Category Archives: Whitsett

Session had mixed results

From my perspective, the legislative session that adjourned Thursday resulted in mixed outcomes. We secured significant funding for all three of the regional universities that serve District 28. Oregon Institute of Technology received more than $33 million to consolidate their Wilsonville campus and to expand their geothermal electric generation project at the Klamath Falls campus. [...]

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Will this lead to a balanced budget?

The Oregon Constitution requires the legislature to accomplish only two tasks. Our first responsibility is to hold a legislative session each year. The second duty is to balance the state budgets. This legislative session is rapidly reaching its concluding days. We have accomplished the first requirement to hold a Legislative session. Unfortunately, a number of [...]

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Water quality rules are too strict

Thursday in Pendleton, “Taps” was played for the future of Oregon’s natural resources based economy, and the private sector jobs they sustain. The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) adopted, by administrative rule, new Oregon water quality standards for human toxics that are ten times more stringent than anywhere else in the United States, or for [...]

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Working together to help seniors

This week the Ways and Means general government subcommittee restored funding to two programs sponsored by the Department of Revenue that provide rent payment assistance to low income elderly Oregonians. Both programs had previously been eliminated in Gov. Kitzhaber’s recommended budget. The combined programs provide critical funding for rent assistance payments for more than 5,000 [...]

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PERS pick-up is a $1.1 billion problem

Oregon government employers will be required to contribute an additional $1,100,000,000 to their employees’ Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) accounts during the next budget cycle. That is an additional $1.1 billion that will not be available to fund classroom studies, public safety and services for our most vulnerable citizens. $1.1 billion  is a lot of [...]

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Oregon estate tax should be eliminated

In my opinion, estate taxes are an unfair and destructive double taxation on accumulated wealth. Twenty-eight other states have no estate or inheritance tax and several other states are working toward eliminating them as well. Conversely, the Oregon estate tax is well on its way to being changed in precisely the wrong way. House Bill [...]

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These bills shouldn’t die in committee

I believe that more than 20,000 private sector family-wage jobs would be created by the passage of three bills currently stuck in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee. Neither the committee chair nor the Senate president has allowed any of these bills even the courtesy of a hearing. It appears to be their intent [...]

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Latest revenue forecast shows problem with predictions

Oregon’s May economic forecast demonstrates the breadth and the depth of the ongoing recession. Although the Oregon employment figures show a marginal improvement, the sad fact is that our state has no more private sector jobs than it did in the year 2000. Moreover, our per capita income continues to fall behind the national average [...]

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Tort reform needed to help curb medical costs

The cumulative direct and indirect costs of medical liability continue as a pervasive driver of medical care expenses in Oregon. The result is an ever increasing spiral of medical delivery costs that is driving essential medical care out of the economic reach of many Oregonians. A number of medical liability tort reform concepts have once [...]

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Three important gun-rights bills head to Senate

Both the Oregon and the U.S. Constitutions unambiguously secure the right for the people to bear arms. Section 27 of the Oregon Constitution states: “The people shall have the right to bear arms for the defense of themselves, and the State, but the Military shall be kept in strict subordination to the civil power.”  The [...]

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