Here’s what I’ve been thinking after watching, listening to and reading about the “business summit” today in Portland: the Oregon business community apparently STILL doesn’t get what they are up against. They worked hard to defeat M97 and rightly so, but they still think they can “make a deal” with the very same people who have actively promoted their downfall in Oregon. Did you know that many of the same businesses represented here give as much as 63% of their political contributions to Democrat legislators with the other 37% or so left for the “minority” party (Republicans)? They contribute to Portland Democrats HOPING that those same people will “save them” somehow when in fact those in the majority party are squeezing business for every dollar they can with new regulations, restrictions, fees and taxes.
One of the business leaders, Patrick Criteser of Tillamook County Creamery Association told the crowd today: “Democrats need to “slow down” their push for workplace reforms, after they passed laws over the last two years to mandate paid sick leave and raise the state’s minimum wage. Oregon businesses need time to absorb the impact of the new laws, he said, and the business plan presented Monday listed “do no harm in regulating the workplace” as a top priority.” Yet he and the other “leaders” said nothing that would push the majority party toward an agenda that is “pro business”. They very nicely “urged” cooperation.
Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson, D-Portland, said requiring companies to provide paid family leave will be a top priority in 2017. Democrats will return to Salem with a 35-25 lead in the House and a 17-13 margin in the Senate. Do business leaders in Oregon believe that they can actually make “deals” with those who would continue to chip away at their very foundations?
The clear truth is that Oregon’s majority party cannot tax their way out of this crisis. Nor can they constantly take away from those who we promised to help out, our veterans! A constitutionally mandated balancing of the state budget for the next two years cannot be achieved without cuts in some departments. We must go to zero based budgeting to require every penny of spending to be justified for the next biennium, regardless of spending in the last biennium. We must cut one level of middle management positions in most state agencies. We must reform PERS for current state employees, while continuing to fulfill contractual commitments to the Tier One retirees under the old PERS system. We must “urge” Tier One employees to consider retiring now and re-filling those positions at the newly created system of retirement and the lower wages with starting positions. If Medicaid costs are 60% of the looming budget shortfall, those cost increases must be avoided through cutbacks, reforms, and reevaluations of what Oregon can afford not what we “dream” we can afford. We must go back to revenue that can be generated from more active and reasonable management of Oregon’s timber and natural resources. Oregon’s resources have been mismanaged and allowed to be cut from our revenue stream by activist judges who side with environmental lawsuits that don’t help the people of Oregon. Sen. Peter Courtney implored the business community to “make that call” to Democrat leadership and find a way out of the “shortfall”.
How about Governor Brown, Speaker Kotek, Majority Leader Williamson and Senator Courtney make the first phone calls? Oregonians and Republicans are waiting by their phones. We/you just might have the answers…. (READ ARTICLE HERE)
On a related note: I stopped into my office at the Capitol today to answer some phone calls, pick up mail and then start picking some things up to get ready to move across the hall later this month. I found the “Governor’s Budget” on my desk. It was 2 LARGE paperback books and one small one. Thousands of pages. I was one of hundreds of recipients (heck just count the 90 legislators who received the package alone!). Now the WHOLE thing is available online at the click of a mouse or your fingertips. THIS is MORE of why government drives me nuts! How much did that cost the taxpayers and WHY was it necessary? I don’t care if the governor is a Democrat or a Republican or an aardvark….THAT is a waste of time, money and energy that we cannot afford right now! Before I say “yes” to ANY budget…. I want things like this checked into!
Lastly on a related note again:
Another thought on the Governor’s proposed budget and it comes from one of my former listeners and a contributor to our “Veteran’s Day Show” every year. He wrote my office this morning and I thought you should see it:
Dear Representative Post,
As a retired US Army Veteran with 41 years of honorable service from 1962-2003, and now a concerned Oregonian, I was alarmed to learn that Governor Brown has proposed to gut Veterans Services less than a month after I voted to supplement them. With all due respect, I support caring for Oregon’s Veterans and Veteran Families more than Governor Brown does, and I promise you I will vote next election based upon who stood by our Veterans during this session. I know you will do the “right thing” and stand with Oregon’s Veterans, along with every thankful Oregonian, for their paid-in-full sacrifices for our freedom and liberty, on this very critical issue.
Vern C. Wigley
CSM, USA, (Ret.)
Now I am with him 1000% and he knows it, he’s just doing his job by writing his legislators. Are you? We MUST support our veterans at whatever the cost!
Folks, elections have consequences…hold the Majority Party accountable, make those calls and send those emails!