Senator Jeff Kruse - April 5th, 2013


Senator Jeff Kruse
R-Roseburg, District 1

Phone: 503-986-1701    900 Court St. NE, S-211 Salem Oregon 97301
Email:     Website:
E-Newsletter                  Number 1, Volume 1 

 Working Hard For You



APRIL 5, 2013



I want to start out with a little disclaimer.  My email traffic this session has grown exponentially, which I think is wonderful.  As I do my own emails it has increased my work load, but it is important to me to know what people are thinking.  Unfortunately I don’t have time to respond to them all and I don’t want to just send back some canned political statement.  Eventually I will get around to most of the major subject areas in this format.  For those who wonder how they ended up receiving my newsletter, the answer is simple.  I feel anyone who wants to share their views with me might like to hear my views as well, so I add all emails to the list.


Today is “gun day” at the Capital.  The Senate Judiciary Committee is having 4 hours’ worth of hearings on 4 different bills.  No bill will be taken to work session today, but Senator Prozanski has stated they will be back on the agenda next Wednesday.  Meanwhile the Ways and Means Committee will be passing out a PERS bill that will come to the Senate floor for a vote next Tuesday.  At this point in time there are no Senate Republican votes for any of these bills, in fact I don’t think any of the gun bills will pass on the Senate floor.  I am a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, so this morning should be interesting.


The PERS bill is a different matter and will actually pass on Tuesday.  The reason I will be voting no is quite simple, it solves no problem.  The Governor’s budget assumed 800 million in savings from PERS reform.  The bill we will be voting on basically borrows from the future to show a little over 400 million in saving this biennium.  In reality it creates a loan that will have to be repaid in 2015, with interest, to the tune of almost 500 million dollars.  What is even worse is this plan not only doesn’t deal with any of the systems systemic problems, it would make it harder for us to deal with them in the future.


The known dynamic on the PERS issue is this; whatever reform is passed will immediately be challenged to the Oregon Supreme Court.  Based on this knowledge the Senate Republican plan on PERS reform is much more comprehensive.  If our plan was implemented and withstood the court challenge it would generate close to 2 billion dollars in savings.  I don’t think all of the provisions in our bill would stand in court, but it does point to a better pathway to resolve this issue.  Because we know we will be in court, wouldn’t it make sense to be able to ask all of the questions at one time to have some certainty going into the future?  I think this is a very prudent approach.  Having said that the reality is “PERS light” will pass on the Senate floor on Tuesday on a party line vote.


For the majority party to be able to create a balanced budget with this level of PERS reform they will have no choice but to create “new revenue”, which means either fee increases, tax increases, or probably both.  It should be pointed out I see nothing in their plan about streamlining government, in fact there are significant increases in several areas.  When I look at the potential level of borrowing and other legislative tricks that are being proposed to balance the budget for the 2013-15 biennium it frustrates me.  As legislators we should be looking at policy and budgets from a longer term perspective than we are.  Mortgaging the future to satisfy today is not what we should be doing.  One of the responses is, “if the economy picks up we will be fine”.  That is like maxing out your credit card today based on the hope you will get a raise sometime in the future.  That is not how I run my life and it is not how we should be running government.


The gun hearings start in about an hour.  When I was sworn in in January I swore to defend the Constitution of both the United States and the State of Oregon.  That clearly includes the 2nd Amendment and so my position on these bill is very clear (I will oppose them).  The bigger issue is the continued and incremental expansion of government intervention into peoples lives.  We continue to see more and more bills passed into law telling people what they can and cannot do.  Government is necessary and should provide essential services.  I just want to see that people have the ability to live their lives as unencumbered by government as much as possible.  This seems to be a fight we are losing step by step.  I see my job as a Senator to be twofold, to make sure government is operating in an efficient and appropriate manner but also to protect the people from government.  The battle will continue.




Senator Jeff Kruse







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