Monday, June 01, 2009

Why I love the Bend Bulletin

Read this all the way to the end. I received it over email, so I assume this is not a copyright violation. If it is, I will take it down. But at least there is one newspaper in Oregon that is calling out the ridiculous job killing policies Oregon is pursuing.


Bend Bulletin
June 1, 2009

Let Oregon politicians put any kind of spin they want on the latest state unemployment figures. The truth is, we lost out to Michigan — again.

Try as the Oregon Legislature did, Michigan has kept the crown of the nation’s unemployment king.

Michigan reported a 12.9 percent unemployment rate in April. We Beaver Staters staggered in behind at No. 2, reporting a flat 12 percent. It gets worse. Michigan pulled away. Its rate grew by 0.3 percentage point from March to April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We almost didn’t grow at all, moving up only 0.1 percentage point.

The Legislature can revel with some pride in the No. 2 slot. It has earned it. It has led us this far. But somewhere along the way, Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s strategy of The Oregon Way has lost its way. There may be hundreds of pages of new green requirements, new taxes and new regulations generated by this Legislature. It has not been enough.

Don’t despair. We can leave Michigan in the dust. We can be christened the king. There’s still time left this legislative session.

Brace yourself for what may come. All the Legislature must do is to keep doing what it has been doing: Keep digging the hole from which no job can return.

Let’s review:

• Thank goodness the legislators didn’t tweak the state’s minimum wage law. Oregon’s minimum wage went up by 45 cents per hour on Jan. 1 as the economy plunged in a nosedive. Legislators killed a bill that would have required increases in minimum wage to be suspended if the state unemployment rate was flying high above the national average. That was a close one. Employers may have been able to hire more people.

• There’s still hope for more new taxes. There’s a plan to single out the wealthiest Oregonians for tax increases. If one proposal becomes law, we could tie Hawaii for imposing the highest personal income tax rate. That’s a masterstroke, although you have to wonder if legislators will be satisfied with not being a tax leader. Oh well, maybe that will be enough to get those wealthy folks to leave the state. We don’t need their capital, their knowledge. They can help us get to No. 1 and take their jobs somewhere else.

• The Legislature’s efforts to hold down health care costs have been suitably minimal. That fits right in with making it more expensive to hire anyone. Kulongoski isn’t touching the rich health benefits of full-time state employees. Those workers contribute nothing toward their premiums and have no annual deductible. The plan for statewide health care reform is its own form of legislative genius. The Legislature wants a tax to pay for health care that will raise the cost of health care without any firm commitment to shaving costs. It’s a surefire hit to jobs.

• The Legislature hasn’t been just noodling around on green leadership. There’s a firm commitment to driving up the cost of energy, so Oregonians will have to pay more green for power than people in other states. That’ll make employers considering relocating to Oregon think twice. In a related move, the Legislature has done its best to restrict construction of new destination resorts. Resorts could have meant construction jobs and new homes for people who were likely to throw us off track by having jobs.

Fear not, there’s more than that in store. But sometimes it takes more than swarms of clever schemes to shoo away jobs. Every campaign needs a focus, a rallying point. For that purpose, we unveil below a humble suggestion for a new state flag. Behold:


Anonymous said...

As a transplanted PDXer to the dry side, the BendBully can be conservative as well as liberal in their opinion pieces. But this was mocks TeddyK as well as the best mockers have done.

MAX Redline said...

It's a great catch. Thanks!

OregonGuy said...

Someone with access to ink, and a brain. In Oregon.

Thanks, Rob.

Rob Kremer said...

I've been a fan of the Bend Bulletin since I ran for State Sup't.

I went in for my interview with their editorial panel. It was about an hour. They were really tough on me. Matt Wingard was with me (he was my campaign manager.)

We left, both of us kind of chuckling about how much it seemed the two guys hated me.

A week or so later, they wrote the editorial. It was a very positive endorsement, the nicest one written by any Oregon newspaper.

I was stunned. They raked me over the coals. I never dreamed they were doing anything other than what all the other papers did, but I figured it out. They asked tough questions, put heat on me, and didn't reveal at all that they actually liked my answers.

Kinda like journalists might treat you. Only time I saw it on the campaign trail, really.

rural resident said...

The flag is OK, but shouldn't there be a windmill (that our leaders can tilt at) in the background?

The editorial raises many good points, but doesn't mention one of the chief culprits: Oregon's employment-stifling land use regulations. At a time of double-digit unemployment and tax revenues doing a cliff dive, the legislature has continued to tighten the noose that strangles job creation.

Just think what will happen if Kitzhaber gets another turn as governor. We might make a real run at Michigan, even with the flood of auto industry layoffs they're about to suffer.

Anonymous said...

As a former resident of Bend and a reader of the Bend Bush er-er Bulletin, nothing coming from that rag surprises me anymore. Take the stance on putting windmills all across the Steens Mtn. What a stupid position. But at least the editorial staff of the Bulletin is consistant--stupid but consistant. I'm so glad to be far away from the idiotic neocons of Central Oregon. It's sad because Bend is a beautiful place. But I don't miss the majority political persuasion of the place. Good riddance and good luck. Bob F.