Oregon’s legislature has wisely chosen to pass on Governor Kulongoski’s next item on his wish list, kicker “reform.” More like removal. Longingly coveted by the spend out of any problem crowd, the kicker sits as a slap in their face as they cry endlessly of shortfalls and their inability to set priorities. To them, nothing can be cut, and so they throw out those things that we all agree should be protected and suddenly they can find all sorts of savings by cutting services to those of us who are most tied to those services; Children, the handicapped, and the elderly. Didn’t we just pass a couple of new tax raises that were intended to do just that? Are these just one year taxes? Of course not. Taxes are never temporary, and if, a few days after spending those unfair tax increases into being, the unions who run our legislature is already planning on needing even more of our money next year. Or today if they could have gotten it. The kicker is money that they overcharged us for and that means that if they need to keep it they are not tightening the belt where they need to but instead relying on the increasingly strident voice of the public service unions to supply them with the clout they need to bully any tax measure through.
These people that are in charge have been there for a while. Most of them for quite a while. If they know what they are doing and have such a handle on what is needed in our state, that would mean that things are improving and have been for a while. Is this school funding thing a new development? Our unemployment must be several points below the national average. Our children must be achieving in the upper brackets in all grades. Businesses must be flocking to our state. The Willamette must not be among the most toxic rivers in the western states. We must be leaders in clean, affordable electricity. We are one of the bluest states in the union. By now we should be living in heaven on earth, although don’t call it heaven or it will compromise the separation of church and state.
All this improvement must be happening in another part of the state, though, because so far my neighbors are unemployed, several have moved because they couldn’t afford their mortgages or rent. The ones who are working are working two jobs just to survive. I can fish less and less because of degradation of our rivers, and I have my son in a virtual school at home because the schools in the area were failing to meet his needs,(we are very involved parents) and I see more homeless families in the area than ever before.
I’d like to give the democratic caucus kudos for being prudent and avoiding messing with the kicker, but they admittedly just find it politically prudent to wait before going after more of our money. They still think that they will get it. They just want us to cool off a little bit about what they just rammed through. We are just the dumb herd, after all. I don’t think that the consequences of this tax and spend binge will go away soon. Not by the beginning of the next session, or the next election, for that matter. Sooner or later rational thinking has to come into play, even in Salem. Don’t they work for us? Shouldn’t they give us credit for knowing what we want them to do?