by Angela Logomasini, Ph.D.
During the past several years, a chemical used to make baby bottles and other plastic products has been making headlines. Activists suggest it can put infants at risk. Groups like the Washington Toxics Coalition claim that this chemical, Bisphenol A (BPA), is “toxic” and could cause cancer and a number of other ailments.
The Children’s Safe Products Act of 2009 (HB 2367) was introduced in the Oregon House of Representatives in 2009. It would have regulated chemicals in children’s toys, including BPA. But activists like the Oregon Environmental Council and Environment Oregon are also pushing legislation that focuses on BPA in food products and containers, such as baby bottles and canned goods-proposals likely to appear on the 2010 legislative agenda.
WHAT IS BPA? Bisphenol A is a chemical intermediary used in the manufacturing of certain products, including polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. These plastics are used in a variety of products: baby bottles, five-gallon water jugs used in water coolers, medical equipment, sports safety equipment, cell phones and other consumer electronics, household appliances, and many other products. The resins are used for industrial flooring, adhesives, primers, coatings, and computer components. Its applications for food packaging and containers, particularly uses for water cooler jugs, canned foods, and baby bottles, have been the focus of much debate. (more…)
The Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) has come under fire from Oregonians as the costs of the program have ballooned beyond anyone’s expectations. The program, originally designed to jumpstart the renewable energy industry, hands out millions in tax breaks to renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Although there is a push for reforming and limiting the program, some important lessons learned from the BETC can be applied to other sectors of the Oregon economy.
On one hand, the BETC program has been enormously successful. Due to the clear benefit of reducing state tax liabilities, the program has grown substantially over time, totaling more than $130 million in 2009 alone. This led to an expansion of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects across the state and even to modest job growth in this sector. This should be an example of how reducing taxes can increase economic growth and create jobs. (more…)
Around the nation, many states are taking interest-free long-term loans from the federal government to extend unemployment insurance payments. Oregon is not in that position because state law requires its payroll tax rate to adjust automatically to support a healthy balance in its unemployment insurance trust fund.
Many Oregon legislators have taken notice of the federal loans, opining that it is unfair that “responsible” states like Oregon should have to fund less responsible states which did not save enough in their unemployment trust. Perhaps even worse, the federal government is giving states an incentive to continue to keep irresponsibly small savings for unemployment insurance and other programs. (more…)
One of the most important back stories about the current Measure 66 and 67 campaign is how powerful public employee unions have become in Oregon and many other states. Reason magazine features a great article about this here.
Summary: Instead of blocking innovation in education, the Oregon Legislature should ensure that students throughout Oregon have the option of attending online charter schools. It should remove the cap on virtual charter schools, revoke any teacher or administrator certification requirements, and allow parents from any district to enroll in virtual charter schools without having to get their local district’s permission. (more…)
The fates of tax Measures 66 and 67 are now in the hands of Oregon voters. Part of the campaign has revolved around the assertion by the “Yes” side that Oregon charges corporations too little to do business here.
Among its other features, Measure 67 will increase the fee to incorporate most businesses from $50 to $100. But there is an exception. If the business is already incorporated in another state, then its owners must pay, not $100, but $275 for the privilege of transacting business in Oregon. (more…)
CONTACT: Jacob Szeto
The data provided includes approximately 32,620 state workers’ salaries. Not included are employees of the Oregon University System, Oregon State Treasurer, and semi-independent agencies, temporary employees, or records protected by the courts.
Of the top three individual earners, the top two are from the Department of Human Services. Both DHS workers are classified as Principle Executives and earn $242,004 and $231,996. The third top earner, from the Department of Corrections, is classified as a Clinical Director and earns $229,332. (more…)
Are you dismayed by the high school graduation rates in so many major cities in the U.S.? If you could do something to help lower-income kids graduate from high school on time, would you do it?
Since 1999 the Children’s Scholarship Fund has helped over 111,000 children nationwide to attend the private schools of their parents’ choice. Studies of CSF partner programs around the country show the difference educational opportunity has made in these children’s lives, including raising their chances of high school graduation. (more…)
by Randall Pozdena, Ph.D.
The Portland region is rated the 24th most congested metropolitan area in the country, but it does not have to be. Policymakers in Portland have focused on so-called “smart-growth” policies, limiting the geographic extent of development and developing light rail and streetcar infrastructure, while overlooking lower-cost, efficient and environmentally beneficial transit and roadway capacity solutions. In this report, Dr. Randall Pozdena presents the fundamental problems with the way Portland addresses roadway capacity issues, explains why systemic reform is needed, and proposes real recommendations for getting there.