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
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.
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:
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.
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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.
Download the .pdf here, or click through the break to read the 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.
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.
15 Years of Audits Reveal a Pattern of Fiscal Irresponsibility at the Oregon Commission for the Blind
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.
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?