Month: December 2003

Can-do unions compete to reduce cost of government

QuickPoint!

Union workers in Patient Business Services at Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU) recently faced a challenge. Their work — billing and collections — was being put up for competitive bidding.

With the help of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 328, the workers (more…)

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Do you believe in Santa Claus?

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

Do you believe in Santa Claus? By the time most of us stop believing in a literal Santa Claus, we are well on our way to believing in a figurative one that goes by the name welfare state, or big government.

Have trouble feeding your family? Santa State can help. Need affordable housing? Welfare Santa to the rescue.

What got me to say such (more…)

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Halfway There: Measure 5 and the Road Ahead

Preface

Watershed events often become dividing lines in history. Twenty-five years ago, Californians created such a line when they voted to reduce their property tax burden through Proposition 13. Thirteen years ago, Oregonians drew a similar line when they voted for Measure 5 to reduce their property tax burden.

Mythology surrounds such events, and Measure 5 is no exception. (more…)

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ODOT embraces congestion

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) just announced its intention to increase traffic congestion in nearly 50 small cities and towns where state highways become downtown main streets. The Oregon Transportation Commission, which governs ODOT, plans to adopt rules at its January 14 meeting that would allow traffic speeds on these highways to be reduced through such techniques as more pedestrian crosswalks, wider sidewalks, and adding street parking.

Though accommodating pedestrians on a downtown thoroughfare is (more…)

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To build a greater sense of community

QuickPoint!

Until the February 3, 2004 vote on recalling the legislature’s $1 billion tax increase, we can expect countless editorials about how a successful recall will hurt Oregon’s poor, the elderly and children. What the editorials won’t say, however, is that higher taxes and more government stifle community solutions.

In the spring of 2003 a great sense of community was (more…)

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Improving Public Schools Requires Changing the System

Despite reform efforts, school performance is improving slowly, if at all, and continues to be very inequitable between racial and income groups. Though the causes are typically presumed to be located within the classroom, the system itself perpetuates inequity and poor performance. This paper proposes two systemic changes: allow funding to follow children to the school their parents choose and remove the exclusive franchise of school districts, thereby allowing multiple providers of public education within one geographic region. Together these changes would provide the framework for an education system that offers students and professionals a wide range of opportunity and freedom to pursue success. (more…)

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Can you hear us now?

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

As Yogi Bera said, “this is like deja vu all over again.” Last December Oregon legislators waited to see if voters would buy their January 28th income tax increase. It was soundly rejected. This month, legislators wait to see if those same voters will accept their $1.1 billion tax package, set for a vote February 3rd.

One difference is that last January’s vote was (more…)

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