Month: February 2010

Unemployment Insurance Extensions Appeal to the Heart but Rob the Soul

Christina Martin
Cascade Commentary

Unemployment Insurance Extensions Appeal to the Heart but Rob the Soul

By Christina Martin

Download the pdf here

The federal government is likely to extend unemployment benefits with approval from both conservatives and liberals. If all federal extensions pass, Oregonians will be eligible for up to 105 weeks (about two years) of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, compared to the usual 26 weeks. Oregon’s extended benefits bill recently passed the state legislature with unanimous support by Democrats and Republicans. The U.S. Congress’s extensions, likewise, are predicted to pass with bipartisan support. Why have these extensions received such wide approval? Are they incontrovertibly good, or do these bills just feel good?

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More Red Tape for Virtual Charter Schools

Christina Martin
QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 2-24-10.mp3]
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More Red Tape for Virtual Charter Schools
February 24, 2010

By Christina Martin

The Oregon legislature is once again increasing the web of red tape for Oregon’s virtual charter schools via House Bill 3660. Last year, the legislature passed a two-year moratorium on virtual schools. It capped enrollment and temporarily forbade future waivers from a misguided regulation requiring half of charter school students to live in the school’s home district. The regulation limits the power of virtual education to help students everywhere.

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Speech to the Junior State of America

Christina Martin
Cascade Commentary

Speech to the Junior State of America

by Christina Martin

Cascade’s Christina Martin spoke recently to around 200 high school students about the importance of political involvement and the need for reforming our educational institutions to increase school choice. Read an edited form of her speech here:

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Oregon Politico Officially Launches

Sarah Ross
Cascade Commentary

Oregon Politico Officially Launches

By Sarah Ross

Oregon Politico, the sister news site of Cascade Policy, has officially launched.

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Klamath Restoration Agreement Makes Water Rights a Water Sport

Karla Kay Edwards
Cascade Commentary

Klamath Restoration Agreement Makes Water Rights a Water Sport

By Karla Kay Edwards

Summary: The Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement signed on February 18, 2010 will critically impact the way water rights are determined in Oregon. With so many victims of the process, the one-sided adulation by the Governors of Oregon and California, as well as others present at the signing ceremony in the state capitol rotunda, is disheartening.

Click below to download the .pdf or read the entire commentary.

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Increased Costs Are Blowin’ in the Wind

Todd Wynn
Cascade Commentary

by Todd Wynn and Eric Lowe

Increased Costs Are Blowin’ in the Wind

Summary: Wind energy on the Pacific Northwest’s electricity grid has increased substantially. Often overlooked are the impacts of increasing wind generation on the reliability and affordability of electricity that very well might outweigh any of the promised environmental benefits.

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Tea Time at the Capitol

Steve Buckstein
QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint2-17-10Steve.mp3] Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

Tea Time at the Capitol

February 17, 2010

By Steve Buckstein

Monday was President’s Day. Schools were out, and many people had the day off. It was the perfect day for Oregonians upset with their state government to come to Salem and let their voices be heard.

And heard they were. Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works held back-to-back rallies on the steps of the State Capitol that together saw hundreds of activists and concerned citizens march, hold signs and listen to a bevy of speakers.

The theme was best summed up as “Taxed Enough Already” – the acronym for the emerging tea party movement here and around the country. Oregonians upset with the legislature’s tax and spending increases showed up to tell their lawmakers that enough is enough. Many of the lawmakers who agree with them came to the Capitol steps to side with the demonstrators.

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Testimony on HB 3614 in favor of prioritizing Core Functions of State Government

Steve Buckstein
Cascade Commentary

Listen to the full testimony here. The bill testimony begins at 1:20:30. Buckstein testimony begins at 1:56:17.

Before the House Consumer Protection and Government Accountability Committee in favor of prioritizing Core Functions of State Government

By Steve Buckstein

Good afternoon, Chair Holvey and members of the Committee. My name is Steve Buckstein. I’m Senior Policy Analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute, a public policy research center based in Portland.

I’m here to lend my support to the idea that Oregonians would be well-served by our state government going through the process of determining what the Core Functions of government should be.

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15 Years of Audits Reveal a Pattern of Fiscal Irresponsibility at the Oregon Commission for the Blind

Jacob Szeto
QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 2-10-10.mp3] Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

15 Years of Audits Reveal a Pattern of Fiscal Irresponsibility at the Oregon Commission for the BlindFebruary 10, 2010

By Jacob Szeto

A Secretary of State Audits Division audit report questions if $1.46 million used by the Oregon Commission for the Blind was spent prudently or lawfully.

The audit was initiated in 2007 after the Secretary of State received allegations of mismanaged operations and misused funds. After substantiating several allegations, it was found that problems identified in several previous audits were still occurring. According to the report, $61,000 was used for “purposes that did not always benefit clients and, in some cases, were not allowed by federal regulations.” Examples include $12,000 for a trip to the San Juan Islands.

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Testimony to the House Education Committee on HB 3660

Christina Martin Cascade Commentary

Testimony to the House Education Committee on HB 3660

February 3, 2010

By Christina Martin

Good afternoon, Chair Gelser and Representatives. My name is Christina Martin. I am here on behalf of Cascade Policy Institute. Cascade is a strong advocate of increasing educational options for families. Online education is one of those important options.

Some parents have more options than others. Wealthy parents can choose online education regardless of what you do here today. But ordinary parents’ choices may rest on what you decide here. Currently, some can choose ORVA (Oregon Virtual Academy), while others cannot get permission from their district to make that choice. Parents can choose ORCA (Oregon Connections Academy), provided that ORCA is within its cap. But why should a parent have to settle for anything but her first choice?

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