This week, the Oregon State Legislature will meet for the 200th calendar day this session. At a direct cost of $28,500 per day, these meetings have already cost Oregon taxpayers millions of dollars this year. Indirectly, the future cost to Oregonians will be even larger. Longer sessions give legislators more time to pass unnecessary laws and earmark unnecessary pet projects, while simultaneously making their activities less transparent.
Other states have figured this out, and have responded by (more…)
Canada’s single-payer health care system was dealt a near-fatal blow in June when that nation’s Supreme Court ruled Quebec’s ban on private health insurance led to unconstitutionally long waits for care. America effectively has a similar ban for Medicare patients, which should also be ended. (more…)
Companies buying hybrid gas-electric cars might be saving more on their taxes than on fuel. The State of Oregon now offers businesses tax credits worth thousands of dollars when they purchase hybrid vehicles. The underlying rationale has been to promote fuel-efficiency, yet cars with higher gas mileages are not rewarded with a larger tax credit. Instead, the size of the credit is based on the (more…)
Proponents of new and more extensive laws against discrimination seem to lack the courage of their convictions. They want to ban only certain kinds of decisions based on racial or other characteristics but not others. While there is no shortage of lofty sentiments expressed by those advocating enforceable civil rights for every group imaginable, these same advocates are strangely reluctant to apply their legal remedies broadly to Oregonians and American society generally. (more…)
A recent front-page photograph in The Oregonian featured two retired public school teachers, sunbathing and enjoying their full-pay retirements in Sun City, Arizona. The accompanying story revealed that Oregon taxpayers are paying 55 percent above the national average for school employee health and retirement benefits, an additional cost of $500 million per year.
Although this is great for some teachers and retirees, it’s fraught with (more…)
Government action often has unintended negative consequences. Of course, these consequences are generally forced upon powerless citizens, who are far removed from the eyesight of lofty judges and politicians. However, sometimes these consequences come back to haunt the very officials who created them. We may witness just such a scenario in the aftermath of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Kelo v. New London, which cleared the way for private developers to seize your home.
Supreme Court Justice David Souter may soon regret (more…)