthier lives.
Thanks to a Facebook share by Oregon House Republican Leader Mike McLane, I just finished reading the original Thanksgiving Day proclamation given by President Abraham Lincoln form 1863. What is fascinating is that the midst of one of our nation’s darkest hours, with the country about to split into two, President Lincoln made time to declare this first proclamation of Thanksgiving for all Americans. One lesson learned from Lincoln’s action is that even in severe crisis, lasting good can be created.
Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown recently released her new budget for the next two years. In summary, her plan calls for:
- Increasing taxes on alcohol, tobacco, hospitals, insurers and some corporation owners.
- Making deep cuts to other programs and holding back money sought by social services and universities.
- Protecting funding for K-12 education.
As I said during the campaign, and I will say again, the problem with Oregon’s fiscal problems does not sit on the revenue side of the ledger. At last count the Oregon Treasury Department received record levels of revenue, yet the governor believes that increasing taxes is still an acceptable solution. We just saw Ballot Measure 97 go down in defeat. The clear message from Oregonians is they do not believe raising their taxes is the answer to Oregon’s fiscal problems.
Suppose for example, Nike reported they sold a record amount of shoes and apparel for 2016, yet the company lost $1.4 billion. Would you think they needed to sell more shoes or that they should raise their clothing prices? No. Any first year business student would point to their cost structure as being the problem. Budget cuts would be made immediately to get back to a state of sustainability.
Our country was founded on the truth of a Creator who gave humanity the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Founders then constructed a constitutional government of, by and for the people to protect those natural rights. The Founders continued with the Bill of Rights which included free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the right to bear arms and so forth. Then the 10th Amendment assigned the rest of governmental responsibilities, not expressly written in the Constitution, to two groups: State governments and the people.
51 of the 55 founders (93%) held a Christian worldview. This overwhelming super-majority believed in a higher power over government. They also believed the only fair government is one limited in size and scope, subject to the people it serves.
In Oregon this is not the case. State government cranks out thousands of new regulations each year. In addition, over the past nine years State revenue has increased 28% to record levels. Oregon’s government continues to grow and yet this is not enough.
A principle the Founders used in forming our great nation was “equality for all, special privilege for none.” King George was well known for his favoritism towards the well connected in Britain at the expense of the colonists in America. When forming a new government the Founders wanted to ensure such favoritism in government was eliminated. However, we have strayed far from this founding principle. Obamacare is a modern day example. Nearly 2,000 pages granting hierarchy of special privileges.
Another example, more close to home, is the KBRA, KHSA and other associated hydro-electric power plant (dam) removal plans. While hydro-power provides consistent (24/7/365), affordable power for everyone, the Democrat led Oregon Legislature, Obama Administration and local allies seek to change all that. Their energy policy seeks to significantly reduce hydro-power and coal-power, replacing it with green power. The end result will be a remarkable increase our electric rates. But fear not, if your use of electricity falls within a government approved special class then you will not have to pay full price like everyone else — a special privilege.
Does this Democrat energy policy follow the Founders “equality for all and special privilege for none” principle? Absolutely not. Will this new energy policy reduce Oregon’s carbon footprint? Absolutely not. Will this new energy policy enhance government power by transferring wealth from all of us to the government and government approved special groups? Absolutely.