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Oregon House passes 10-year fracking ban

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tracy Loew, Statesman Journal

The Oregon House has passed a 10-year ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking…

…The process releases natural gas from coal seams.

Supporters say the state does not have sufficient regulations in place to ensure the environment is protected from the practice…

[According to Democrat sponsor Ken Helm] “If this industry comes to the state, we ought to be prepared with adequate rules to regulate the practice so it doesn’t contaminate groundwater”…

Industry officials say the practice has been used for more than 60 years and is safe…

The current version does not include any requirement for state agencies to undertake writing rules for fracking wells, but that still could happen, Helm said…

We Respond & Your Comments

We’re with ya all the way, Ken Baby. Why would we want Oregonians to benefit from a practice that’s saved natural gas consumers $200 a year between 2007 and 2013?

But why not tell the truth, Ken? You don’t want a 10 year ban. You want an eternal ban. That’s why your bill doesn’t ban fracking “until its environmental safety has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

That’s why you didn’t include writing rules to ensure environmental safety.

Fess up, Kenny – you don’t want fracking any time, any place. And if your natural gas buying constituents in Beaverton have to cough up an extra $200 a year? Well, that’s just their sacrifice for your pet hobbyhorse, isn’t it?


Bogus statistics undercut city program to help Portland renters

Thursday, May 4, 2017

It started with make-believe numbers.

The Portland Housing Bureau wanted city money to clean up code violations at low-income apartments east of 82nd Avenue.

It sounded like a worthy idea, but bureau officials wildly inflated how many apartment buildings would be eligible. They claimed 400 properties in east Portland had been flagged for urgent repairs when the actual number at the time was 19…

What appeared to be a bargain – paying landlords for repairs if they agreed to keep rents low – got caught up in a case of sloppy budgeting…

City housing officials deny misleading anyone…but they could produce no documentation to prove their assertions…They requested $1.5 million in the upcoming 2017-18 budget to continue the program….

Meanwhile, almost all the 19 landlords facing citations when officials first pitched the program have since made repairs without a subsidy…

We Respond & Your Comments

Here’s a paradigm for how government bureaucracies work:

  • Start with a program that sounds good because it helps “The Little guy”;
  • Get a whole bunch of money;
  • Hold on to it even though the problem is solving itself;
  • Ask for more money next year.

Why does this work? Because it’s not their money they’re spending. And if they run out of it they’ll just force peasant taxpayers to cough up more.


Democrats face business opposition to family leave bill

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Written by Paris Achen, Portland Tribune 

…SALEM — A bill to require 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave would bring Oregon up to the living standards of most other developed nations but represents another financial setback to the state’s business community, said speakers at a hearing…

While many businesses support and offer family and medical leave, the bill is overreaching, said Betsy Earls of Associated Oregon Industries…

The legislation “creates conditions that would make it costly and difficult for businesses — especially small ones — to plan and manage their operations,” Earls said.

The bill, sponsored by four House Democrats, would require a mandatory ½ percent deduction from employees’ pay. Employers would be required to contribute an equal amount. The money would go to a paid leave insurance program administered by the Oregon Department of Business and Consumer Services…

We Respond & Your Comments

First it was mandatory unpaid family leave. Now it’s 12 weeks of paid leave. And 18 weeks at 90% of salary for a new baby. Next it will be 18 weeks for all because it’s just not fair that someone caring for a sick mother should get less than someone with a baby.

Then it’ll be 100% of pay for parents of newborns because babies are expensive and it’s just not fair to burden them with a pay cut.

Then 100% of salary for anyone on family leave because it’s not fair….you get the point.

Here’s the takeaway: Liberals never stop with the last demand, which was only a platform for launching the next one.

A famous ‘60s Hippy radical reportedly screeched, “When they meet our demands we’ll just make 12 more. And when they meet those – another 12.”

Folks, that’s Liberalism. The solution? Fight their first demands.


Tax based on exorbitant CEO pay makes sense

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

By Steve Novick

For The Register-Guard

Over the past 40 years, economic inequality in the United States has skyrocketed. The richest 1 percent now receives about 20 percent of total national income, up from 10 percent in the 1970s. Most of the increase has actually gone to the super-rich, the top one-tenth of 1 percent…

One of the most dramatic examples of galloping inequality is exploding CEO pay. In the 1960s, the typical CEO of a large corporation made about 20 times what the median worker at that company made. Now, CEOs routinely make hundreds of times what the median worker makes…

In 2014, two members of the California Senate came up with an innovative idea: Apply a higher corporate tax rate to corporations with extreme ratios of CEO pay to typical worker pay…

As a member of the Portland City Council, I read about that idea and thought it was brilliant…

We Respond & Your Comments

Steve – We truly feel you feeling “The Little Guy’s” pain. And we’ll take you seriously when you start whining about:

  • George Clooney and other liberal actors making gazillions more than “The Little Guy” schlepping cables on their movie sets;
  • Barbra Streisand and other ageing pop stars earning tons more than “The Little Guys” adjusting their microphones;
  • Whoopi Goldberg and other liberal TV celebs taking home buckets more than the “The Little Guy” mopping the floor of her set.

Just one more thing, Steve – What is it that you so dislike about CEOs? Is it that they actually produce something? That they create jobs for “The Little Guy”? Think about it.


The Effect of Mandatory Sick Leave Policies…

Thursday, January 12, 2017
  • Maxford Nelson, Labor Policy Analyst, The Freedom Foundation

Mandatory paid sick leave laws are employment benefit regulations that require employers to provide certain amounts of paid sick leave to employees…

Since San Francisco’s implementation of a citywide paid sick leave law.., at least seven cities and the state of Connecticut have adopted similar laws… Proponents of mandatory paid sick leave laws argue that…employees will no longer have to choose between going to work sick and foregoing pay, public health will improve by keeping sick workers from spreading illness at work, and businesses will profit from healthier employees and lower turnover…

This paper is the first to undertake a comprehensive review…of the most significant… studies of mandatory paid sick leave policies. Several important conclusions…emerge from this analysis:

  • Workplace illness does not appear to be a widespread problem…
  • Most firms voluntarily offer paid sick leave benefits without being required to do so by law…
  • Studies tend to exaggerate employer support for mandatory paid sick leave laws…
  • Consumers, workers and employers are all negatively affected by mandatory paid sick leave policies…
  • Mandatory paid sick leave laws do nothing to reduce turnover…

We Respond & Your Comments

Surprise! Paid sick leave laws, ginned up by “compassionate” politicians to dredge up votes, are like most “Progressive” policies (e.g. minimum wage increases). They:

  • Sound good
  • Don’t work
  • Are expensive
  • Hurt the people they were supposed to help.

We encourage you to click on the link here and read the short “Executive Summary,” where you’ll see even more reasons why mandatory paid sick leave laws accomplish nothing but scoring votes for Progressives.


Cascade Report Finds Long-Term Negative Impacts on Youth from Oregon’s New Minimum Wage Policy

Thursday, December 29, 2016

By Cascade Policy Institute

Cascade Policy Institute released a report today that has foreboding implications for young people in our state. The report was commissioned after passage of SB 1532 earlier this year, which phases in large increases in Oregon’s minimum wage…

[The report] analyzes… impacts of minimum wage regulation. It focuses on youth aged 16 to 24 because they are most likely to be affected by minimum wage increases as new entrants into the labor force…

“This report confirms ominous long-term negative consequences of minimum wage increases…” said Steve Buckstein, Cascade’s founder and Senior Policy Analyst.

Key findings..: 

  • Increases in the minimum wage significantly depress youth employment and labor force participation…
  • Collectively for all youth, what wage increases occur are more than offset by condemnation of a large share of youth to a zero wage; namely, to unemployment…
  • Even a one-time increase in the minimum wage persistently continues to depress the share of youth who are employed…

We Respond & Your Comments

Why is it so hard for “Progressives” to understand that:

  • When you increase the cost of anything (e.g. labor) you decrease demand;
  • When you force employers to pay inexperienced kids what they pay experienced adults, adults get the jobs;
  • A job at low wages is better than no job.

How is it “Progressive” to do something that hurts the kids you say you love?


Take The CEO Pay Fight Local

Thursday, December 1, 2016

By Sarah Anderson, Contributor,

Public outrage over sky-high CEO pay runs across the political spectrum…

Frustrated with Washington inaction, some activists are taking the CEO pay fight local…

These efforts are most advanced in Portland, Oregon, where the city council is holding a hearing on Oct. 26 to consider what would be the nation’s first-ever surtax on corporations with wide gaps between their CEO and worker pay. Firms that do business in Portland would owe a 10 percent surtax on the city’s existing business tax if they pay their CEOs more than 100 times what their workers receive [i.e. their workforce median wage]…

We Respond & Your Comments

We’ll skip over the fact that it’s none of Portland city councilors’ business who pays what to whom. This is just another example of bumbling busybody bureaucrats distorting another market.

But we do want to make two points:

  • What incentives are these numbskulls, who can’t even keep Portland sidewalks clear of seemingly comatose bodies, creating? First – they’re incenting companies not to locate in Portland. How brilliant is that? Second, they’re incenting companies to get rid of lower income workers in order to raise their median wage number. That’ll really help “the little guy” their hearts bleed for.
  • Why do we never hear these income inequality crusaders bleat about progressives like Meryl Streep snagging $825,000 per TV episode or Robert De Nero pulling down $750,000 per show?

Liberal income inequality outrage seems highly selective and limited to CEO’s – who actually create something.


Oregon Promise: About 6,000 students are attending college so far

Thursday, November 17, 2016

By Andrew Theen | The Oregonian/OregonLive 

One month into fall term, about 6,000 students across the state are taking community college classes through the Oregon Promise...

That headcount is right about what state officials anticipated for the first-year program, which helps defer tuition costs for eligible high school seniors who chose to attend community college…

As Oregon Promise students gear up for first year, some learn attendance isn’t free

..State lawmakers allocated $10 million for the program in 2015, enough to cover the cost of the program for the 2016-17 school year…

The program isn’t guaranteed to continue in perpetuity.  The higher education commission is asking for $34 million in the upcoming biennium…

We Respond & Your Comments

We’re not advocating for or against this program for “free community college.” But we do want to make a few points we hope readers will remember when they hear about new government programs:

  • Nothing is “Free” – Somebody pays for everything;
  • Spending always rises – Oregon Promise costs $10 million this year; for the next 2 years they want $34 million;
  • Look for perverse incentives – Here the incentive is to show less income. Google “lower your income to get college aid.” You’ll find loads of websites about how to do it. Some parents will find legal loopholes; some will under report income; some will work less to get more aid for their kids.

Decide for yourself whether this and other taxpayer funded programs are good or bad. But filter your thoughts through the advice above.


Hungry startup uses robots to grab slice of pizza market

Thursday, November 3, 2016

By Terence Chea

The Associated Press, reprinted in The Register Guard

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Did robots help make your pizza?

If you ordered it from Silicon Valley’s Zume Pizza, the answer is yes…

Zume is one of a growing number of food-tech firms seeking to disrupt the restaurant industry with software and robots…

Inside its commercial kitchen in Mountain View, pizza dough travels down a conveyer belt where machines add the sauce, spread it and later carefully slide the uncooked pies into an 800-degree oven.

The startup will soon add robots to prep the dough, add cheese and toppings, take pizzas out of the oven, cut them into slices and box them for delivery…

In Silicon Valley and beyond, tech startups are building robots to help reduce labor costs, speed production and improve safety in the restaurant industry.

San Francisco-based Momentum Machines is building robots to make gourmet hamburgers, and BistroBot, another San Francisco startup, has designed a machine that makes sandwiches while customers watch…

We Respond & Your Comments

We at Lane Solutions have predicted this for years. Economist Dr. Eric Fruits (see Debunking Oregon’s glowing job growth” above) warned us that excessive regulation would “choke off jobs.” Now, in this report from Mountain View, we see living proof of the inevitable results of these minimum wage hikes, mandated sick pay and other job-killing “feel good” policies.

Fortunately, Zume Pizza was able to move displaced employees into other jobs. But reality persists: these robots are performing functions that could have been performed by new hires.

So let’s use our ballots to tell our wannabe Warren Buffets in Salem, who think they know how businesses should be run, that robots are soon coming to pizza parlors near them.


Debunking Oregon’s glowing job growth

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Dr. Eric Fruits
Oregon Economist

For much of the past year, economists employed by the State of Oregon have described the state’s employment growth as running at “full throttle.”…

The dictionary, however, says that to throttle means to choke.

More recently, Oregon employment is showing signs of choking. At 5.4 percent, the state’s unemployment is the 15th highest in the U.S. and one-half of a percentage point higher than the national unemployment rate….

Much of the doom, however, is self-imposed by Oregon policies that choke off job opportunities.

In July, Oregon began its march toward steep increases in the state’s minimum wage. The state forecasts 40,000 fewer jobs by 2025 because of the wage hike.

On top of that, Oregon voters will decide whether to pass Measure 97, a $3 billion tax on sales in the state. The state’s Legislative Revenue Office predicts that 38,400 private sector jobs will disappear if the measure passes…

Then, on top of that, Oregon legislators are promising to pass laws making it more difficult for employers to schedule their workers’ shifts…

We Respond & Your Comments

The only thing we’d add is a suggestion that you print this out, put it in your wallet/purse and read it again right before you vote.