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When You Put Money in Front of Politicians

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sen. Wyden says borrowing from fire prevention fund needs to end

EUGENE, Ore. – Congress is back in session in September and Senator Wyden is already pushing some new proposals for consideration.

Wyden, along with several other senators, doesn’t want to tap into the forest service budget anymore. The budget is intended for things like fire prevention efforts and forest management. But due to the limited firefighting funds, the state is forced to borrow money from this agency instead.

For the first time ever, the agency has spent more than half of its budget for the year on fire fighting…

“Prevention always gets shortchanged…

We Respond & Your Comments

Kudos to Sen. Wyden for reminding legislators that for them to take money entrusted to them for Purpose A and use it for Purpose B is a breach of trust.

With this in mind we turn to Oregon legislators’ decision to create a 401-K type retirement plan for Oregonians who don’t have one at work. And, of course, they’re glad to “manage” the money pouring in from workers’ earnings to fund it.

How long will it be before they start “borrowing” (looting?) this fund to pay for something else? Probably something to promote “fairness” or that’s “for the children”?

Just like Feds who looted the fire prevention fund for firefighting, our Salem pals will be oh-so-tempted to loot the retirement fund for their pet projects.

What happens when you put money in front of politicians and ask them not to spend it today but wait to spend it for its intended purpose? Exactly what happens when you put a pound of hamburger in front of your dog and ask him not to eat it till tomorrow.


Bugs Bunny, White Squirrels and the Gas Tax

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Just raise the gas tax

It’s the obvious choice to pay for America’s roads

The Register Guard

…National gas prices are averaging around $2.85 a gallon. There has not been a better time in recent years for Congress to take the difficult but necessary step of increasing the federal gas tax to put the nation’s Highway Trust Fund on sound long-term footing.

A growing number of federal lawmakers — mostly Democrats but with a sprinkling of Republicans — have begun calling for an increase in the federal excise tax of 18.4 cents per gallon on gas, which has not been increased since 1993. They include Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat who has proposed nearly doubling the current fuel tax…

…an increase similar to the one proposed by Blumenauer could provide a long-term extension of the trust fund…

Lawmakers should stop avoiding the obvious and raise the federal gas tax.

We Respond & our Comments

For Progressives like Rep. Blumenauer (we used to call them “Liberals”) the answer is usually simple: “Just raise the (fill in the blank) tax.” Any tax. Any time.

But we have a few questions for Rep. Blumenauer and his merry crew of taxers about how Highway Trust Fund money has been spent:

Might we have more money for highways if the Feds hadn’t blown:

  • $850 million for 2,772 “scenic beautification” landscaping projects?
  • $1.6 million for morning cartoon cruises with Bugs Bunny in Oklahoma?
  • $112,000 for a white squirrel sanctuary?
  • $84 million for road kill prevention & similar programs?
  • $313 million for “behavioral research”?
  • $16 million for transportation museums?
  • $520 million for sidewalks and bikepaths?

We could save tons of your and our dollars by foregoing projects such as those above. Or we could “Just raise the gas tax.”


Lottery Funds Show State Is Terrible Investor

Thursday, August 6, 2015

When Oregon politicians pretend to be experts on venture capital investing, it ends up costing the state millions of dollars in education money.

This is exactly what is going on with the Oregon Growth Board, a project of the Oregon Business Development Department. Tasked with generating a return on investment by financing venture capital funds in Oregon, the Board receives 10% of state lottery profits that are supposed to be apportioned to a state education endowment fund. Unfortunately for students, the Oregon Growth Account boasts a measly 1.5% return on investment over a 15-year period…

Perhaps the Oregon Growth Board would have a more reasonable ROI if they just flew to Vegas and put our education money all on red.

Cascade Policy Institute

Does That Mean They Stop Investing?

State Treasurer Ted Wheeler has shifted his position on energy investments

Wheeler…recently announced he would (1) seek to double Oregon’s investments in renewable energy

“As a fiduciary of Oregon’s $90 billion portfolio, I am responsible for choosing investments that financially benefit our taxpayers, schools, communities and retired public employees…

No – It Means They Do More of It

Oregon Legislature approves state-run retirement plan

Legislation that would create a state-sponsored retirement savings program is heading to Gov. Kate Brown for final approval.

House Bill 2960 requires businesses that don’t offer a retirement plan to automatically enroll employees in the state program and deduct a portion of their wages for it.

Statesman Journal

We Respond & Your Comments

So these guys can’t earn much more than some junk bond funds when they have buckets of lottery buck to invest.

They actually do worse on “Green Energy” investments. Think Redco, where they blew $11.8 million in tax credits. Or the Small Scale Energy Program, where they’re smoking about $20 million over 5 years.

But did these Warren Buffett wannabees learn anything? Sure – They learned they could grab 10% of your salary if your employer doesn’t offer a retirement program and “invest it.”

Will they make 1.5% on it? Probably not. Will they use it to bail out some green energy fantasy? Maybe. Will they use it to bail out PERS? Does a bear relieve himself in the woods?



The School Lunch Program With an Unappetizing Report Card

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The first lady’s project is plagued by complaints of inedible meals, wasted food and misspent funds.


Nearly five years after passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010…. is an attempt to stem childhood obesity and hunger by providing healthier school meals…

The…Act funds a number of child-nutrition programs including the National School Lunch Program, which costs $12 billion a year—plus $3 billion for breakfast programs—and serves nearly 32 million children, about 45% of the total U.S. youth population…

…an official with the USDA’s Office of Inspector General testified that the National School Lunch Program has “high rates of improper payments.” Sen. John Thune (R., S.D.) has pegged the waste in the billions of dollars…

…There has not been a significant decline in childhood obesity rates since 2010, and some data show obesity going up. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, five states had childhood obesity rates from 15%-19% in 2009. In 2013 eight states had rates that high.

We Respond & Your Comments

We’re all for feeding hungry kids. Nor do we object to paying taxes to do so.

Here’s what we do object to:

  • Walking into a room ¼ mile from our Eugene house and seeing well off teens scarfing up free hamburgers all summer because their parents are too lazy to feed them;
  • The program’s goal being changed from finding hungry kids and feeding them to advertising free eats for everybody so the local district can suck more of our money in;
  • Washington D.C. money vacuums telling us that 45% of the total U.S. youth population would go hungry if we didn’t feed them.

This is simply another government program sold to Oregonians as something “for the children” and morphing into a money pit that exists to take money we earned and spread it around to cities like Eugene to get votes in the next election.


Oregon Legislators Discover, Rush to Eradicate Emergency

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What? You missed the emergency? No, it’s not our home team – “The Salem Spendthrifts” – running out of money to tell owners how to run their businesses. It’s not even running short of your bucks to fund another “green energy” boondoggle.

No – This time it’s a shortfall of “Cyber-Excellence.” But Senator Floyd Prozanski and other Salem braniacs, ever scrounging for problems in search of expensive solutions, have sponsored House Bill 2996 A, which establishes the “Oregon Center for Cyber-Excellence.” It will, among other essential tasks, “…conduct biennial performance review[s] of investments…” Hey, Floyd – we can do that with a handheld calculator.

Prozanski and his profligate pals labeled their bill an “emergency” so that it can’t be referred to us idiot voters, who might not want to blow $2,500,654 on yet another technical money-eater. Cover Oregon 2.0, anyone?

Read About it Here:


City, alliance offering loans to arts groups that may not be eligible for traditional loans

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

– Jack Heffernan, The Register-Guard

In tandem with the nonprofit Arts and Business Alliance of Eugene, city of Eugene officials have announced they will offer loans to arts-related organizations, businesses and artists who often cannot get traditional bank loans.

Depending on factors such as project size and the amount of money the program has, loans will range from $5,000 to $50,000 each, city officials said in a statement…

We Respond & Your Comments

We love art. We have art in our homes. But we object to the City Council grabbing money we worked for and “loaning” it to their pet “artists.” Here’s why…

These groups can’t get “traditional”, or bank loans. Why? Because they’re lousy credit risks.

Would our mayor or city councilors loan their own money to strangers who’re lousy credit risks? Stupid question. But they’re itching to loan them our money. Maybe because it’s no big deal to them if they lose it.

Our City Council may fantasize that they’re the Medici clan tossing coin to Leonardo da Vinci so he can paint the next Mona Lisa. They’re not. They’re elected officials who confiscated money we earned to manage our city (think potholes). It’s time they doff their 15th century velvet Italian robes and funny hats and do the jobs we elected them to do.


Don’t let Oregon Democrats Steal your kicker

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Bulletin, Bend reprinted in the Salem Statesman Journal

State Rep. Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte, was right. He said Democrats would come after the kicker tax rebate if there was one.

And sure enough, Rep. Tobias Read, D-Beaverton, proposes that the $473 million set to be sent back to state taxpayers be diverted. He wants some of the money to go to schools and some to go to state reserves…

Legislators are always looking for more of somebody else’s money. The kicker lets taxpayers and not politicians decide how to spend their money…

FrankenTax unleashed — Hiding tax hikes inside tax credits

– Taxpayer Association of Oregon, printed in Oregon Catalyst

Liberal lawmakers are creating a dangerous and reckless FrankenTax monster. House Bill 2093, the FrankenTax bill, is a massive unconstitutional tax increase designed to cheat the public from their 3/5th voter majority protection. In 1996, voters put in the constitution protections against easy tax increases by requiring a 3/5th majority vote for all tax increases. The FrankenTax scheme aims to hide real-life tax increases inside a tax credit renewal bill and pretend it is not a tax increase. The details of the FrankenTax scheme aims to raise millions of new tax dollars by reducing your home mortgage interest deductions …

We Respond & Your Comments

Progressives are always shouting that their programs are “Settled Law.” So’s the Kicker. But we guess “settled law” just ain’t what it used to be.

The paragraphs above are examples of government trickery in attempts to subvert what actually is settled law. They aren’t the only two.

We use these examples to remind ourselves and our readers of the need to constantly monitor not just what our “leaders” are saying, but what they’re doing. People tend to act in their own self interest, and politicians are no exception.

As Thomas Jefferson said, “The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.”



Free community college? Oregon still debating the idea

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

– Taylor W. Anderson, The [Bend] Bulletin

…SALEM — Lawmakers hoping to make community college free for most students got a resounding message from the higher education community during a hearing on the matter Thursday…

Senate Bill 81 was proposed as a way to create a free college degree for low – and middle-income students. The cost to the state is estimated at around $20 million every two years, and aspects of the proposed law could bring in a rush of federal student aid to help carry the program…

Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton, has been leading the proposal since 2013. He said critics aren’t considering the likely gush of federal money that would come as a result of the proposal…

…the free tuition would deplete a [community college] budget that is still crawling back after

being cut deeply during the recession…

We Respond & Your Comments

We know – we’ve said it before. And we’re going to keep reminding our Salem brainiacs: NOTHING IS FREE. Somebody (are you listening, taxpayers?) pays for everything that man creates. The $20 million has to come from somewhere. That would be us.

It “could bring in rush/’gush’ of federal student aid?” The key word is “could.” We “could” win the lottery. Ever notice that when a state politico is trying to sell more spending he tends to suggest that Uncle Sugar’ll pick up the tab?

We all know that if you want more of something, in this case students, – subsidize it. If you want lots more, make it free. Lots more students = lots more cost to taxpayers.

Sen. Haas (Dem – Beaverton) may believe that “free” tuition is a great idea. He also knows that his “generosity” will turn into votes from students and their parents. It’s up to us to demand that we’re told the true cost of this before $20 million turns into $40 million turns into $60 million and yet another failed government program.




When Scorching $248 Million Just Isn’t Enough

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Health Care for All Oregon Act Being Considered by Legislators

– Cascade Business News

Legislators in Oregon…are considering bills that would provide every resident with comprehensive health care. In Oregon, [Democrat] Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson, chair of the Health Care Committee of the Oregon Senate, has scheduled a hearing for a bill titled the Health Care for All Oregon Act…

This bill, SB 631, outlines a plan to provide publicly funded universal health care for all Oregon residents…

Oregon’s SB 631 suggests a progressive employer payroll assessment supplemented by a progressive tax on some types of income, but in each state, the exact financing method and the amount of money to be collected are not specified

We Respond & Your Comments

“The burnt fool’s bandaged finger goes wobbling back to the fire.” So wrote poet Rudyard Kipling about our inability to learn from experience.

Can our Salem savants learn nothing from blowing $248 million on Cover Oregon, which didn’t register one Oregonian on the website?

Don’t these braniacs know that Obamacare is a train wreck gaining steam? That Obamacare families are paying outrageous deductibles for policies they neither need nor want? That liberal nirvana Vermont bailed out of the state’s “Green Mountain Care” precisely because of the unbearable taxes the plan demanded? We could go on, but you get the idea.

Wouldn’t you think Sen. Anderson and her merry band of liberals would wait to see how some “universal health care” plans under discussion in 17 other states work out?

No, they won’t. Because it’s not their money and all that matters to them is that they look like they want to do nice things. And they don’t care that the fire that burned them last time has only gotten hotter.


The Choo-Choo From Hell

Thursday, April 30, 2015

End of line for Amtrak subsidies?

Peter Wong, Portland Tribune 

One key legislator says Oregon will continue state-subsidized passenger rail service between Portland and Eugene.

But Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, also wants Amtrak to change the timing of a weekday morning southbound train that carried barely 5,000 riders in 2014.

The Legislature’s budget framework proposes just $5 million in additional state funds, half of the $10.4 million proposed by then-Gov. John Kitzhaber…

But Johnson says lawmakers will come up with enough to continue twice-daily runs in the Willamette Valley…

But Johnson also says Amtrak needs to change the start time for a weekday southbound train that leaves Portland at 6 a.m., much earlier than it did prior to 2014…

Ticket sales pay about two-thirds of Amtrak’s actual costs on the corridor.

According to Amtrak’s website, a one-way standard fare between Portland and Salem is $16… Between Portland and Seattle, the one-way fare can be as low as $34…

Amtrak service southbound from Portland was switched on Jan. 6, 2014, from 9:30 a.m to 6 a.m….

Ridership on that run for 2014 was just 5,529, compared with 45,858 for the evening southbound run…

“Frankly, we have not been particularly happy with the results,” ODOT rail planner Bob Melbo said…

We Respond & Your Comments

Amtrac strikes again…and again! Yes, those wizards who spent $16 to make a hamburger and sold it for $9.50 (guess who paid the other $6.50) are back with more “questionable” business practices. And we have a few questions for them:

  • If, over 10 years your business lost $900 million in food and beverage service alone would you still be buying burgers for $16 and selling them for $9.50?
  • If you sold tickets at a price that only covered 2/3 of the cost, wouldn’t you raise ticket prices and cut a bucketload of costs?
  • If any CEO saw that an average of only 16 passengers per day were riding his multi million south bound choo-choo from Portland would he say “Frankly, we have not been particularly happy with the results”? No – he’d scream ”Stop running this bleepin’ train. Now!” And he wouldn’t wait a year to do it, either.

But this is the government. And the lost money was yours.