Proponents of Measure 97 have consistently claimed that if the measure passes, it will generate an additional $3 billion annually for public education and other social services. Judging from the comments I’ve read in various Oregon newspapers, many people are falling for this argument.
Apparently none of the letter writers have ever watched a legislative appropriations hearing. These are the meetings where a tiny group of senior politicians sit in a back room and decide how to spend billions of dollars. I’ve watched hundreds of such hearings, and the most predictable outcome is that politicians will spend money in front of them on whatever they want.
Let’s just take a simple example. Oregon was one of 44 states that sued the tobacco industry in the mid-1990s to recover the health care costs associated with smoking. Plaintiffs claimed that the tobacco industry had long been imposing uncompensated costs on states in the form of health care for smokers who became sick from use of the product.
The suit was settled through adoption of a Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) with the four largest tobacco manufacturers. As part of the agreement, each state was to receive payments every year from 1998 through 2025. Continue reading
The New York Times alleges (from Renew America.com 10/3/2016) that “Donald Trump may have legally avoided paying federal income taxes for as long as 18 years because of a $916 million loss he declared on his 1995 tax returns from his failed business dealings… .”
What can we assume from this allegation? We can assume that Trump filed income tax returns for every year from 1995 to the present. We can assume that IRS agents scrutinized his returns. We can assume that the IRS found that Trump’s claimed losses declared on his 1995 returns were legitimate. And we can assume that by the laws of the IRS it was perfectly legal how Trump’s losses were determined, and how Trump’s accountants met all the legal requirements.
Finally, then! We can assume that Trump is not guilty of any illegalities subtly implied by the New York Times…and that the Times innuendo is entirely politically motivated.
So, what else is news. An analogy: Black Bears make a mess by invading the garbage cans in camping sites. The why of this is very simple. Black Bears do what it is natural for them to do. Juxtaposing this analogy to the New York Times, the Times is only doing what the Times does naturally. Continue reading
For a number of years, I have tried to provide our politicians or would-be politicians with solid scientific information on the climate controversy to enable them to talk about the science of climate intelligently. A few are already well-informed, like Republican State Senator Doug Whitsett, a veterinarian from Southern Oregon. Others are receptive and generally aware that the paradigm of rising atmospheric CO2 driving rapidly rising temperatures is false and being greatly misused for corrupt politics. Those who will listen are almost entirely Republicans. Democrats want nothing to do with credentialed scientists whom they call “deniers” and “flat-earthers.” Portland Commissioner Nick Fish, a Democrat, looked at me like I had some sort of disease that he might catch if he continued to talk with me after a city council meeting. His demeanor was hilarious. Continue reading
As Clackamas County Chair, I have grown increasingly disappointed with other regional government leaders prioritizing billions in light rail mass transit over fixing the traffic congestion problems that our county residents are so frustrated with. Worsening traffic congestion affects not only Clackamas County’s businesses but our residents who commute in and out of the county every day. We can no longer ignore this problem.
Clackamas County’s own 5.9 mile portion of Interstate 205 is a choke point for the region, as well as an intrastate and interstate concern. It has been declared by the Federal government to be a “High Priority Corridor,” but solutions have yet to be funded.
There are three major, regional traffic choke points that have been identified: I-205, Hwy 217, and the I-5/I-84 Rose Quarter. The preliminary estimate to fix all three of these bottlenecks is approximately $1.4 Billion. Keep this figure in mind while I tell you about Trimet’s plan for the Southwest Corridor. Continue reading
Dear NW Connection Readers,
Our team over here in Tigard have quite a battle on our hands.
“TriMet GM Neil McFarlane said regional transportation planners will stop working on the project if Tigard voters reject it in their city.”
Our hope is that more people will recognize the significance and opportunity with the Tigard vote.
This Tigard vote can stop a $3 billion boondoggle and also strike a fatal blow to the ruinous agenda that has caused our housing crisis and worsening congestion.
Clear back in 1997 a network of light rail with high density development was adopted as the regional response to SB 100 and the Urban Growth Boundary that has artificially constrained our land supply. Continue reading
Yesterday, I was asked who I was voting for, and when I replied “Trump” he said, “really?” “Really,” I replied. “Why,” he asked, “do you really think Trump can be a good president?”
Here, word for word is my answer:
Yes, I believe he will make a great President. For starters, he is a self-made man and does not have to prove his success in the private sector. He’s very smart (savvy) and did not get where he is without listening to and observing men already successful in their fields. I believe him to be sincerely sensitive to those less fortunate American citizens. Continue reading
Time and again we hear stories about Veterans that are not receiving the benefits that are rightfully theirs. As the general public is made aware of these people and their needs, there is always the question; What can I do?
Measure 96 presents every voting Oregonian the opportunity to help the Veterans and the Veterans Organizations that serve them.
What can I do? Vote YES on Measure 96. Continue reading
Based on the rhetoric surrounding her historic candidacy in 2008 and, in more recent months, leading up to the 2016 campaign, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Hillary Clinton was the first woman ever to run for the nation’s highest office. Far from it.
Few know, though, the name of the woman who challenged the highest glass ceiling. That honor belongs to a colorful and convention-defying woman named Victoria Woodhull, a spiritualist, activist, politician, and author, who ran for the office in 1872, 136 years before Clinton made her first run in 2008. Continue reading
Once again, Portland led the nation this July with its home prices rising 12.4 percent year-over-year versus the national average of just 5.0 percent. As of April, Portland remained the 12th most expensive rental market in the nation. These numbers are not unrelated. Housing prices are often related to what units can be built for, whether they are single-family homes or multifamily apartment houses.
Whatever the causes of rising rents in Portland and elsewhere, the political fix bubbling to the surface not only won’t help most people afford housing, it likely will make the situation worse. That political fix goes by the name of rent control.
Last year, Willamette Week published an informative and entertaining piece entitled “The Five Myths About Portland Apartments.” In response to Myth 3, which is that rent control is the answer, Jerry Johnson of Portland real-estate consulting firm Johnson Economics noted:
“Rent control is an Econ 101-level policy disaster. If you happen to get one of the rent-controlled units, good for you. But it’s basically a lottery of who wins and who loses.” Continue reading
In accordance with House Bill 2941, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is making recommendations to the Oregon State Legislature to ensure Oregon’s solar energy incentives are equitable, efficient, and effective.
One recommendation is to modify the compensation method for solar energy, net metering. Under net metering, solar owners consume energy their panels produce. When energy produced is insufficient, solar owners purchase additional energy from traditional sources. When excess energy is produced, solar owners sell energy. Solar owners are compensated at above-market rates and are exempt from paying their portion of incurred costs. Such costs include operation and maintenance of the grid and “spinning reserves,” the alternative power source utility companies run continuously in case solar produces less energy than projected. The state’s incentive structure shifts costs from solar owners to non-solar ratepayers. As the number of solar owners increases, ratepayers bear higher costs. The PUC is recommending these costs instead be shifted to taxpayers. While the PUC proposal’s efforts to alleviate inequity are commendable, their proposed recommendations still constrain Oregonians. Continue reading