This is the 35-day session that was meant to be used to make budget adjustments, bring Oregon statutes into line with new federal laws, or fix mistakes in legislation that passed in the odd-year session.
That is at least what proponents promised a few years ago when they asked Oregonians to amend the Constitution to allow annual sessions. Sadly, what we have now is another broken promise by Salem’s career politicians. Governor Kate Brown and the Democratic leadership are determined to use the 35-day session to pass all manner of substantive—and controversial—bills that will impact Oregon for years to come.
WHAT THE LEGISLATURE WILL BE DOING:
Not what they promised. The Democratic priority bills will not help Oregon get back on the right track. The Democrats’ substantive proposals are mired in controversy. Governor Brown and the Democratic leadership are determined to push through a big increase in the minimum wage that will raise prices for those on fixed incomes and result in lost jobs for those who need them most. An expansion of the earned income tax credit would have provided tailored help for low-income wage earners most in need, but that would be too sensible. There will also be a push for bills (a cap and trade bill and approval of a backroom deal between big utilities and environmentalists) that will boost energy costs for working Oregonians and make Oregon a less friendly place to do business.
True, there will be legislation to increase budgets at the Department of Human Services and the Oregon Health Authority. That’s the result of Governor Brown’s failure to rein in costs.
WHAT THE LEGISLATURE WON’T BE DOING:
Important things. There won’t be a transportation package to deal with traffic gridlock. Brown derailed that in the long session by signing a low-carbon fuel bill that will add almost 20 cents to a dollar to what Oregonians will pay for a gallon of gasoline. There won’t be PERS reform legislation to deal with the billion-dollar budget tsunami that will soon cause school districts and government agencies to cut services across Oregon.
WHO CAN HELP?
Dr. Bud Pierce. Candidate Bud Pierce has a 2016 agenda that will put Oregon back on the right track. He has the experience and will to do the job and won’t be controlled by special interest. Yes, it includes fixing PERS once and for all and a transportation package to help commuting Oregonians and more:
- Tax cuts for low and middle-income Oregonians,
- Tax relief for working Oregonians paying off college debt, and
- An end to politicians controlled by special interest and tax breaks for the well-connected.