Oregon Legislature is Heading in the Wrong Direction!
-by Scott Rohter, July 2011
A couple of weeks have passed since Governor Kitzhaber signed into law, Oregon House Bill 3543. This is the new law that repeals the Kicker Check refunds when the State revenue exceeds the estimated State revenue by more than two percent. It was a bipartisan effort, but what is interesting to note is that of the twelve Republicans who voted along with almost all of the Democrats to convert our Constitutionally Protected Kicker Check into a future tax credit (without voter approval), they felt so strongly about it that four out of five of the Bill’s sponsors were actually Republicans!!! What do you think of that for a Party that claims to believe in the principles of limited government?
After thoughtful consideration I’ve decided that it doesn’t really matter whose money it is! A good argument can be made that the excess money collected but not spent, belongs to the taxpayers, and an equally good case can be made that the surplus money actually belongs to the State. But that is not what really matters. It seems to me after giving it much thought, that what really matters most is not whose money it is, but who actually controls the money! It is more a matter of control that counts, than a question of ownership! Here’s why. Whoever controls the State revenues, more or less controls the State’s expenditures! So will it be, ‘We the People,’ (the taxpayers) or will it be Salem, (the tax collectors)? Ask yourself who has more control of your money now, after the passage of HB 3543, you or Salem? Is it “We the People,” or is it the professional bureaucrats and politicians? Since the answer to that question is perfectly obvious, you know why I stand firmly opposed to the repeal of the Kicker Check, because it gives the bureaucrats and the politicians in Salem more access to our money, and more control over our lives!
Friends, our State Government in Salem is starting to get a little bit out of control! Have you noticed? Even as the Republicans continue to pay lip service to the idea of limited government, they co-operate with the Democrats to seize more of our liberty, our rights, and our money! Last year they voted to expand the State Government by holding annual sessions of the Legislature, instead of keeping with the usual and customary format of bi-annual sessions. I’m sure they had a very good reason for this. (Oh Yeah). I’m sure they explained how it would lead to better State Government. It would make State Government more efficient, effective, and responsive. What did you actually think they would say? This is usually referred to as ‘the hook!’ When you go on a fishing expedition, there is usually a hook on the end of your line, and bait on the end of the hook. Business executives refer to this tactic as the marketing ploy, or the ‘lead in.’ It gets you into the store to consider whatever it is they are selling. In this case they are selling the idea that bigger government is better government! Nonsense! Of course that idea fundamentally goes against my principles, and against good judgment and basic common sense. It also flies right in the face of reality! Just look around and try to find some examples of where bigger government is better government. I challenge you to find any!
This year the State Legislature in Salem replaced the customary Kicker Check, with a tax credit for Oregonians. So now the Legislature is keeping more of our money, and they are also meeting more often, ... every year instead of every two years! Of course that means that they are working harder to pass even more laws to regulate more of our lives! Folks, we are heading in the wrong direction in Oregon! What’s next on their agenda, a pay raise? Why not? We now have a professional State Legislature that holds annual sessions. Would it be too much of a stretch to imagine that they might also feel entitled to give themselves a pay raise? I’ll just tell you that I told you so, after it happens. I’ve made this observation before, “All you get with bigger government is higher taxes and more regulations!” For those of you who love liberty and value your money, we are going in the wrong direction in Oregon! We are going in the direction of more government, not less government. We are becoming more like the rest of the states instead of finding our own way, Less Government is always the Best Government, not more government or bigger government! We just need enough government to do a few things well, such as securing our borders, protecting us from attack from enemies foreign and domestic, establishing justice, and promoting the general welfare (just like it states in the Constitution)!
But getting back to the repeal of the Kicker Checks. What if the person who is supposed to receive a tax credit now instead of a kicker check, doesn’t owe any tax next year? What if they have moved out of state, or they are deceased? Is the State going to reap an inappropriate windfall profit in some of these cases? What about the interest on this money? Why should Salem be earning interest on what was our Kicker money?
This year the State Legislature just put all aspects of public education under the control of a Deputy of Education appointed by the Governor, instead of a Superintendent of Public Instruction, elected by the voters. This will eliminate one Statewide elected office and it will not allow the voters to make up their own minds on who should lead the State’s Public Education System, aside from the Governor! Since education is the future, that could prove to be a fatal mistake! I’m sure that the Democrats don’t really care, since the Governor in Oregon is usually a Democrat, but it does take away our right to choose our own top State Public Education Official. I thought that all of you ‘good Libs’ are pro-choice! Well I guess not when it comes to certain things, like individual health care mandates, or selecting your own State Superintendent of Public Instruction!
Here again under the guise of more consolidation, we are getting more Government control over our lives, by fewer people, who are not even accountable to us! In other words, our new Deputy of Education will not be elected by the voters! They will be appointed by the Governor, and responsible only to him! We keep getting more control by professional politicians instead of less control, even if they are elected! We are strengthening the executive branch of government, which is not a good idea, and we are turning over the administration of our public school system in Oregon to an appointed official, instead of an elected official who is directly responsible to the voters! How can this possibly turn out good, in spite of all the good intentions of many well meaning Republicans and Democrats, and all the praises of the editorials in the liberal newspapers? Consolidation does not necessarily make for better government. It sometimes leads to strangleholds on power, bottlenecks, limiting ideas, and an overall lack of accountability! Not requiring our top State education official in Oregon to stand for re-election allows them to be insulated from the consequences of their decisions. And that can’t be good for Oregon!
To me, what the State Legislature just did by eliminating the elected position of Superintendent of Public Instruction and by creating a Deputy of Education who is responsible only to the Governor is like what our U.S. Government did when they consolidated all of the functions of the FBI, ATF, ICE, and the TSA into a single entity, the Department of Homeland Security. In effect, now only one high level cabinet official reports directly to the President. It provides fewer people with less access to the President, and it provides the President with less information from fewer sources! What the Oregon Legislature just did by eliminating the elected position of Superintendent of Public Instruction is a little like shifting chairs around on a deck. It doesn’t lead to being able to seat more people, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that anybody who is sitting in those chairs will have a better experience!
We are still giving up more control of our lives instead of taking back control! This is occurring on a National level, at the same time it is occurring on a Statewide level right here in Oregon! Washington and Salem are still assuming more and more control over our lives! Do all of you trusting souls out there actually believe that this is in your own best interest? Think about it and get back to me.
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"A journalist has no better friend than the truth." - Scott Rohter