Why I Support the Oregon Republicans Denying Quorum

I support House and Senate Republicans denying the supermajority a quorum during this February Legislative “short” session. The continued condescending attitude by the majority party to those who disagree with them is utterly exhausting. Clearly it reached a breaking point last week when the Republicans began their constitutionally supported protest.

The request was very simple in the February session over the Cap and Trade legislation, remove the emergency clause and refer it to the voters.

First, we were told that this is “too complicated” for voters. Basically, Oregonians are too stupid to get what this bill does. However, listening to the hours of public testimony from last session and this session, the voters are far from stupid. They know very well how this will drive up their energy costs and put rural & blue-collar jobs at risk.

For many of us Oregonians, our jobs are tied into who we are as a person. This legislation admits it will cost jobs. The just transition fund is set up for “workers displaced”. When someone loses their identity as who they were as a worker, we see communities die and substance abuse increase. That’s historically evident from the Spotted Owl era. Is this what the Democrats in Salem really want?

Second, as a farmer the most infuriating fib I am told about Cap and Trade is that agriculture is exempt from the bill. My farm inputs and my crops do not magically get to and from the farm. They arrive and depart via truck, rail and/or barge and despite even my own state representative’s best antidotes there is no current technology that can replace those means of transportation.

Just as we have seen with the Corporate Activity Tax (CAT), those costs are being passed down to the farmer. Our parts invoices now have a line item for CAT. Oregon agriculture operates in a global marketplace. We, the farmers and ranchers, cannot simply pass on our costs on to our consumer. Yet, Portland legislators continually fail to listen to our concerns.

Notice at local equipment/parts dealer

Third, we are now being told that Democrat legislators have bent over backwards to include Republicans’ ideas and added Timber Unity’s proposals into the bill. This is simply false. Timber Unity didn’t ask for the legislature to spend more money on a study or one token tree planting day. They asked for actual actionable items that would sequester carbon immediately and would not cost the taxpayers multi millions of dollars.

I watched Republican legislators time after time bring common sense changes to the bill and get rejected. Even in the Ways and Means hearing on February 24th, Representative David Brock Smith literally did sequestration math for the committee. He laid out how our working and natural lands are already doing the heavy lifting in sequestering anthropogenic carbon emissions. His amendment would have taken this into account and turned Oregon into carbon credit bank for other states. Sadly, his colleagues across the aisle belittled and mocked his ideas. The amendment was rejected.

Also adding Republican concepts in the bill then introducing another bill that usurps the Republican concept is not compromise. That’s manipulating the process and your talking points. The provision that allowed utilities to pass on their costs to consumers was taken out of the original bill but put into another bill that is also waiting on the Senate floor currently.

Rural and working Oregonians are continually talked down to by the Portland elites who seem hellbent on pushing their job killing agenda. I was in a meeting with Governor Kate Brown where she explained her cap & trade “map” to us. I politely told her “That’s nice but I still live in the area where cap & trade is proposed even though people in Eugene think I live in the middle of nowhere.” I got met with a blank smile and a “Oh I understand”.

Urban-rural divide – according Urban Democrats

If Portland and Eugene legislators actually understood as much as they say “I understand” we would still have a quorum in Salem.

As a 5th generation farmer and a rural Oregonian, I am tired of being patted on the head and fed false empathy.  I am grateful Republican legislators not just listened and understood but took action against the bullies in Salem.

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR THE HOUSE AND SENATE REPUBLICANS!

  • Show up today at the Capitol before the 1 PM House Rules hearing to show support.
  • Write letters to your local papers sharing your support
  • Write the legislators and tell them thank you!

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Filed under Agriculture, Economy, Environment, Green Agenda, Legislature, Oregon, Politics, Rural

Tell Legislators to say NO to Cap & Trade! TODAY!

There is still time to get your comments to Oregon Legislators that Cap & Trade (SB 1530) is bad for ALL Oregonians. Email your comments here: [email protected]

This map illustrates what areas of Oregon will be under “Cap and Trade”. It appears Democrats in the Oregon Legislature do not think there are rural parts of Western Oregon.

They also further the Rural/Urban divide and make it officially into law. But if one Eastern Oregon County opts into the Cap & Trade Plan then the whole state goes automatically into it.

The Urban Rural Divide in the Oregon Legislature’s mind

It is a COMPLETE joke to think that Eastern Oregon will not be effected by Cap & Trade. Their fuel comes from Portland and Eugene and their parts for equipment do as well.

Unless the bill’s ultimate goal is to give more business to Idaho…? I know they will appreciate it.

Here are my comments that I sent to the committee:

Senator Dembrow and Committee

I urge you VOTE NO on this bill and the proposed amendments. Despite your best efforts there are still some major logistical issues with your proposals. Bottom line is it will still cost Oregonians jobs and raise the price of energy on working Oregonians. 

1) It still raises energy prices on ALL Oregonians. My farm’s fuel costs would increase by $8900 in the FIRST year and will just go up each year. That $8900 is equivalent to a major repair on the farm, or in the last year half of our John Deere parts bill, which included a major repair part.

Do I repair my machinery or pay my fuel bill? And what will those parts cost now with the higher energy prices? They get shipped out of Portland so someone has to pay that extra cost of the part….?

Currently, our grass seed market is in a downturn. How do you justify the extra expense when I cannot increase the price of my crop? 

2) After watching the initial hearing on LC 19, the complete lack of understanding by legislators on how fuel is moved around the state is embarrassing. If you do not understand how the supply and demand of fuel works should you really be legislating it? 

3) Putting the DEQ in charge of implementing & rule-making for Cap & Trade is a bad idea. The legislature has no oversight to the process when you put in the hands of unelected bureaucrats. This also means no one is accountable to the voters about the failure or success of the program.

This is compounded with the fact the bill exempts parts of the Cap & Trade program from public records. The lack of transparency means that Oregon voters and legislators will have no idea who is receiving credits and if the program is even working. Or is it just a mechanism for special interests to pad their pockets and push their anti-industry agenda?

4) The very least you could do is take off the Emergency Clause and let Oregonians vote on this tax, it is their pocketbooks at stake. If you are going to change our entire economy the people should have a say, not just partisan lawmakers. 

We all care about the environment. As of right now, Cap & Trade is based off a one sided equation of carbon emissions. Let’s get the data on how much carbon we sequester on our farms and forests to have the full & accurate picture on what Oregon is actually doing with its carbon. 

Please reconsider pushing this legislation through in 35 days. 

My friend Angelita gave a powerful testimony on work identity and how this bill would take that away from many. This ultimately leads to communities be killed by drugs and depressions.

This lady was the last to testify and she summed it up best. “If it is such a great damn bill you’d give it to us to vote on!”

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Filed under Agriculture, Economy, Legislature, Oregon, Politics, Rural

Thank you for your signature to repeal Oregon’s sales tax

Dear Petition 301 Signer,

Thank you for your signature to help our efforts to repeal the gross receipts tax aka a sales tax that was passed in the 2019 Oregon Legislative session. We cannot express our appreciation enough. 

Unfortunately, we are no longer proceeding to gather signatures on referendum 301 (the repeal) and withdrawing our petition.

We are not giving up on this issue, trust us; we are not quitters. However, the 2019 Oregon Legislature made the success of all our signatures and efforts impossible to achieve. Unless we had endless piles of cash.

In THE VERY LAST DAYS of the legislative session, bills were purposely passed to hurt our efforts. Ironically, the Willamette Week summed it up best in the following bullet statements on how the legislature ensured our failure to refer this to the voters.

1. They made it more difficult to collect signatures.
SB 761 changed how single signature e-petitions were distributed, limiting access to eligible voters. Both the Secretary of State, Bev Clarno, and the Oregon State Treasurer, Tobias Read testified in a public hearing that there were no issues with the current use of e-petitions and no reason they should be taken away as a resource for voters in the referendum process.  

2. They picked who describes the measure to voters.
SB 116 not only moved this referendum to a special election in January 2020 but also gave legislators authority to write the ballot title. A gross conflict of interest, like asking a wolf to babysit a lamb.

3. They made sure the tax wouldn’t affect powerful interests.
The biggest companies in Oregon such as Nike got carveouts in this bill. They created more loopholes for other companies later hoping to silence any large voice opposition to their tax. One major example is that car dealerships are now allowed to pass this tax on to you as the consumer; it IS a sales tax.

4. They required two elections.
Since they “fixed” some language of the original HB 3427 with HB 2164, this made our referendum language useless. In order for us to repeal the gross receipts tax we would need to refer both bills to the ballot and vote in opposition to both. Again, this would require endless piles of cash, energy and manpower to be successful.

It is beyond frustrating on how the legislature worked so hard to screw over our efforts. We know you are frustrated too as you did a lot of leg work in collecting the thousands of signatures we have. Currently new ideas are being worked on for some long-term fixes to these tax issues and will let you know what they are when we have everything ready. Please do not give up in helping us change Oregon.

In the meantime, we encourage you to keep engaged on this issue and others. There are opportunities to use our frustration for positive change in this state that we love. Please continue to write letters to the editors, VOTE in every election to help elect common sense legislators, (encourage others to do so too!), and continue to talk with your neighbors about how taxes like this hurt average, working Oregonians.

Thank you,

Marie Bowers & Jordan Ohrt
Chief Petitioners

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Filed under Legislature, Oregon, Politics