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Lawmakers may have notched speed record
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Lawmakers may have notched speed record

BY CHARLES E. BEGGS

Even for Oregon's notoriously unpredictable Legislature, 13 minutes is something of a record. But that's how long a would-be special session lasted Tuesday, before House Republicans gave up the ghost. It was quite a change from 2003, when legislators met for a record-setting 227 days to try and plug the state's yawning budget gap, and from 2002, when they convened for no less than five special sessions between January and October.

06/01/2004
The Cost of Uncertainty
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Press Release

The Cost of Uncertainty

©2004 Copley News Service, 5/18/2004 Since enactment of the Bush "supply-side" tax-rate reductions, economic news has been almost singularly positive, despite the fact that we have been fighting a war. For months, the only economic indicator that didn't show conclusive signs of progress was the payroll employment numbers, but now that, too, has changed. During the last three quarters, real GDP has grown at its fastest rate in nearly 20 years - since Ronald Reagan was re-elected in a landslide - growing at an annualized rate of 5.5 percent.

05/18/2004
Conservative and Taxpayer Groups Back Congressional Budget Reform
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Press Release

Conservative and Taxpayer Groups Back Congressional Budget Reform

05/11/2004
CSE Urges House of Representatives to Oppose Motion that Would Enforce “Pay-As-You-Go” Provisions
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Press Release

CSE Urges House of Representatives to Oppose Motion that Would Enforce “Pay-As-You-Go” Provisions

On May 5th, 2004, CSE President Paul Beckner sent the following letter to Members of Congress. Dear Member of Congress: Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) and its 360,000 members urge the U.S. House of Representatives to reject the motion that is being offered this afternoon by Rep. Dennis Moore (D – 3rd) of Kansas as it would instruct the Budget Conferees to agree on pay-as-you-go enforcement provisions regarding direct spending increases and tax cuts.

05/10/2004
CSE Urges House of Representatives to Oppose Motion that Would Enforce “Pay-As-You-Go” Provisions
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Press Release

CSE Urges House of Representatives to Oppose Motion that Would Enforce “Pay-As-You-Go” Provisions

On May 5th, 2004, CSE President Paul Beckner sent the following letter to Members of Congress. Dear Member of Congress: Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) and its 360,000 members urge the U.S. House of Representatives to reject the motion that is being offered this afternoon by Rep. Dennis Moore (D – 3rd) of Kansas as it would instruct the Budget Conferees to agree on pay-as-you-go enforcement provisions regarding direct spending increases and tax cuts.

05/10/2004
Stock Option Expensing
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Press Release

Stock Option Expensing

There has been an ongoing discussion, and at times a heated debate, regarding the proper accounting treatment for employee stock options granted by American companies. The attached paper is one of the most interesting discussions we have found on the subject addressing this important topic. The white paper is authored by Kip Hagopian, a friend of many years of Jack Kemp and our chairman, Floyd Kvamme. For those interested in a thorough discussion of the issues at hand, we would highly recommend this paper to you. We have also posted a condensed version but suggest the full paper if your time permits.

04/28/2004
Fighting for Budget Process Reform
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Press Release

Fighting for Budget Process Reform

Congressman Jeb Hensarling is a Republican representing the Fifth District in Texas. A wise man once said that balancing the budget is like going to heaven. Everyone wants to do it, but nobody wants to do what you have to do to get there.

04/25/2004
Paving the Road with Pork
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Press Release

Paving the Road with Pork

With all the tough talk about reigning in federal spending and restoring fiscal responsibility to the federal government coming from Capitol Hill lately, it would seem legislators are serious about limiting the size of government and cutting wasteful spending in all ways possible. However, actions speak louder than words and lately, the actions have been expensive and wasteful.

04/23/2004
Cutting Spending and Living to Tell About It
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Press Release

Cutting Spending and Living to Tell About It

This report was published on March 22, 2004 by The Heritage Foundation. EXCERPT: "Conventional wisdom has long held that voters punish politicians who cut government spending. Politicians fear that they will be labeled uncaring, lose friends, and maybe even lose their jobs if they try to scale back the size of government, even for the sake of balancing a budget.

03/30/2004
Spending makes a better state
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Spending makes a better state

BY Jeff Thompson

The claim that Oregon government spending is out of control was an important part of the campaign against Measure 30. Emboldened by their success, the Washington, D.C.-based Citizens for a Sound Economy and their allies are sure to recycle these claims as they push “spending limits” that force deep reductions in public services over time. The chief problem with their rant is that it just isn’t true. Spending by state and local governments in Oregon has risen only with economic growth, leaving public services at a relatively constant level. Statistics don’t lie, but the folks at CSE do use them to deceive the public. CSE routinely decries “huge” spending increases without making any adjustments for inflation or population growth. Even these adjustments are insufficient to make an accurate assessment of growth in spending. The costs of major services, especially education and health care, tend to rise faster than inflation in general. The quickest way to see if spending is actually growing, or merely keeping up with the cost of and demand for services, is to compare it with income. Notably, CSE and company don’t do that. How has Oregon’s government spending changed compared with income; that is, with Oregonians’ ability to pay for the spending? State and local government general expenditures, not counting federal dollars and compared across peaks in Oregon’s business cycles, were 17.4 percent of income in 1978-79, 15 percent in 1988-89, and 15.2 percent in 1999-2000. That’s hardly evidence of a spending problem. (Since 2000, state spending has declined as a share of income.) The attack on public services also relies on misleading and meaningless cross-state rankings. Census figures show Oregon ranked eighth among states for total state and local government expenditures per capita in 1999-2000. The more relevant category of “general expenditures less federal aid,” however, shows Oregon state and local governments ranked 16th — just $50 above the national average. State spending alone fell below the national average. But what does a rank of “16” even mean? Is it good or bad? Is it “too high” or “too low”? Is Maine, which ranks 24th, with only $200 less spending per capita, really better than Oregon? The 10 lowest spending per capita states include Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arkansas, West Virginia, South Dakota, Tennessee and Kentucky — all “low services” states that hardly serve as models. Even cleared of deception, state-versus-state rankings offer little guidance. Oregonians needn’t neglect education, health care or other vital services just because residents of some other state have decided to do so. Who wants to win the race to the bottom? The vast majority of state and -local government spending goes to -services that are vital to all Oregonians: education, public safety and health care. Spending on these ser--vices has risen along with the costs of providing them and the ability to afford them. Major policy initiatives, such as the Oregon Health Plan and “tough on crime” reforms, have enjoyed broad public support. The idea that spending in Oregon indicates a Legislature run amok makes no sense. Governments must spend money to meet public needs. If Oregonians want to provide better education to more people, provide health care to more children, keep more criminals behind bars for longer and put more troopers on the road, we have to pay for it. Government, like every household and business, could become more efficient. Pursuing greater efficiency, though, is an ongoing process. It takes time and can often end up costing more upfront, saving only in the long term. Becoming more efficient is not an alternative to adequate funding.

03/19/2004

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