Tuesday, March 13, 2007

There they go again - Stealing the Kicker

On Thursday, March 8, 2007, I voted nay on HB 2707, the “It’s OK to Steal From a Company in your Neighborhood if it’s Deposited in A Rainy Day Fund” bill.

Oregon’s individual taxpayers and corporate taxpayers have both overpaid their taxes and are each due a constitutionally guaranteed rebate on those overpaid taxes; unless, of course, the legislature declares an “emergency” and diverts these rebates to bolster state government coffers. With over $2 billion in additional revenue this biennium, how can the legislature justify declaring a budget emergency?

During floor debate I said that I support having a rainy day fund. However, I cannot justify stealing nearly $300 million of overpaid taxes from Oregon businesses in order to achieve it. The end simply does not justify the means.

This Legislative Session, we have and additional $2 billion, or 20% more to spend than we did last Session. Yet we say we don’t have quite enough, plan to spend it all, and then take money from the very people who help our economy—businesses; businesses who build infrastructure, create jobs, invest in our communities, and PAY their taxes. They wouldn’t be eligible for a kicker if they had not paid taxes. The business community played a very large part in the 20% increase in state revenue we are now enjoying, and we show our appreciation by punishing them? The individual Oregon taxpayer should worry they could be next.

While the legislature sits on the largest pile of money the state has ever had, why don’t we as legislators take a portion of that money and set it aside IN THE 2007-09 budget for a rainy day fund? Part of HB 2707 requires up to 1% of the ending fund balance to be contributed to this new fund so obviously the supporters of HB 2707 recognize this option has merit.

Rather, we plan to spend every bit of that largesse on new or expanded programs, declare an “emergency”, and remove more than a quarter of a billion dollars from the economy; all to set up a bail-out in the future because of today’s unsustainable spending appetite.

Most Oregon families who save, take a part of their regular earnings and set some aside in case of an emergency. The Legislature should do the same. However, the message the House of Representatives sent to Oregonians on March 8, 2007 is that people don’t have to forego their wants in order to save; but are told instead that it’s OK to steal from others as long as it’s put in a savings account for a rainy day. But, wait, that would land the regular Oregonian in prison, wouldn’t it?

I urge the Oregon State Senate to look at this critical issue and very carefully consider what this bill does, and make appropriate changes. If the bill comes back to the House of Representatives without stealing money from our businesses and without raising taxes I will be more likely to lend my support.


Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Oregon Legislature Overstepping Its Job - Now Involved In Foreign Relations (IRAQ)

First it was going against the Oregon Constitution by creating annual sessions, now it thinks that it has the job of dictating foreign policy in Iraq. Listen to the following interview I gave Monday (March 5th) on the Lars Larson NW Show.