Revenue is not the problem

E. Werner Reschke

It’s the spending stupid.

Here is a speech I delivered on the state budget, during House Floor Session last week. 

Watch it on YouTube here:

Thank you Mr. Speaker:

According to the U.S. Treasury, during the first four months of the new fiscal year (which began in October 2016), the Federal Government took in over 1 Trillion dollars in revenue. Unfortunately “a Trillion dollars” is something we say far too casually. To help understand the scope of how big this number is, One Trillion dollars would be like someone giving you a million dollars — a million times. Another way to think about it is if you were to count to one trillion, saying two numbers every second, it would take over 15,000 years to reach 1 trillion. My fellow colleagues, One Trillion dollars is a lot of money. This amount broke a record for the amount of tax receipts collected in U.S. history.

If we look at the State level, to our own Revenue Department in Oregon, the story isn’t much different. In Oregon we also are expected to receive record revenues during the next biennum — which will mean an increase of 30% during the past six years. Record revenues. 30% increase. What could be wrong?

When we as a State government proclaim we have a revenue problem, when at the same time we are swimming in record revenues at both Federal and State levels, we are in essence placing blame for our budget problem on tax payers — they obviously aren’t paying enough. Frankly I think this is blame misplaced.

Rather than blaming our budget problem on corporations, businesses and tax payers we must look at the other side of the ledger: costs & spending. Unfortunately State government is currently structured in such a manner that is... unsustainable. There really is no other word for it. To make my point, even if Measure 97 had passed, it would’ve only been a temporary fix, because soon our costs would have grown to eclipsed the new revenue… and we would be right back in the same place needing yet another new tax.

My fellow colleagues, I ask that we quit blaming corporations, businesses and tax payers for our budget conundrum. This is our problem, right here, right now, in this chamber. We can solve this by working together. We can do this, and it is clearly within our power. 

In closing, I’d like to repurpose a phrase made famous during the 1992 Presidential election — “It’s the economy stupid.” However, today in Oregon it is not the economy, it is not the revenue, it is not the tax payer, businesses or corporations. No, today in Oregon “It is the spending stupid.”

Your LIBERTY First,


Capitol Phone: 503-986-1456
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-377, Salem, Oregon 97301