The 2016 Session That Never Was…
The 2016 Legislature has adjourned. Democrats are hailing their so-called legislative achievements, and Republicans are condemning the Democratic hyper-partisanship that produced these so-called achievements.
It’s worth recalling that, just a few years ago, these short, even-year sessions were sold to Oregon voters as sessions to make minor budget adjustments and take up true emergency measures. What we’ve seen instead is Democrats jamming through—and Democratic governors signing—major pieces of legislation that will, for better or worse, transform Oregon.
The Energy Deal is No Deal for Oregon Citizens
This session’s worst offense was Gov. Kate Brown and the Legislature’s rubberstamping of the energy deal negotiated behind closed doors between Oregon’s investor-owned utilities and environmentalist. It’s a sweetheart deal that will benefit PacifiCorp and PGE shareholders and cost Oregon ratepayers $8.8 million in charges ($152 a year for residential customers and $1,182 a year for small business and commercial customers) over and above the normal rate hikes they’ll face between now and 2040.
If the Legislature is going to take up major, substantive legislation in these short sessions—and as governor, I will insist that legislators adhere to the original purpose of these even-year sessions—it should focus only on the great crises facing our state. We have many, yet Kate Brown and the Democratic Legislature did nothing to address them, and working Oregonians and our school children will pay a heavy price for their inaction.
Nothing for Transportation
Oregon’s roads, bridges, and rural airports need help. Oregonians are spending more and more time in traffic gridlock, and our rural communities are suffering economically because of inadequate air connections. Where was Kate Brown’s transportation package? Nowhere to be found.
Education Suffers When PERS Isn't Reformed
Oregon’s public schools, the state, and local government will face massive increases in their PERS costs as a result of the Oregon Supreme Court’s 205 PERS decision. That will mean cuts in classrooms and other critical public services across Oregon. Where was Kate Brown’s PERS fix? Nowhere to be found.
Union-Drive Business Sales Tax on Ballot
Oregon is about to tear itself apart over the $5 billion sales tax on business that Governor Brown’s union backers are set to put on the November ballot. Senate President Peter Courtney—a Democrat no less—has warned of a “civil war” in Oregon over the Initiative Petition 28 tax increase and pleaded with Governor Brown to show some leadership in the special session to avoid this conflict. Where was Kate Brown? Nowhere to be found. She won’t say anything other than that the state needs more money, and she won’t do anything that shows real leadership.
I have laid out very specific plans for Oregon that you can find here on my website, but there are some days I think I’m running for governor for one simple reason. I’m running for governor because I think every state should have one.
See you on the campaign trail.