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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 23, 2011 7:43 AM. The previous post in this blog was Tokyo: Don't let infants drink tap water. The next post in this blog is El Linchpin. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

State employees union: Raise taxes

Here's breaking news:

[T]he state's largest public employees' union released a report Tuesday pointing to ways the state of Oregon might find an extra $1 billion.

As one might expect, the recommendations do not include reducing worker pensions or benefits...

-- Improving collection of delinquent taxes and being more restrictive with tax credits and deductions. The biggest savings identified in the report is more than $522 million that could be recouped by eliminating or tightening tax credits or deductions....

Uh huh.

Comments (21)

I have to admit if the numbers are right, 1 mgr per 5 employees seems a bit steep.

However, I think the issue will be just cutting some programs like BETC and farming out stuff like the OLCC. The state has bitten off way more than it can chew.

If they can take care of human services, schools and roads adequately, fine start spending on other programs. Unfortunately, these are all bottom of the pile.

Narrow minded and short sighted! Me thinks somebody has spiked their Kool-Aid with THC.

Wouldn't it be nice if the union put their ideas on the table but added public employee 7% contribution to health insurance, greater PERS contributions, 4% pay cuts until tax revenues pick up, workforce reductions besides in management, and revision of seniority provisions to weed out under-performing employees.

Many of us would consider the union's first list affecting us, if they would reciprocate and help too.

How about the ass-hats on Wall Street instead of taking Billions in Bonuses reimburse all the states pension funds the $830 Billion that they lost with there financial casino scheme!

They'd have a lot more credibility if they had also included a couple of ways they themselves are willing to help save money, such as having their members pay more for their health care and pensions.

"That government which robs Peter to pay Paul will generally have the support of Paul."

Not orginal with me, but seems to fit the bill.

I was told that the tax credits for energy efficient appliances is on the chopping block.

That seems totally counter-productive, as purchasing a new appliance helps the economy and reduces the energy needs for the region.

And yes the larger issue of government pension funds losing billions to Wall Street is an issue. But everybody has been brainwashed that the only place to make a buck is in the markets- which are gamed pretty much like Las Vegas.

I love these "let the other guy pay" answers to problems. They are so well thought out.

Actually cutting the tax credits for energy efficient appliances is a good idea. Most people don't replace their appliances until they go kaput. There is no need to give a tax break for what they were going to do anyway.

This proposal by the unions is mostly why I don't like unions. They never ever want to give up anything they have even if it means killing the golden goose.

How about eliminate all unnecessary layers of government, unnecessary boards, agencies and commissions, redundant levels of staff and offices, and make government more efficient.

Government is not a jobs program. (Otherwise, the #1 criteria for any government job should be "Do you currently have a job?" And if your answer is "YES" you are immediately disqualified for further consideration.)

Then...once government is efficient and we still need more money, will taxpayers need to give more.

Many of these "ideas" are band-aids that don't staunch the copious bleeding. Collecting unpaid taxes, as one example, is one-time money. Two years from now, we're right back in the soup. Government employee unions had better come to the table with some significant concessions now, lest they have even more draconian ones forced on them in the near future. People - even in Oregon - are growing tired of their whining.

Let them tax cake!

"I was told that the tax credits for energy efficient appliances is on the chopping block. That seems totally counter-productive, as purchasing a new appliance helps the economy and reduces the energy needs for the region."

You mean like bribing people not to buy a perfectly good top-loading clothes washer that costs half as much as the marginally more energy efficient and less convenient front loader? Purchasing a new appliance at half the cost, leaving money to spare, helps the economy, too.

Is a front loading washer really more Green? I've talked to several appliance repairmen who think the opposite. The washers are having several problems like retention of water in the pump and tumbler that causes rusting, stink, and deterioration of parts. The door seals last a very short time. When you figure in the costs, energy expended for parts, trips to the customer, etc., they really aren't more Green. But heck, when do the Green claims really get a fair, balanced audit with a true life cycle analysis?

I agree with Darren. Appliance replacement is usually done with a critical replacement need. Let the consumer make a educated choice to save energy and not be enticed with tax incentives. We need to wean the puppies.

I love these "let the other guy pay" answers to problems. They are so well thought out.

Wall Street and Goldman Sachs thought so--and got obscenely rich off of our country while you're here complaining about "unions" and "PERS". Wall Street is laughing its collective ass off at you. Keep up the good work, people--squabbling like hens over the tiny fraction of all wealth that actually is yours. The other 90% belongs to a small group of rich people--who would love nothing more than to see those pesky unions go away. Just ask the governor of Wisconsin.

What's amazing is the proof of this is right there in plain view, on the Web, on the television, documented by our own government, debated in our own government, yet people think that somehow "unions" are responsible. It's like blaming the nuclear accident in Japan on the chickens that some farmer kept on his farm there.

There oughta be a law that when speaking about money, you can't abbreviate the amount. No $k, $m, $b. That way it might sink into folk's heads that we are talking about a whole bunch of dollars.

Instead of saying the state has a $3.8B deficit, it'll say we have a $3,800,000,000.00 shortfall.

Going one step further. On a national level we have debt at $14,000,000,000,000.00.

Phastphil wrote:

How about the ass-hats on Wall Street...reimburse all the states pension funds the $830 Billion that they lost with there financial casino scheme!

You are confused. The $830 billion wasn't a warehouse full of cash that someone ran off with. The state pension fund gaps were predicated by pension schemes that promised guaranteed returns on speculative investments.

In the case of PERS, unrealistic returns were mandated by laws passed and protected by legislators (and signed by governors) that:

a) received enormous campaign support from public employee unions, and,

b) personally stood to benefit from their own participation in PERS.

As a taxpayer, I had little recourse against shady Wall Street execs. I was pissed when those institutions were bailed out, but that ship already sailed (on bipartisan winds no less).

If state pension funds want to sue all those "asshats on Wall Street", they can be my guest.

But that isn't at all what the unions are pursuing. Instead, they want taxpayers to backstop the pension insolvencies with new tax revenues (while public services are being cut).

Public employee unions have been the 800 lb gorilla in Oregon politics since the 1970's. They've spent tens of millions of dollars to help elect the politicians who forged PERS.

Absent a good faith effort by public employees to curtail the damage they helped to engineer, taxpayers should not willingly bail them out.


Well said Pancho.

There's no mysteries here in Oregon.

From TriMet to PERS the fix has been in with never any means to fund it.

Oregonians should be insulted at the claims these unfunded benefits were got in "good faith, collective baragining, negotiations".

That's some kinda twisted "negotiation" when no one is involved to represent the taxpayers who have to pay for the "agreements".

What's further insulting is a single elected, legislator or board member who approved these "agreements" has come clean and fessed up to knowing they were not funded.

Nope it has all come as a big surprise.

So there will be no consequences for the Randy Leonardites who perpetrated this enormous rip off and deficit.

Dear PanchoPDX
Wrong! You missed the the little "s" at the end of the word states which means that if one would total up all the state pension funds in the US you would find that because of the Wall Street created Financial Crisis pension funds lost $830 Billion give or take a few Billion here of there. Since pension funds are required to invest only Triple A rated securities and when the investment banks and the ratings agency colluded to rate the trash mortgage CDO's all pension fund throughout America took it in the shorts. Yes PERS has it's problems but to blame public workers for state budget shortfalls is pure sleight of hand. Look over there while Wall Street get away with the Crime of the century. I stand by my statement - instead of Wall Street Bonuses make then pay back the state pension funds.

But that isn't at all what the unions are pursuing. Instead, they want taxpayers to backstop the pension insolvencies with new tax revenues (while public services are being cut).

Er, bull. That's not even remotely true.

By all means, let's shred what's left of the lower middle class, drive the best state workers (the ones with other options) out of the public sector, demoralize and vilify the ones who are left so they can't do their best work, drive down purchasing power (and hence job creation) in already cash-starved rural communities, encourage private-sector employers to further impoverish their own workers, and make an already hideously unfair economic structure and tax system even more unfair.

That'll fix everything.


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