Author: kurt t. weber

A Major Victory for Property Rights

QuickPoint!

Property rights — and liberty — were victorious on July 30th when the Michigan Supreme Court unanimously reversed a ruling from two decades ago. The Court’s ruling halts governmental abuse of eminent domain in that state for “economic development.”

In its precedent-setting 1981 Poletown decision, Michigan’s high court allowed (more…)

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Recall the Multnomah Income Tax?

QuickPoint!

In 2003, Portland and Multnomah County politicians cried crisis and pushed a new three-year “temporary” county income tax, mainly to benefit education. This November, county voters, most of them city residents, will have the opportunity to recall the remaining two years of the income tax. The free-spending politicians who cried crisis have given voters good reasons to do so.

In 2003, the county hired a new (more…)

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Fiscally Responsible Democrats

QuickPoint!

We should applaud the demise of an Oregon Legislative Special Session for one good reason: Democrats took the opportunity to proclaim support for fiscal responsibility. Many publicly stated such a gathering would waste taxpayer dollars. Buoyed by these pronouncements, the next regular session could advance ideas that increase freedom and reduce the burden of state government on all Oregonians.

Fiscally responsible Democrats can support contracting out as a way to (more…)

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Small step for the OLCC, giant step for liberty

QuickPoint!

In April, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) announced a two-year pilot project to allow liquor sales in up to six large grocery stores. The liberalization of liquor sales comes only 71 years after the end of Prohibition. Certainly, this step is more about increasing government revenue than serving consumers better, just as was the recent allowance of Sunday liquor sales.

The OLCC has a conflicting mission: to both (more…)

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Power of the purse accountability

QuickPoint!

Bob Williams, president of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, once served as a Washington state legislator. He often tells the story about a state government department that didn’t want to provide him and other legislators with requested information. So, Williams cut the department’s budget to zero.

What happened next? Williams and his colleagues got the (more…)

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The Field of Schemes

QuickPoint!

Paul Allen owns the Portland Trail Blazers and has privately funded the team for years. Allen’s Oregon Arena Corp. also owns the Rose Garden where the Blazers play. This largely privately funded arena just filed for bankruptcy. The important lesson to learn: Let private people risk private money when they bring Major League Baseball to Oregon.

A couple years ago, the City of Portland spent (more…)

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Truth in taxation and an educated, active citizenry

QuickPoint!

Various groups are organizing tax reform meetings throughout the state. The big question: How do we “fix” Oregon’s tax system. In reality, the goal is more like: How do we increase taxes?

Let’s assume the best of intentions — momentarily. Common sense tells us, before we start fixing something we should have (more…)

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Lower taxes strengthen the economy

QuickPoint!

Some folks are pushing higher taxes in Oregon as a way to strengthen the economy. A January 5 Oregonian editorial exemplifies this argument; it concluded, “the small [about $1 billion] tax increase is much better for the Oregon economy than big reductions in spending.”

Well, if a small tax increase is good for the economy, the state government should (more…)

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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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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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