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Monday, December 13, 2010

Kitz says Oregon is in "death spiral"

He makes a big speech.

And another fat cat warns his Arlington Club buddies that the state is on the road to a California-style meltdown.

But doggone it, somehow we've still got $250 million in lottery money -- money that we could spend on anything -- to blow on Portland-to-Milwaukie light rail.

Apparently, the next four years will be largely detached from reality. The saddest part is that most voters won't notice.

Comments (24)

What's this I hear about the federal timber payment to the counties being discontinued in a couple of years?

"The saddest part is that most voters won't notice."

The saddest part is most voters won't have high enough paying jobs to pay taxes anyways. They'll vote for any freebies they can.

Also, don't forget the ton of money we've spent just studying the CRC.

I hope Neil steps out from behind the curtain soon and issues the death blow.

"Oregon is ungovernable." 2002

"On its current course, Oregon is literally on a death spiral," 2010

Governor Kitz... good things never change.

"The main problem, which Kitzhaber and a number of other speakers outlined, is that a soaring demand for government help -- caused by the recession and an aging population -- has outstripped the state's ability to pay."

Which is exactly why TriMet and it's partners are insane for proceeding with Milwukie Light Rail that the public does not need or want. Upwards of $1 Billion it will ultimately be ravaged from other government services and Kitzhaber's entire team and every single journalist is oblivious to it.

"Reiten neglected to include one telling figure. If Oregon had Washington state's average per capita income, an extra $25 billion would flow through the state’s economy. He left the crowd with a sobering thought. If Oregon continues to do business as usual, its future is certain.
“We’re on the road to the dysfunction in California,” he said.

No, we are not on a road.

Oregon has already left the road, plunged over a cliff and is falling into a California abyss.

Nothing is more demonstrative of this than insolvent TriMet and it's JPACT partners pursuing the fiscal madness of Milwaukie Light Rail.
Unfortunately the coming crash and explosion is envisioned by the partners (who control billions) as arriving at the green and sustainable utopia.

This is what happens when the biggest city and region has been turned over to the likes of a Sam Adams, TriMet and Metro.
Now we are about to hand over the state to someone who is least likely to recognize any of this reality.

Thus the inevitability of the plummeting crash.

Anyone who has been paying attention knows that these people think Oregon's future is dependent upon advancing more of the exact
same agenda that has been pushed for the last 20 years.

If we can't fix TriMet how will Kitzhaber fix the State? If we can't fix Oregon how does California or the country get fixed?

As a California native and former Oregon resident of 9 years, I am getting really tired of this equating of California to Greece.

Robert Speer wrote a tidy little column destroying this California = Greece logic at:


According to Speers, "Although California now has the worst teacher-student ratio in the country and ever-increasing numbers of English learners, student test scores improved dramatically between 1999 and 2009; the number of kids taking algebra and advanced math and science courses increased significantly; and black and Latino students narrowed the proficiency gap with their non-Hispanic white classmates"

Furthermore, "Yes, $25 billion is a lot of money, but as Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters pointed out recently, “it’s scarcely 1 percent of our [nearly $2 trillion] economic output, so closing the gap with either new taxes or spending cuts would have virtually no impact on the world’s eighth-largest economy.” The problem is political and ideological, not economic, he argues."

As for venture capital, "In the late 1990s, “California attracted an incredible 42 cents of every venture capital dollar invested in America,” Arends writes. “[I]n 2010 California just got a miserable, er, 50 cents of every venture capital dollar invested in America. … Wow. What a failed state. What a basket case.”

Concerning taxes, "What about taxes? They’re astronomically high in California, right? Well, no. According to the Tax Foundation, state and local taxes averaged 9.7 percent nationally in 2008. The figure in “crazy, liberal, communistical … California? Er, 10.5 percent,” Arends writes. “That’s right. The burden was all of 0.8 percentage points higher than the average"

How does California help the rest of the USA? "Finally, he notes, Californians pay far more in federal taxes than they get back. Between 1980 and 2005, they “bailed out the rest of American to the tune of about $650 billion in today’s dollars."

So please, no more of this California as a failed state nonsense.

Yeah, the fact that it has to pay its debts with scrip is no cause for concern.

Let's fix Oregon, and maybe the Portland Business Journal could start by fixing the first sentence in their article:

"Oregon Business Plan Steering Committee Chairman Pat Reiten called on 1,000 business, civic and political leaders to take of their rose-colored blinders and address the problems that are turning Oregon into a second-tier state."

As for these Arlington Club speakers, maybe Oregon should try to go down the road of California.

An education system where minorities are closing the gap with whites year after year, $2 trillion in economic output making us the world's 8th largest economy, 50 cents of every venture capital dollar in 2010 during the Great Recession (up from 42 cents during the Dot Com Boom), a tax rate that is only .8% higher than the national average, and a giver in taxes to the US rather than a taker.

Lastly, what about population growth? "The state already has one of the highest living standards in the country, and over the past 10 years (1999-2009) it’s grown much faster, per person, than the national average—by 15 percent, compared to 8.9 percent. That’s three times faster than low-tax Texas."


Meg Whitman ran on making California more like Texas along with spending the most for election than any other candidate including Bloomberg. Well, look at her ideas turned out. They made Jerry Brown the oldest Governor of California after he was the youngest Governor.

These ideas from Reiten are nothing more than beltway nonsense regurgitated via the Cascade Policy Institute. If Oregon went through with any of them, Oregon would be more like Ireland than California.

Actually I think Oregon state's budget deficit can be closed rather swiftly by freezing spending at last session's levels and cutting a few benies for state workers no longer making sense. Such as no employee contribution towards retirement. Other work places require matching.

It's still sad however Kitzhaber hears from the likes of Brett Wilcox and Jules Bailey both of whom are heavily in to receiving state and federal government subsidies. I would hope BETC would be left to die. The U.S congress was close to letting the ethanol credit die but its been held hostage by the Dems inorder to retain the Bush tax cuts.

Democrats... holding hostages? Too funny.

Stockholm syndrome?

I want to live in Ryan Voluntad's California. But, then again, as a kid I wanted to live in Candyland.

Don't you love how he uses the phrase "squeeze shoot" and thereby perpetuates the myth that but for this governorship he would be out wrasslin cattle.

What pap! Wave the magic wand and come up with 25K jobs? Wages to the national average? We were there in 1973-78. Weren't those great years.
We have always been and always will be below WA in wages.(Boeing, Microsoft for starters) How many national companies have moved headquarters to Oregon in the last 20 years?
We can prune the tree now or wait until it topples from its own weight

Wasn't this guy the governor for 8 years not that long ago? And the state is now in a "death spiral"?

Can't believe we re-elected this creaky old mummy expecting different results. (Though, the sad thing is that isn't even true. I can totally believe Oregon re-elected him.)

I wonder if most readers understand how limited the power vested in the office of governor actually is, and what the role of the state legislature actually is?

Much of the complaining I hear is about effects caused by the *legislature*, not the office of Governor. Are there people who truly believe that one person runs the entire state and is responsible for its economy and all of its problems? Really?

Ecohuman, you are underestimating what governors can do. A big part of their power is in the ability of appointment. Those appointees make a whole lot of our "rules" that can have anything from no to major impacts on a states direction. The second part of their power is of course the power of VETO. Most legislatures wont put up dreck unless they know the gov will sign it off.

A big part of their power is in the ability of appointment. Those appointees make a whole lot of our "rules" that can have anything from no to major impacts on a states direction.

Most power positions in the state are not appointments. It's naive to believe that somehow every person a governor appoints is an ideological extension of him or her.

The second part of their power is of course the power of VETO. Most legislatures wont put up dreck unless they know the gov will sign it off.

Vetoes only highlight lack of bipartisanship in the state legislature. Much of what's been vetoed in the past 40-45 years has been the output of extremely partisan efforts.

It would be nice to just abolish Tri-Pork and get a real transit agency. Maybe one that does not waste time with meaningless expansions that please no one.

"Most power positions in the state are not appointments"

How about a list of the power postions?

And we can see how it shakes out.

TriMet is governed by a Board of Directors appointed by the Governor of Oregon. So is the Lane Transit District.

Apparently, there's enough of us here who believes that TriMet has quite a bit of influence here in the Metro region - many of us depend on TriMet just to get to and from work; others are simply fed up with the amount of taxes TriMet consumes with little to show for it other than big pictures of Fred Hansen smiling next to a MAX train, or Mary Fetsch enjoying some fois gras at a TriMet funded V.I.P. party to celebrate the MAX Green Line opening.

Another appointment by the Governor is to the Port of Portland's Commission - the agency that is responsible for virtually all international trade in and out of Oregon (by nature of its control of the Portland International Airport and the marine terminals - Terminals 4, 5, and 6.)

The Oregon Transportation Commission has a huge role in dictating ODOT's function - as well as money that passes through ODOT to other agencies, from Metro and TriMet, down to individual cities and counties. While many like to blame ODOT for various things, ODOT is but a puppet on strings - controlled by the OTC and the Governor. The more mundane roles at ODOT which are shielded from the OTC - and thus are not politicized - actually work quite well.

Well, there's three entire boards/commissions that have major power and are all appointed by the Governor...

Eric H. also did not mention the numerous State Department heads that are largely appointed by the Governor.

This may be the answer to my question above. It'll be interesting if this one is played out.

“Counties reliant upon timber industry face financial collapse
Federal timber budgets are due to expire in 2012”

Read more: http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20101204/NEWS/12040323/Counties-reliant-upon-timber-industry-face-financial-collapse#ixzz18COI2Zb7

The real power positions at Oregon PUC are the ones that serve the really huge corporate monsters (NW Natural, PGE, and Pacificorps)-- those are all gubernatorial appointees.

The gravitational pull that those three firms alone exert on politics in this state is so profound that it's invisible and completely unquestioned, like gravity itself. The utilities hardwired the law to their liking a long time ago, and made sure to have appointed PUC commissioners to ensure that there wouldn't be any taint of populism in the state supposedly so concerned for the little guy.

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