Home » Fiscal Responsibility » Fiscal Responsibility – Dead in Oregon (Lane County Income Tax Results)

Fiscal Responsibility – Dead in Oregon (Lane County Income Tax Results)

The real problem with Oregon Government is Fiscal Responsibility and spending addiction

Lane County citizens soundly crushed the 1.1% income tax proposal with a 71% NO vote. But the votes do much more than send a strong message to County Commissioners (which they’ll likely ignore — again — for the 14th time); they reveal a deeply rooted problem in not only County, but state and other levels of government as well.

It’s easy to pick on Lane County, but they’re only the latest example of failed spending control. But first, the results:

Yes No
20-129 Income Tax 29% 71%
20-130 Tax Cap 56% 44%

Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.

It’s the reaction from officials illustrating the real problem (not the 8% county budget variance), and why (after 13 votes on the same idea), county government still doesn’t get it. KVAL TV reported officials are “mourning” the election loss, and preparing a “doomsday” budget. What happened to honoring the will of the citizens? Perhaps they’ll come back with yet another tax proposal (the 14th), instead of learning what “NO” means, and learn to preserve the most important services (public safety) above all else.

Why don’t you find a place where there isn’t any trouble.

A place where there isn’t any trouble. Do you suppose there is such a place Toto? There must be. It’s not a place you can get to by a boat or a train. It’s far, far away. Behind the moon, beyond the rain.

Come on guys, it’s only an 8% variance. In other words, you could leave 92% of the budget alone, and eliminate 8% (instead of spreading the 8% variance over the whole budget). If you choose to cut half the jobs, it’s because you choose to, by failing to plan in advance for what you knew lay ahead (that’s a breach of fiduciary duty).

It’s not like the potential loss of federal funds comes as a surprise, but why wait until the last minute to take action? Waiting on Superman to swoop in and save the day? By waiting … and waiting … and waiting to take action, all the potential solutions become more painful than they had to be.

And don’t forget the $100 million reserve fund you’re sitting on top of.

But you can’t just pick on Lane County (they’re just the latest example), as the Register-Guard reports a similar problem at the state level (on the same day as the tax results came in) — politicians love to spend money like a legion of drunken sailors (with our apologies to drunken sailors everywhere — it’s not fair to impinge their integrity).

As soon as state economists told legislators Tuesday that they would have an extra $152 million to spend, the House and Senate budget chiefs had a plan to spend it.

With the state now controlled by Democrats, it’s full spending ahead, and more taxes. What happened to the reserve fund Oregon desperately needs? What happened to saving for the future? It’s just spend, spend, spend, and then ask for tax increases to spend some more. That’s the problem with government at all levels — they have no fiscal responsibility, and nothing is ever enough. Like a heroin addict, all they care about is their next spending “fix”, and no amount of reckless spending and fiscal irresponsibility ever maintains the high they desperately crave.

It’s time they went cold turkey — Lane County’s variance is only 8% and they’re crying like someone stole their milk and cookies. But just like the heroin addict, they can’t break their addiction to the public’s hard-earned money; here’s what County Commissioner Stewart said after the tax proposal was crushed by voters:

Stewart said he won’t rule out the possibility of a future income tax or other money measure.

Translation: I don’t care what the citizens want, do it my way. Who cares if over 70% rejected my idea? And who cares if this is the 13th time it’s been rejected?

Just try and stay out of my way. Just try! I’ll get you, my pretty — and your little dog too!

Putting aside the hubris of an elected official refusing to take a crushing defeat as a sign of what the citizens want, the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different result (or hoping that finally, this time, you can fool the people or scare them into doing what you want). After 13 tries over a decade, you’d think they received the message; the inability to come up with a different idea shows how powerful the addiction to feeding from the public trough is.

I do believe in spooks. I do believe in spooks. I do! I do! I do! I do believe in spooks. I do believe in spooks. I do! I do! I do! I do!

You’ll believe in more than that before I’m finished with you.

But certainly Stewart has good ideas for handling the budget variance? Well, let the reader decide — here’s his idea:

… he wants a citizen task force organized to study the county’s financial predicament and offer solutions, he said.

Translation: I can’t (or won’t) do my job I’m paid to do, so I’ll waste yet more money the county doesn’t have to pass the buck somewhere else. If Stewart doesn’t want to perform the job he’s paid to do, he should resign and let someone else do the job he publicly admits he doesn’t want.

Put ’em up, put ’em up! Which one of you first? I can fight you both together if you want. I can fight you with one paw tied behind my back. I can fight you standing on one foot. I can fight you with my eyes closed. Oh, pull an axe on me, eh? Sneaking up on me, eh? Why, I’ll… Ruff!

The real problem is elected officials (once elected) believe they’re entitled to whatever they want, when they want it, and in as much quantity as they want, looking at citizens the same way Dracula with a giant straw lusts after victims.

We’re not just picking on Lane County, the spending addiction exists at virtually every level of government. As soon as revenue projections increased for the state by $152 million, they plan to spend it, and then later complain the state doesn’t have sufficient reserves. Here’s an idea, why not put the $152 million in the reserve fund? Oh yeah, that’s not as much fun as spending it.

The real drug problem is spending. It’s more addictive than crack, heroin or meth. It’s an addiction politicians get the day after election, and most can’t get the monkey off their back for the remainder of their time in office — even if by feeding their addiction they cause fiscal ruin to the citizens they supposedly serve.

A billion here and a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money. (Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen)

It’s time for spending addicts (at all levels of government) to go cold turkey and stop holding services the citizens hold as priorities hostage unless voters give in to their demands. Citizens have to budget, plan and prioritize; we should expect nothing less from our representatives. Politicians serve the people, not the other way around.

What have you learned, Dorothy?

Well, I — I think that it — it wasn’t enough to just want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em — and it’s that — if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right?



  1. http://pressposts.com/News/Fiscal-Responsibility–Dead-in-Oregon-Lane-County-Income-Tax-Results/

    Submited post on PressPosts.com – “Fiscal Responsibility – Dead in Oregon (Lane County Income Tax Results)”

  2. Colin says:

    Great article. Unfortunately the lack of fiscal dicipline is incentivized by the nature of government stewardship of taxes itself. Milton Friedman said the following about this nature:

    “There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money.”

    “Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost.”

    “Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch!”

    “Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government. And that’s close to 40% of our national income.”

    The reality is that such recklessness in spending will always be a problem no matter who we have in office – it is built into the system itself. It makes the solution something even more drastic than tax cuts and budget reductions – it means revaluting the role of government overall, especially in terms of financial planning and accountability.

  3. cslicer says:

    Keep up the good work. Dont let the spenders have a inch as this turns into a mile. A woman from West Hartfordd Conn writes about her town government out of control. She wrote her town has had a 300% tax increase in the last 10 years.

    Carl Slicer, cslicer, Blog Editor, http://www.VernonGop.com, ” Fiscal Responsibility must be taught”.

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