Month: March 2010

School Choice Makes “Cents” for Oregon’s Budget

Jacob Szeto
Cascade Commentary

School Choice Makes “Cents” for Oregon’s Budget

By Jeff W. Reed

As Oscar season winds down, Oregonians should remember their own cinematic achievement filmed and based in Oregon: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. In the Oscar-winning movie, Jack Nicholson’s character acts crazy to forestall facing hard time. Oregon’s actions of late aren’t so dissimilar.

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The Diversity of Rural Oregon Communities

Karla Kay Edwards
Cascade Commentary

The Diversity of Rural Oregon Communities

by Karla Kay Edwards

The differences between Oregon’s rural and urban communities are obvious, but the diversity among rural communities often goes unrecognized. Describing rural communities involves considering both geographic and social characteristics. Geographically, Oregon is divided by the Coastal and the Cascade mountain ranges, running north and south, which create three physical regions: the coastal area, the Willamette Valley and Eastern Oregon. Each region includes vast tracts of federally owned land that have an impact on natural resources and economic drivers available to communities in each area. For example, in a recent economic study by Forest2Market, Inc., privately owned forestlands in Oregon contribute $382 per acre to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), versus federal forestlands’ contribution of just $67 per acre. Considering that 59% of Oregon forestlands are federally owned, federal forestland holdings have a significant impact on wealth creation and jobs in rural communities. Rural communities insufficient ability to generate wealth also hinders their ability to comply with state government mandates.

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The Climate Swindle

Todd Wynn
Cascade Commentary

By Todd Wynn

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Are you worried about your carbon footprint hurting the earth? Don’t worry. Now climate doomsayers can sleep easy at night. For a fee a carbon offset provider will gladly funnel your money into earth friendly projects aimed to reduce greenhouse gases, such as planting trees in Ecuador or supporting a wind farm in Texas. But are carbon offset providers really delivering what they claim? Studies of international carbon offset schemes have revealed examples of widespread fraud and abuse. And now, investigations into two of the most prominent carbon offset providers in the U.S. have revealed that neither of them actually offers real reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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The Climate Swindle

Todd Wynn
Summary: Carbon offsetting has spread quickly in the past few years, fueled by worries of human induced climate change. The newfound popularity of carbon offsets warrants a closer examination of their legitimacy. Studies of some carbon offset schemes have revealed examples of fraud and abuse. These examples caution against the use of offsets for regulatory compliance.

This report offers an in-depth look into one of the most prominent carbon offset marketers in the United States, the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF). The audit casts serious doubt on whether carbon offsets will ever be a product that can be verifiable and additional. The problems that plague the carbon offset concept will most likely never be solved, meaning that the offset mechanism will always be questionable in delivering real verifiable reductions in greenhouse gases.

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Excessive Cost of the Milwaukie Light Rail Line

John A. Charles, Jr.
Cascade Commentary

By John Charles

Testimony before the Metro Council Regarding the Milwaukie Light Rail Line Resolution No. 10-4133

Metro proposes to allocate $144.8 million of flexible funding to one corridor in SE Portland  to move a handful of people who could be served just as well by Bus Rapid Transit at less than .2% of the capital cost, and the staff concludes that there is no opposition “known at this time.” Only in the Orwellian world of regional transportation decision-making could two public votes AGAINST the South/North LRT project be re-defined out of existence 12 years later.

The analytical argument against this project is actually much stronger now than it was in 1998 when it was voted down. We know more about alternatives, and about the true costs of rail. Continued rail expansion inevitably cannibalizes service elsewhere, as shown by the fact that TriMet has had a 38% increase in funding over the past five years while service has dropped by 10%.

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Founder’s Statement

Steve Buckstein
Founder’s Statement
by Steve Buckstein

The US Congress has now passed a sweeping health care “reform” bill that, even when “fixed” in the Senate, will represent much more a violation of individual liberty than an improvement in American health care.

When we founded Cascade Policy Institute in 1991 our mission was, and still is, to promote public policy alternatives that foster individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic opportunity. This bill threatens to set us back in all three areas:

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Health Care "Reform" a turning point

Steve Buckstein
QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint3-22-10Steve.mp3] Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

Health Care “Reform” a turning point
by Steve Buckstein

America’s founders had a clear vision of government’s role in the “land of the free.” Controlling large segments of the economy was not it. As the federal government moves to control virtually all health care in America, it’s up to freedom loving Americans to take a stand.

The resistance to this usurpation of power began last year with the emergence of the Tea Party movement. Millions of before now relatively uninvolved citizens got concerned about runaway government spending and deficits, and concerned about government taking over segments of our economy that it had no business doing.

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Private Scholarships: A Successful Path to High School Graduation

Kathryn Hickok
QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint_3-31-10.mp3] Click the play button to hear the audio commentary

Private Scholarships: A Successful Path to High School Graduation

By Kathryn Hickok

new study released by Cascade Policy Institute and the Foundation for Educational Choice reveals the dramatic economic and social costs of dropping out of high school in Oregon, and the long-lasting value of a helping hand extended early in a child’s life.

Since 1999 the Children’s Scholarship Fund has given over 111,000 low-income children nationwide a “hand up” in life through a quality elementary education in the private grade schools of their parents’ choice.

Here in Oregon, over 600 students have benefited from CSF scholarships, funded entirely by private donations from Oregonians and matching grants from the Children’s Scholarship Fund. CSF scholarships are a “hand up,” not a “hand-out.” The Oregon families who participate pay, on average, over half of their children’s tuition themselves, a serious commitment from families whose incomes average $33,000.

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Our Education System’s Costly Failures

Christina Martin
QuickPoint!

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Our Education System’s Costly Failures

by Christina Martin

A recent study by the Foundation for Educational Choice determined that Oregon’s high school dropouts cost the state more than $400 million each year. Dropouts are more likely to be incarcerated or to use Medicaid, and they contribute less in taxes since they earn less on average and are more likely to be unemployed or out of the workforce.

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Cascade featured on KATU

Todd Wynn of Cascade Policy Institute was featured in a recent story on KATU titled “Wind power’s dirty secret: It has a carbon footprint“. You can view the video by going here.

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