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Bernie Foster
Published: 09 February 2010

The Publisher: Bernie Foster

The ink has barely dried recording the YES votes on Measures 66 and 67, and legislators are talking about a new way to take money out of taxpayer's pockets by reforming the Kicker. What can they be thinking?
Surely they don't believe that most Oregonians have too much money in our pockets. Because as this recession drags on with no real recovery in sight - one with jobs that is - even middle class Oregonians are struggling to stay afloat. The tax-raising measures only passed because most voters believed they would be unaffected, and it is easier to pass taxes that impact only the relatively wealthy. The kicker is quite different.
Whether the kicker is a good idea or a terrible one is not the point.
What matters is that most Oregonians will need that little extra boost this year.
Yes we know essential services are in trouble and Salem SAYS it needs money to provide the education, health, food stamps and social services that are so in demand right now. But that's a long term problem that needs a range of long-term fixes. This year is not the year to sacrifice the Kicker.
Speaking of Salem's budget, surely something has to be done to make sure the Legislature starts to take control. For a start it is time to end biennial budgeting and get the numbers right annually. Yes. I know that a full-time legislature is a radical idea. But the idea that governing is a part-time job in this time of rapid change simply looks like insanity.
No family can budget two years ahead. Circumstances change much faster than that. Sometimes they change overnight. Just ask somebody who has lost a job or a business.
Let's modernize the budget process starting with legislators schedule. Then get on to diversifying the sources of state income.
But leave our Kicker alone.
What do you think?

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