Funny, when Gov. Kate Brown was running for re-election this year, she repeatedly declined to answer direct questions about tax policy (see The Oregonian). She also declined to say how much additional revenue the state would need.
Voters re-elected her knowing that they would have to wait until late this year for the governor to release her budget plan and learn of specific plans to raise revenue. (Read about her proposed budget here, which includes MILLIONS for challenging President Trump’s policies and almost $3 MILLION for prepaid Oregon ballots so voters won’t have to buy stamps.)
That plan will come with a HEFTY price tag for Oregonians. And an English major has been hired to make sure you understand the ramifications of new tax policies…
The Oregonianreports that the governor has hired a new staffer to work on policy to develop billions of dollars in tax and fee increases. From their report:
“Christian Gaston, who was the spokesman for Brown’s 2018 re-election campaign, is taking on a new role as the governor’s revenue policy adviser. Gaston worked for former Gov. John Kitzhaber at the end of his third term and beginning of his fourth term.
Gaston’s annual salary is $97,000, according to the governor’s office.
Gaston started his career as a reporter and editor at the Forest Grove News Times, then worked approximately 18 months for The Oregonian/OregonLive as a Legislature and state politics reporter. Gaston left The Oregonian/OregonLive to work on policy research for Kitzhaber’s 2014 re-election campaign and briefly worked as a communications adviser for Kitzhaber’s administration until the Democrat resigned in February 2015.
Gaston studied English at Portland State University, according to a biography posted online during his time as Multnomah County Chair Deb Kafoury’s policy and research director. He took that job in 2015 after working for Kitzhaber.”
I find it interesting that an English major is now a tax policy expert. But maybe that background will be helpful in determining the language necessary to “craft” a bill/budget that voters will accept.
When the “Affordable” Care Act was passed, it expanded tax-payer funded health coverage through Medicaid. States that agreed to participate and expand eligibility would be reimbursed by the federal government at 100% of the costs with those reimbursement costs declining by 2020.
As Nasdaq reported in 2016, states would take a hit to their budgets once the reimbursements were reduced. From their report:
“At this point, many states have seen dramatic increases in their Medicaid enrollment levels beyond original expectations, which may pose serious fiscal consequences.
While this growth speaks volumes about the progress toward meeting the federal government’s goal of increasing the number of Americans with health insurance, it arguably falls short in addressing the financial burden to state governments.
With federal reimbursement levels declining in a few years, states have largely focused on the most economical and efficient delivery methods (e.g., health maintenance organizations) to help alleviate fiscal costs going forward. Still, budgetary pressures are likely to persist. Enrollment projections were wrong and costs have exceeded expectations.That is why more than 20 states, mostly conservative, Republican-dominated states, opted out of joining the ACA program and are now enjoying an “I told you so” moment after analyzing the program’s fiscal costs.”
Oregon Live reported on Tuesday that the state’s general fund and lottery revenues could total $23.6 billion from 2019 to 2021, a 5 percent increase from the current budget, yet the state could still go $623 million in the red, according to a tentative budget overview from the Legislative Fiscal Office and Department of Administrative Services.
And the main cause of this deficit? Rising costs for the state’s Medicaid program. From their report:
“Under the Affordable Care Act, states such as Oregon that expanded Medicaid must pick up a greater share of the cost over time. Existing taxes that fund the program are also set to wind down.”
Adding to that deficit is education costs that will increase due to the passage of Measure 98 in 2016. That will result in an increase in spending on the programs by $147 million annually.
How’s that “big f*cking deal” working out for you now, demorats?
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Free to roam in sanctuary Oregon: Illegal alien Gallardo/Clackamas County Sheriff’s photo
From Oregon Live: Federal officers say they placed an immigration hold in March on a man facing domestic violence allegations but the Multnomah County jail wouldn’t recognize their civil detainer.
The man is now accused of killing his wife and dumping her body in a ditch near a summer camp outside Sandy in Clackamas County.
The case is the latest to shine the spotlight on Oregon’s controversial sanctuary law just as voters in next week’s election will decide whether to repeal the law.
The matter goes to the heart of the debate over the 31-year-old law, a major thorn in the side of the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has singled out Oregon and other states with similar laws as a haven for criminals who don’t belong in the United States.
It also exposes the fraying relationship between the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The latest case has both agencies accusing the other of not protecting the Portland community.
ICE officials said they put a hold on Martin Gallo-Gallardo on March 6 after he was arrested and accused of felony fourth-degree assault in the alleged abuse of his wife. The agency provided The Oregonian/OregonLive with a copy of the receipt from the fax they sent to the Sheriff’s Office.
Gallo-Gallardo, a Mexican citizen, illegally entered the U.S., according to ICE. Border Patrol officers had previously apprehended him multiple times, federal officials said.
ICE wanted the county jail to alert immigration officers before Gallo-Gallardo’s release so they could pick him up and hold him for deportation proceedings.
County sheriff’s officials said they didn’t get the ICE request but wouldn’t have followed it anyway. They argue that the detainers are administrative requests, not criminal warrants, and don’t meet state and federal law.
Gallo-Gallardo, 45, posted bail and prosecutors soon dismissed the felony assault allegations when his wife and a daughter wouldn’t cooperate in the case and a grand jury didn’t return an indictment, according to court records and investigators.
This week, Gallo-Gallardo was charged with murder, accused of fatally stabbing his wife, Coral Rodriguez Lorenzo, 38.
An ICE spokeswoman suggested if Multnomah County had alerted the federal agency so its officers could pick up and hold Gallo-Gallardo before he was released from jail, he probably wouldn’t have returned to his family.
“ICE maintains that cooperation by local law enforcement is an indispensable component of promoting public safety,” said Tanya J. Roman, a spokeswoman for the ICE regional office that covers Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska.
“It’s unfortunate that law enforcement agencies like the Multnomah County jail refuse to work with ICE to promote public safety by holding criminals accountable and providing justice and closure for their victims,” she said.
Sheriff Mike Reese has said his deputies will hold a person for ICE only when they receive a federal criminal arrest warrant signed by a judge, and won’t share information with federal immigration authorities.
The Sheriff’s Office said it never received the civil detainer for Gallo-Gallardo, though it wouldn’t have kept him on an administrative immigration hold in any case, said Sgt. Brandon White, sheriff’s spokesman.
The Sheriff’s Office pushed back at ICE in a scathing response Friday. “ICE is putting our community at risk with their failed enforcement strategy of not using the authority the agency already has to hold people accountable,” the office said in a statement.
“No Oregon jail can hold someone on a civil detainer based on the federal court case Miranda Oliveras v. Clackamas County. The U.S. Attorney’s Office knows this, ICE knows this, but they persist in pursuing this failed strategy. Federal officials had ample time to do their job. They had his name, address and his telephone number.
Kate Brown, the first openly bi-sexual demorat governor of Oregon, is up for re-election this November. She claims she “has already done more to improve transparency in state government than any other governor in Oregon’s history.”
Let’s take a look at her record, shall we?
According to a report from Forbes earlier this year, their audit of Gov. Brown revealed nearly 4,000 redacted items from her official state calendar. The governor redacted calendar entries on nine out of every ten days since taking office. In addition to these transparency issues, we found potential violations of Oregon state law regarding Brown’s credit card spending.
“The governor is flouting Oregon open records laws and blurring the line between the taxpayer-funded agency resources and her campaign activities. Furthermore, Brown used public funds for private purposes – during her time as secretary of state and as governor.
Now we’ve discovered systemic redactions from Brown’s calendar. Through Brown’s first 1,156 days as governor (February 2015 through April 2018), 994 days on her official calendar included redacted information. There are up to 14 line-item redactions per day.
Oregon State Law (ORS 192.355 Section 2a) allows redactions for information of a “personal nature” (i.e. doctor’s appointments). But in Brown’s calendar, there were nearly 4,000 items redacted, including names of people Brown met with, travel locations, campaign events, and even entire calendar days.
Brown’s calendar was packed with 500 events tagged as “campaign,” with further details redacted. When we asked the governor for comment, spokesperson Chris Pair cited a circuit court case – not a completely settled law – arguing the public has no right to know.”
Guess what else Gov. Brown has done to improve transparency in state government? According to Oregon Live, she and the state agencies she oversees have kept proposed bills confidential while legislative lawyers draft legislation.
This is significant because how the state plans to pay for her policies in 2019, if re-elected, is not being made available to the voting citizens of her state before the November election. Fortunately, a judge in Marion County ordered that she release approximately 250 draft proposed bills by Friday.
“Sarah Weston, a lawyer for the Oregon Department of Administrative Services, said the state plans to ask the Oregon Court of Appeals to halt the records release and reverse the Marion County court’s decision.
“The request forms are fundamentally a communication between the client and the client’s lawyer,” Weston said. She cited a statute that says legislative lawyers may draft bills requested by agencies, if the governor signs off on them.
In previous years, Portland business attorney Greg Chaimov – himself a former legislative lawyer – had asked for the agencies’ bill request forms and obtained them relatively quickly, according to his lawyer John DiLorenzo. The firm where Chaimov and DiLorenzo work, Davis Wright Tremaine, shares the information with its clients and friends free of charge, DiLorenzo said. Those entities often want to see what state officials are proposing so they can lobby against bills they dislike. In response to a reporter’s question, DiLorenzo confirmed that one of Chaimov’s clients is the business-allied political nonprofit Priority Oregon, which has been running attacks ads against Brown.
This year, the governor’s office told Chaimov he would have to deal with the Department of Administrative Services, and that agency said it would not release the records because they were protected by attorney-client privilege.
The administrative department had also informed other state agencies in May that legislative concepts would “be temporally exempt from disclosure [under the Public Records Law] until Legislative Counsel has submitted bill drafts to the Governor’s Office for final approval (this should be done by November 30, 2018),” DiLorenzo wrote in a court filing. He noted that would be well after the election.
“Although it is expected that agencies will have discussed legislative concept ideas with stakeholders, agencies are directed to treat this document as confidential and privileged and, accordingly, not to share the text of this form outside of state government before legislation is drafted and finalized,” the department wrote, according to a court record.”
Prove that you are all for “transparency” Gov. Brown: Release the proposed bills before the November election. If you are so confident of your plans and policies, you should be quite proud to let the citizens of Oregon know how you plan to spend their hard-earned tax dollars!
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Shenoy (l) being rewarded for donating to Gov. Brown (r)
The State or Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) is in a big financial hurt. In February 2017 it had $22 BILLION in unfunded liabilities, owing more money to former employees than they have in the bank.
In April this year, the New York Times did a story on Oregon’s PERS calling it a “severe, self-inflicted crisis.”
Read the whole New York Times story here as they describe how a former university president draws $76,111 per month, a former football coach draws more than $46,000 per month, and that more than 2,000 employees will soon draw a monthly pension in excess of $100,000 per month.
As a result of the financial crisis of PERS, many essential government services are “slashed.”
So who better to manage this whopping financial crisis? A former CFO and accountant who has a background in pension management information technology.
Last Thursday, the governor announced she chose Sadhana Shenoy to lead the PERS board as “she’s extremely bright” and has “great technical expertise.”
Shenoy will need to be confirmed by the state senate.
According to Oregon Live: “…Shenoy lacks any direct experience in pension management or administration. That’s experience that governor’s office originally said it was looking for in a new board chair, and background that could come in handy at a time when the administrative complexity and political profile of the system are rising.
Shenoy said, “I have the technical skills and background to lead a board oversee (sic) the management of PERS Funds with responsibility, acumen and foresight. These skills include a sound background in Finance, Accounting and Mathematics and working proficiency in modeling tools and techniques.”
One interesting item that Oregon Live reports: “With Thomas’ resignation and Shenoy’s confirmation by the Senate, it (the PERS Board) would be made up entirely of Portland-area Democrats – one a union leader and two others, including Shenoy, who are donors to Brown’s campaign.”
The PERS Board is supposedly a “bipartisan” entity. Well, as much as it can be in progressive Oregon.
You cannot win anything with proggies who love illegal aliens. They defy immigration laws and make up their own rules.
Gov. Brown has vowed to keep Oregon a sanctuary state.
From Newsweek: Governor Kate Brown said she will refuse any order from President Donald Trump to send Oregon’s guard troops down south to the US-Mexico border.
Trump wants National Guard troops sent to the Mexican border as his effort to build an impenetrable wall stalls because his administration is struggling to secure enough funds from Congress or other sources. He originally said Mexico would pay for the wall, but it has refused.
In a presidential memorandum authorizing the request of deployment of Guards to the border, Trump says U.S. security is “imperiled by a drastic surge of illegal activity”, in particular drug trafficking by gangs and unlawful immigration.
He said it is a “crisis” of “lawlessness” at the southern border. “If @realDonaldTrump asks me to deploy Oregon Guard troops to the Mexico border, I’ll say no,” tweeted Democratic Gov Brown. “As Commander of Oregon’s Guard, I’m deeply troubled by Trump’s plan to militarize our border.”
She added: “There’s been no outreach by the President or federal officials, and I have no intention of allowing Oregon’s guard troops to be used to distract from his troubles in Washington.”
The National Guard is a reserve force of the U.S. Army. Each state has its own unit of guard troops, which falls under the authority of the governor. Other governors welcomed President Trump’s decision, including in Texas, which shares a border with Mexico. “My top priority as governor is ensuring the safety and security of Texans, and securing our southern border has always been essential to that mission,” Texas Governor Gregg Abbott, a Republican, said.
“In my time as governor, Texas has maintained a continuous presence of National Guard members along the border, and we’ve added hundreds of permanent Department of Public Safety troopers to the region.
“Today’s action by the Trump Administration reinforces Texas’ longstanding commitment to secure our southern border and uphold the Rule of Law, and I welcome that support.” The governor also pointed to previous decisions by the Obama and Bush administrations, in 2010 and 2006 respectively, to use National Guard troops to secure the southern border.