the whitestick papers

looking at politics from a different perspective

Reflections on a setback

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It’s difficult to describe my emotions this morning.  Sure, I’m disappointed the people of Oregon decided to accept the job-killing taxes so many of us worked for the last six months to get on the ballot and let the Legislature know it was a bad idea in a recession.  When we did this sort of thing  five years ago, the result was so overwhelming the politicians didn’t attempt another new tax again until this session, and we naturally figured the hard work was over when we got the referendum petitions in and approved.  We assumed, with good reason, the people of Oregon wouldn’t pass a tax increase during record unemployment and a down economy.

But we didn’t count on the lessons the left had learned in the meantime.

We should have realized they were planning shenanigans when they tried to confuse voters by changing the vote on referendum, making a :”yes” vote mean “no, we don’t want the new tax” and vice versa.  We considered it a minor victory when that died due to the public outrage, but should have been on notice this was going to be a different sort of battle.

Then there was the stall tactic by the Governor who, although he knew we wanted to refer these taxes to the ballot, sat on them for weeks, deliberately reducing the time we had to gather the necessary signatures.  That didn’t work out so well; he eventually caved to the public pressure and we delivered 2-and-a-half times the required number of signatures, even with the shrunken window of opportunity.

The most outrageous con came next, when we found out the Legislature had changed the rules on how the ballot title was written.  Instead of a panel of those for and against working together to put out a reasonably neutral statement, they instead arranged for a Legislative committee, lopsided to favor the taxes, to write them.  As you might expect, instead of a balanced presentation the citizens got a bit of propaganda slanted to encourage a vote to accept the taxes.

The campaign was, for the most part, pretty typical.  We focused on the logical impact of raising taxes on small businesses and corporations.  They have a limited number of options when that happens; raise prices, reduce costs (usually by laying off workers), shutting down or moving out of state.  None of these are a great idea in a recession, and we said so.

Outspending us three to one, the public employee unions and their allies focused on two elements so the citizens were led to believe the new taxes wouldn’t touch them.  If all you talk about is the direct impact, that’s largely true, but it ignores the indirect consequences of losing jobs and businesses and, for that matter, the taxes they pay.

There was, of course, also the threat of having schools and safety services hit hard if the taxes didn’t go through.  That was largely a sham, as there was nothing in the Measures that required them to be reduced; that’s the Legislature’s job.  As it is, there’s a surplus in the state’s bank account more than four times the size of what these taxes raise and nothing to keep them from tapping into it.  In fact, I’d be willing to predict that, when the revenues drop because businesses fail and leave town (as our only Fortune 500 company, Nike, has said it will, along with its 7,000 jobs) over the next year or so they’ll have to use some of it to make up the difference.

The bottom line; I’m disappointed, but pleased and proud of the work we did.  We were outspent and outmaneuvered, but we also learned from this.   One of the conversations last night hit upon an idea that will turn the socialists’ claims and dire predictions against them, and there’s a new unity among groups that have, in the past, tended to look at each other a little suspiciously.

The Second American Revolution was dealt a blow yesterday, but no war has ever had a victory with every battle.  We’re down but not out, and we’re determined to win next time.

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Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

27 January 2010 at 9:35 am

Posted in Events

Tagged with , , , ,

One Response

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  1. You know, I wanted to go back to school to be a teacher, so I volunteered for a year in the classroom of a friend who was an older teacher, a flaming democrat to boot, but she gave me the full monty of what the teacher’s union was all about and how it hamstrings the good teachers…anyways, I realized I would go pathological being in that work environment. However, I also learned that volunteers have great power if they have their head on straight, and I always encourage people to do it. Especially if you can hook up with a teacher who knows what discipline, truth, objectivity and kindness is, they will give you full blessing to wreak that wonderful havoc on their kids(because they truly can’t).

    Well, all that is to say that the teacher’s union needs to be taken out back and shot(sorry, or wrapped in duct tape)–despite not be “allowed” to press their opinion, they sure had a huge influence in scaring parents. This whole measure shows the thinking(not) that is taught in schools and how it makes stupid manipulatable voters. My kids still go to public school, but we teach them to listen smart and ask REALLY GOOD QUESTIONS.

    On the other hand, the kids are smarter than you would think, I think maybe it’s more a question of giving up because no adult has any guts to live free or die.

    SOrry to rant n rave, you give a woman some crap and she gives you back a load of…(B said it first:Do

    celeste

    27 January 2010 at 5:18 pm


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