Senator Jeff Kruse - June 29th, 2013


Senator Jeff Kruse
R-Roseburg, District 1

Phone: 503-986-1701    900 Court St. NE, S-211 Salem Oregon 97301
Email:     Website:

 Working Hard For You



June 29, 2013



Last night the Senate Revenue Committee passed out both the tax increase bill and the PERS bill, both on party line votes.  The word from the Senate President’s office is the PERS bill will not come to the Senate floor for a vote unless the Republicans vote for tax increases, which will not happen.  They have already put out a press release stating the tax increase would, among other things, give schools and additional two hundred million dollars.  The reality is, real PERS reform would give schools at least three times that amount.  At this point it has become an issue of political posturing rather than good public policy.


I know there are some who have accepted President Obama’s sound bite about “the rich paying their fair share”, but I think one should look beyond the sound bite.  Currently there are eleven states in which the number of people on government assistance is greater than the number of people paying taxes, and there are many other states including Oregon headed in that direction.  This should be very troubling even to the most liberal among us.  A wise person once said, “The problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other people’s money”.  And yet, in Oregon, we continue to massively expand our social programs.  I have no problem helping people who are in real need, but we have created a permanent underclass in this country.  The welfare state has been set up to insure that people will remain dependent on government.  The system even financially penalizes those who try and become more self-sufficient.  We don’t need more taxes, we need to change the system so people will have the motivation to improve their lives rather than forever depend on government handouts.


In my last letter I talked about the Christmas tree bill, and I thought maybe I should do more of an explanation as it has nothing to do with actual Christmas trees.  In principle this is the budget reconciliation bill.  An example might be like this:  the budget for agency X was passed two months ago and things have changed since its passage.  This could be anything from a change in federal law or funding to simply a mistake in the original calculations.  Rather than bring the budget for agency X back and go through the whole process again the adjustments will be made in this bill.  One real example we are trying to get inserted into the bill this time has to do with a scientific study on the Marbled Murrelet.  There is currently a law suit stopping the timber sale on the Elliot State Forest impacting the revenue stream in the Common School Fund and potentially impacting timber harvest on private lands as well.  The real science about this bird is minimal at best and we think any decisions we make should have a sound basis in fact.  The budget for the Division of State Lands has already passed, and that is where the adjustment needs to be made.  We are proposing the three hundred thousand dollars they had in their budget for a new HVAC system for their headquarters building be redirected to the study.  Making last minute adjustments like this are easy to defend.


There is, however, a dark side to this bill.  This is where a lot of the vote trading and “pork” shows up.  Legislator X might say, I will vote for your bill on the condition I get money for my special project, and that funding will magically appear in this bill.  This get to the reason it is called the Christmas tree bill, because of all the gifts included in it.  Some of specific funding streams in this bill may actually be a good idea, but we will not be given the time to actually make that determination.  This bill will probably be over 100 pages long, and we will be asked to vote on it without being given the time to go through and understand all that is in it.  I know that I will be voting against the bill, simply for the fact that I cannot support something I haven’t been given the time to read and understand.


Our form of government is a representative republic, which means those of us who are elected have the duty to fully understand the ramifications of the actions we take, or don’t take.  Anyone who votes for a bill or budget without fulfilling that basic requirement is not doing their job.




Senator Jeff Kruse







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