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Analysis: Taxes and Freedom
There’s a war on property ownership

Sometimes don’t you just want to cut through all the lawmaking and get to the point?

The IRS was founded in 1913, a little over 100 years ago. Besides raising revenue for public goods, taxes serve to control people. The state has record revenues right now and the Democrat run, public union controlled legislature is still raising our taxes. That doesn’t make any sense you say, that kills the goose that lays the egg. Well it makes sense if you understand the game. The more you’re taxed the less freedom you have and the easier it is to control you.

You don’t have the economic freedom to send your kids to a decent private school because you’re already paying big time for public schools. You are paying for colleges that tell your kids their parent’s world is wrong. Those schools must be the merchants of doom or lose their government grant money which you helped provide.

Your taxes subsidize the purchase of government approved hybrid cars which means the SUV you prefer costs more than it should to meet regulations. Instead of road improvements you are paying for bike lanes you’re not using with each gallon of gas you buy. You drive on deliberately congested roads as the government wages war on the automobile you depend on to live your life. The government solution - toll the roads. You’re paying for big busses and light rail to travel millions of miles with just a few people riding to limited destinations.

You’re paying for inefficient health care you’re not using. Do you know people go to foreign countries to get good health care for about 20% of what we pay in this country? That’s what it really costs when you strip away the bloated bureaucracy, bogus lawsuits, needless testing, over paid administrative staff and a government managed profit structure.

You’re paying to feed, house, clothe, treat and protect people who are in the country illegally. You’re paying to house people who don’t want to work. Both groups are future voters for big government.

The sky hasn’t been cleaner, nor the waters clearer for decades and still we pay a huge bureaucracy to increase regulations and fines, build inefficient windmill and solar farms with money confiscated from gas and electric ratepayers by the Governor appointed Public Utilities Commissioner. To satisfy Democrat voters, century old dams are breached ruining agriculture and eliminating efficient electricity generation.

You, the taxpayer and law abiding citizen aren’t trusted to own a gun, to speak up against tyrannical government, to visit your elected representative, or decide what your children will be taught in teachers' union -- government – public schools that you pay for.

Your minister is bullied about what to say or the church will lose its tax status. Government protected Facebook decides what you can say or they’ll cancel you. You’re paying an inefficient regulatory bureaucracy huge fees to be inefficient, to delay or deny your plans to build or remodel. You’re paying inspectors huge fees to shut down your business if you resist their politically motivated rules.

The war on property ownership has government increase its holdings of formerly private property to the point of grossly mismanaged forests, streams, parks and rangeland. The government is not harvesting trees that could give you relief from all the taxes you’re paying. You’re paying for district attorneys that don’t prosecute criminals, future voters for government that wants to control you. If you own a commercial building you are paying property taxes to a government that put your tenants out of business. Apartment owners house increasing numbers each year and are rewarded with huge penalties if they manage their property as a business. Do you sometimes think that it’s heads tyrannical government wins, tails you lose?

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-06-10 09:48:35Last Update: 2021-06-10 10:06:58

Witt Removed from Chair of Committee
The Democrat sent inappropriate texts to another member

Representative Brad Witt (D-Clatskanie) has been removed as Chair of the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources for his sending of texts to another member, Representative Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville) seemingly asking for a date. Despite conclusions of an investigator to the contrary, local media attempted to cover for Representative Witt.

Representative Breese-Iverson was texting Representative Witt to ask for a vote, and he was responding with offers to "get a beer" and other requests.

Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) issued a letter to members of the House. “In my authority as Speaker, I am removing Representative Witt as chair of the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources. I hold all chairs to a high standard of conduct, and Representative Witt failed to meet that standard.”

Freshman, Zach Hudson (D-Portland) has been named chair of the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-09 17:14:11Last Update: 2021-06-11 17:27:07

Senate Democrats Block Tax Relief
They also voted down a measure to end the COVID emergency

Senate Republicans moved to debate a measure that would have repealed taxes on basic necessities. Under current law, prescription drugs, diapers, feminine hygiene products, and baby formula are taxed under the corporate activities tax. SB 521, a Republican proposal, would exempt these items from taxation.

Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) made a motion to withdraw SB 521 from committee to give the Senate a chance to debate and vote on the measure.

“As the vice-chair of the Senate Health Care Committee, we have spent a lot of time this session talking about how to decrease the cost of prescription drugs,” Senator Knopp said. “This whole time, this basic policy to help bring down the cost of prescriptions in Oregon has been stuck in committee.”

Senate Democrats voted down the motion, continuing taxation on these basic necessities.

The most recent revenue forecast has shown that the state is swimming in cash, with billions of tax dollars above projections. This shows tax relief for working Oregonians will not harm the financial health of the state.

“It’s unconscionable that Oregon is unnecessarily raising the cost of basic necessities for working families,” said Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons). “Diapers, baby formula, prescription drugs, and feminine hygiene products are things Oregonians need for their families and their health. The state has brought in record amounts of money, there is no reason to be nickel and diming Oregonians by taxing these items.”

SB 521 will remain in the Finance and Revenue Committee where the Democrat chair will have an opportunity to hear and pass the bill.

Senate Republicans also voted to consider a measure that would end the Governor’s never-ending emergency declaration. Senator Brian Boquist (I-Dallas) made the motion to withdraw SR 2 from committee and debate the proposal on the Senate floor.

“The COVID emergency is over,” said Senator Kim Thatcher, a chief sponsor of the legislation. “The Legislature needs to start acting like a co-equal branch of government and use its constitutional power to end the Governor’s unchecked emergency powers. I will continue to stand up against the Governor and her abuses of power, but until we have a majority party that is willing to do the same, nothing will change.”

SR 2 was voted down by the Democrat majority. It will remain in the Rules Committee where the Democrat chair has the opportunity to hold a hearing and bring it to a vote.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-09 12:19:58

Senate Republicans Vote to Expand Opportunity in Education
Overall support for school choice is increasing

Senate Republicans proposed an addition to HB 2954 to allow more students options in their education.

The minority report, carried by Senator Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River), mirrors the bill passed out of committee, but would also raise the decade-old arbitrary cap on virtual public charter school enrollment from three percent to four percent of the school district’s student population.

“The reality is, many students don’t thrive under traditional learning models,” said Senator Thomsen, the vice-chair of the Senate Education Committee. “Virtual public charter schools are a great option for many kids for many different reasons, whether it be bullying, the flexibility to learn at their own pace, or to accommodate mental and physical health conditions. The current cap is a cap on student potential. It doesn’t serve what should be the main goal of our education system: to serve Oregon students’ needs and set them up for future success.”

Despite overwhelming support from families and students to raise the cap, Democrats voted in lockstep to defeat the motion to include this provision.

“This is the time for real education reform,” said Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons). “This session, the Democrats have lowered education standards and avoided meaningful reform by throwing more money at a failing system. School choice is fundamentally about giving students, regardless of wealth, the best education possible for them. Republicans will continue to be the party of educational opportunity and school choice.”

Increasing the cap on virtual charter schools would have been a small victory for those trapped in a system that doesn’t meet their needs. For communities of color and low-income households, too few education options exist. Without options, families will be stuck in a failing system that hinders upward mobility. Giving these families the freedom to choose an education that works for their students correlates with increased academic achievement.

Despite promising to promote “Access and Equity in Public Education,” Senate Democrats have blocked all school choice measures from advancing this session, including a measure that would have completely lifted the cap on virtual public charter school attendance. Senate Democrats held a public hearing for SB 240, but only after it was ‘dead’ due to legislative deadlines.

Public support for school choice has skyrocketed since the onset of the pandemic. Traditional, government-run public school models were no longer a viable option for many, including our most vulnerable populations. When Governor Brown shut down schools in the spring of 2020, students and parents flocked to virtual public charter schools. The current three percent cap on enrollment led to record transfer rejection numbers. Since July of 2020, the Oregon Department of Education has received at least 839 rejection appeals, the vast majority of which have been upheld without reasonable explanation as to why.

Yet, at least 41 school districts in Oregon have exceeded the three percent cap on virtual public charter school attendance, further demonstrating the demand for education alternatives. New data from Real Clear Opinion Research finds overall support for school choice is increasing as parents need more options than ever before: The minority report for HB 2954 was voted down by Democrats. The Senate passed the original bill that carries the same language but fails to provide necessary education options.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-09 10:38:04Last Update: 2021-06-09 12:19:58

Government Scientific Establishments Criticized
Has real science become subservient to political institutions?

Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) gave a speech on the Senate floor blasting the government’s response to COVID-19. According to the Senator, from Dr. Fauci, OHA Director Patrick Allen, and on to Governor Kate Brown, Oregonians were misled about the viruses' origins, masks, and virus transmission.

“Fauci’s emails are a perfect example of what happens when politics is put before science and when power is pursued before good policy. Governments at all levels were weaponized into bureaucratic machines of destruction that trampled on Oregonian's freedoms. When the government mandates are followed without the careful review of evidence and science, tyranny is the only result.

“Built on flimsy evidence, masks have now become a cult-like religious symbol. Despite the data coming in from around the world, some are so committed to masks that they will never take them off. The lies, the fear-mongering, and the propaganda were, and are, unwarranted by science. Public recognition is now breaking through the government’s façade and it is being exposed for what it has always been. Government agencies have mistakenly devastated the health, outlook, common sense, and financial stability of many of our most vulnerable populations.

“It is well past time to give Oregonians their liberties back. It's beyond time to allow Oregonians to make calculated risk assessments about their own lives and their own risks.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-09 10:33:50

Resolution Introduced to Censure Representative Witt
“I want victims to know that it is safe to come forward”

Representative Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany) has introduced House Resolution 4 to formally censure Representative Brad Witt (D-Clatskanie).

The resolution was introduced following the failure of the House Committee on Conduct to agree on appropriate consequences for Representative Witt’s violation of sexual harassment rules.

“This response is necessary for us to take as a legislative body to declare that this kind of behavior has no place in our Capitol,” said Representative Boshart Davis. “This should have been recommended by the House Committee on Conduct, but unfortunately they failed to reach agreement. Furthermore, the announcement from the Speaker’s office that merely takes a gavel from someone who committed sexual harassment is an inadequate response to address a hostile work environment in the building. I want victims to know that it is safe to come forward, and this is the only way.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-08 20:02:49Last Update: 2021-06-08 20:17:47

Right to Privacy Bill Introduced in Oregon House
Would ban implementation of discriminatory vaccine passports

State Representative Mark Owens (R-Crane) introduced HB 3407 to ban the implementation of vaccine passports in Oregon and protect the privacy and rights of Oregonians.

“Requiring proof of vaccinations via a vaccine passport program is wrong and it opens the door to myriad problems,” said Rep. Owens. “It's a violation of our privacy and our freedoms, it’s discriminatory, and it shows the Governor doesn’t believe Oregonians can be trusted.”

The legislation would prevent any public body -- state, local or special government body -- from issuing a requirement for proof of vaccination through a vaccine passport from COVID-19 or variants of COVID-19.

“Let me be clear -- this is not an argument over COVID-19 or the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s about Oregonians’ rights. I believe the choice to get a vaccine is a personal, private medical decision that should be made between an individual and their medical provider, and that Oregonians should be free to make that choice for themselves,” said Owens.

In addition, in order to prevent discriminatory actions and repercussions, it would prohibit a person or public body from being able to legally require an individual to state or document vaccine status against COVID-19 to access credit, insurance, education, facilities, medical services, housing or accommodations, travel, entry into this state, employment or purchase goods or services.

It would also prohibit these entities from being legally able to require an individual to wear a face covering if the individual does not wish to disclose vaccine status.

The bill applies only to the COVID-19 vaccinations and would not change any current laws with regards to immunizations for other restrictable diseases for schools and children’s facilities.

HB 3407 is requested in partnership with Eastern Oregon Counties Association and would go into effect immediately upon passage. At the time of press, the legislation has 12 Chief Co-Sponsors including House and Senate members and bipartisan support in the House.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-08 09:52:56

Expulsion Resolution Introduced for Rep. Nearman
He would be the first to be expelled in the history of Oregon

The Oregon House of Representatives is poised to expel one of it's members. House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland), failing to get Representative Mike Nearman to resign his seat, has introduced HR 3 which would expel Representative Nearman from the Legislature.

Be It Resolved by the House of Representatives of the State of Oregon:

That we, the members of the House of Representatives of the Eighty-first Legislative Assembly, find that Representative Mike Nearman has engaged in disorderly behavior within the meaning of Article IV, section 15, of the Oregon Constitution, and be it further

Resolved, That, with the concurrence of two-thirds of the members of the House of Representatives, Representative Nearman be expelled from the House of Representatives and that Representative Nearman’s seat be considered vacant.

Speaker Kotek introduced the resolution to expel Nearman in a surprise move just two days before he was scheduled to appear before the House Committee on Conduct. That meeting has since been cancelled. Insiders are speculating that for some reason, Speaker Kotek and her fellow Democrats were afraid to let that process go forward, and chose instead just to bring an expulsion measure to the floor. The expulsion vote requires a 2/3 majority, so at least three Republicans were needed to vote to expel.

A special committee has been created to have a hearing on HR 3, The House Special Committee On December 21, 2020. The resolution will be heard Thursday afternoon at 3:00pm. For those wishing to submit testimony, a link has been provided on the Legislative website. The committee will also be taking live, virtual testimony from the public.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-08 07:36:39Last Update: 2021-06-08 20:02:49

Senate Democrats Say ‘No’ to Extra Pay for Police Officers Responding to Riots
Over 115 officers have left the Portland Police Bureau

Over the last year, violence, chaos, and organized crime have crippled Portland and are increasing across Oregon’s cities. Oregon has become known nationally for left-wing political violence. Police funding has been slashed, leading to record levels of gun violence and murder. Officers have been demonized and attacked constantly over the last year, leading to staff shortages and service cuts.

Today Senate Republicans forced a vote to consider SB 547, a bill to pay law enforcement officers double-time for responding to riots and violent demonstrations. Senate Democrats voted in lockstep to say ‘no’ to more pay for these officers.

“Our shortage of police officers and increasing violent crime are not unrelated,” said Assistant Senate Republican Leader Lynn Findley (R-Vale), who made the motion on the floor and is a sponsor of the legislation. “We need to find ways to attract qualified candidates to help protect our communities. Over the last year, policing has become an increasingly thankless job. The legislature is doing a lot to change how they do their jobs. It’s time to thank them for keeping us safe.”

Last week, the Senate passed HB 3059, which would make breaking up riots optional for police departments. SB 547 would reward police officers who put their health and safety on the line to enforce laws for the protection of lives and property by breaking up a riot.

“Beefing up pay for our police officers who put their lives on the line for the safety of our communities is the least we can do to say thank you,” said Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons). “Their jobs have become exponentially more difficult in the last year. The inability of Portland officials to enforce the law has put countless lives in danger and has in part led to burnout. The legislature needs to step up to support our officers.”

Since July of last year, over 115 officers have left the Portland Police Bureau. The Department of Oregon State Police has 64 openings for troopers. Oregon police departments experienced a 10% increase in police separations last year. According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 65% of police departments around the country have too few applicants. 25% are reducing services because of these shortages.

The vote to withdraw SB 547 was shot down by Senate Democrats and will stay dead in committee while violence continues across our state.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-07 16:06:37

Cold Medicine in Oregon Soon to be More Affordable
HB 2648 allows pseudoephedrine products to be sold

A proposal from Representative Bill Post (R-Keizer) to allow the sale of pseudoephedrine products without a prescription passed out of the Senate today and will be sent to the Governor’s desk.

This is the third attempt from Rep. Post to remove an unnecessary barrier for Oregonians that will lower their health care costs when purchasing pseudoephedrine products. Sudafed and other similar drugs will still be restricted to people who are at least 18 years of age with a valid ID under the proposal.

Currently, purchasing a pseudoephedrine product requires a visit to your doctor to receive a prescription, which comes with an expensive bill.

“Third time is the charm to pass this common-sense bill which will help Oregonians looking for a quick and affordable remedy for allergies and head colds,” said Rep. Post. “People shouldn’t be asked to visit a doctor to obtain a prescription for common cold medicine, especially when Oregon is the ONLY state requiring a prescription. We can trust Oregonians more than that.”

HB 2648 passed out of the Senate with bipartisan support.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-07 12:29:52Last Update: 2021-06-07 12:38:40

Kate Brown Likely to Maintain State of Emergency
Fully reopened doesn’t mean what you think

Oregon's Governor Kate Brown recently addressed the public in a press conference where she detailed what she intends for Oregon now that the Covid vaccination goal she set is about to be met. Brown has stated that when Oregon reaches 70% first dose vaccination rate for adults, most county and individual health and safety restrictions will lift. It seems that she knew that Oregonians want to hear her say that she will fully reopen Oregon's economy, so those are the exact words she used.

"What does fully reopen mean?", Brown said. "Masks will "largely" no longer be required in businesses and most other places, with the exception of public settings currently outlined by the CDC such as public transportation."

"No more physical distancing," Brown added."

In discerning what she really means by this, however, it seems that she very much intends on keeping as many restrictions in place as she can, even among school children.

As of June 3, Oregon had achieved a 66.2% vaccination rate for individuals 18 and older, with 127,308 more people needing to receive a first dose to reach 70%.

“I want to be very clear that we are able to reopen like this because of the efficacy of the vaccines. For those of you who are vaccinated, you’ve helped us reach this point — and you are protected from this virus,” said Governor Brown. “However, there are still Oregonians who need to take extra precautions to feel and stay safe. People battling cancer and immunocompromised Oregonians, to name a couple. There are also many Oregon kids who are not yet eligible for a vaccine.

“So, it will remain incredibly important for Oregonians to continue making smart choices. And, to respect the choices of others. Let’s respect one another as we prepare to make this transition.

“This has really become a tale of two pandemics. If you are vaccinated, then you’re safe, you can carry on safely without wearing a mask and social distancing.

“If you are not vaccinated, this virus still poses a very real threat.”

It seems that the OHA does not have any guidance on whether actual COVID survivors should be vaccinated, as they would likely already have natural immunity to the virus.

Details of the restrictions that will remain for school children were provided by Brown and outlined here: Skeptics of Brown's "reopening announcement" believe that she intends to keep these and other restrictions in place, as well as the continued state of emergency.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-07 09:39:58Last Update: 2021-06-07 10:28:53

Another Democrat Small Business Tax Proposal
Public hearing announced late

As if there weren't enough disincentives for business in Oregon with increasing taxation coming from the Kate Brown administration, more tax bills keep coming, with the intent of finding additional sources of revenue to cover the State's out of control spending habit.

There is yet another small business tax proposal from Oregon Democrats that is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Finance and Revenue hearing this Monday, June 7, at 1:00. It was only made public on late on Friday before the weekend so that people would not know about it until the last minute. You can find the link to that meeting by clicking here.

The bill is SB 139 and it will raise the tax rate for small businesses that are also known as pass-throughs income.

This tax only applies to small businesses.

Scott Bruun, Director of Tax and Fiscal Policy for Oregon Business and Industry gave the following testimony earlier this session:

"SB 139 would raise taxes on thousands of Oregon partnership businesses at a time when many of those businesses are still reeling from the economic effects of COVID. These businesses are not the euphemistic “large corporations,” they are small and medium-size businesses that operate in every corner of our state, and in every commercial business activity you could think of. These could be businesses with two employees, 20 employees, or even 200 employees, each with an interest in keeping those employees working and maintaining operations during perhaps the biggest economic challenge of our lifetime."

"There is no question that some Oregon businesses have done well during the current crisis. Some have even done exceptionally well. That’s actually great news! It’s something we should celebrate, not punish or lament. Those businesses, whether they employ 2 or 200, have kept Oregon moving forward. They’ve kept their people working; they have played by the rules; they’ve overcome hurdles; and they will pay the full taxes they owe under current statute - more than they would pay, of course, if they had not done as well."

"But we shouldn’t let success stories sidetrack us. The fact is most businesses have suffered and are behind where they would otherwise be if not for COVID. SB 139 would raise taxes on those businesses during this time of economic stress. These tax increases would make it harder for Oregon businesses to compete, harder for them to hire, harder for them to give raises, and maybe even harder for them to retain the people they currently employ."

"It is also important to remember, as we’ve discussed before, that every Oregon business, partnership or not, will already be experiencing a 41% increase in their overall tax burden by 2022 when tax measures approved in 2019 are fully implemented.

COVID notwithstanding, Oregon’s business tax burden has increased from 40th highest in the nation, to 19th highest in a very short period of time. Respectfully, the businesses which employ Oregonians are having a hard enough time swallowing that big pill, they are certainly not in a position to take on yet another tax increase.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-06 16:12:34Last Update: 2021-06-07 18:30:37

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