Oregon’s spending problem drives up deficits as Dems propose more tax increases

Posted on May 21, 2010 by

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Tax and spend.  Spend and tax.  Oregon Democrats once again flaunt their ignorance of the basic principles of economics.

They passed Measures 66 & 67, which has driven away taxpaying businesses and jobs for taxpaying employees.   Now they wonder why their revenues are down, why schools are facing serious budget shortfalls, and why essential services like police and firefighters are facing cuts.

Still, they’re unwilling to give up their fantasy $250 million light rail project – which will require continous taxpayer subsidies – while TRUE priorities like repairs for the crumbling Sellwood bridge take lower precedence.  They won’t give up their dream of a cycler’s utopia, courtesy of $600 million in new bike paths.

From the Oregonian:

Oregon risks 10 years of crushing, multibillion-dollar budget shortfalls unless it immediately puts the brakes on spending and starts offering fewer services, cautions a new report released Thursday.

This is no attack by anti-tax or anti-government factions. The warning comes from Gov. Ted Kulongoski‘s “reset Cabinet,” a group of trusted advisers he appointed to assess the state’s long-term fiscal outlook and suggest changes.

“We find that Oregon faces a decade of deficits, during which we cannot expect to be bailed out by a rebounding economy or a more generous federal government,” the report, says. If state spending is allowed to grow at its current rate, it goes on to say, “lawmakers and voters will find themselves again and again between the rock and the hard place of cutting services or raising taxes.”

Unlike the federal government, which can run deficits and print money to cover it, states are required to balance their budgets. So a shortfall means either raising revenue or cutting programs.

So what is their solution?  Why, raise taxes on struggling taxpayers, of course!

Portland Mayor Sam Adams officially unveiled his $450 million budget proposal Wednesday, calling for steep increases in water and sewer fees that are already among the nation’s highest. Plus, some of that money would go toward college scholarships, parks tree maintenance and river planning.

The budget is bound to inflame ratepayers who are already upset about a plan the mayor announced in March to spend $20 million in sewer “contract savings” on bioswales and bikeways. Some customers have said that any savings should be returned to ratepayers or used to blunt future rate increases.

The City Council tentatively agreed Wednesday on a 2010-11 budget that includes a 6.3 percent increase in sewer and stormwater rates, and a 12 percent hike in water fees. Combined, the average residential utility bill would increase 8 percent, from $72.17 to $77.99 a month — or $234 every quarterly billing cycle. The council will take a final vote next week.

The budget also includes a new $15 or $30 annual fee on homeowners who live in neighborhoods that receive leaf pickups in the fall, and a small increase in garbage rates.

Way to kick struggling middle class families when they’re down!   Only Democrats could convince themselves that the best way to deal with hemorrhaging is to bleed the taxpayers for a transfusion WITHOUT stopping the bleeding in the first place!

Cross posted at ThoughtsFromAConservativeMom.com

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Posted in: Oregon