- Quick Facts
Looking for amazing arrogance coupled with economic stupidity at the state government level?
You can find it in Oregon where Governor Kitzhaber Demands Tax Hikes and Emergency Powers and Warns he Might Turn to National Guard, if the legislature does not see things his way.
Gov. John Kitzhaber warned Monday that he could be forced to mobilize the National Guard to police financially troubled timber counties if legislators and local officials can’t agree on a rescue plan to provide basic law enforcement.
Kitzhaber urged lawmakers to pass an unprecedented measure that would allow him — with the approval of legislative leaders and local county commissioners — to impose a temporary local income tax in counties that have slashed patrol, jail and prosecutorial services. Under House Bill 3453, those local taxes would be matched with an equal amount of money from state taxpayers.
Kitzhaber and several key legislative leaders are pressing ahead with the bill after Josephine and Curry counties rejected public safety property-tax levies last month. The two counties, which have lost the federal timber payments that once paid for most of their local operations, have largely halted their sheriff’s patrols and cut the number of jail beds in use.
Under questioning, Kitzhaber said that he would first look at another option –asking legislators for more money for state police patrols in troubled counties.
“If I was unable to get that, I’d have about no other resources than the National Guard,” he said, adding that the state has a “moral obligation” to preserve the public safety in those counties.
The governor said an income tax would be a better option than a property tax because it would affect those who have more ability to pay.
However, HB 3453 ran into strong opposition from several officials from Josephine County, which has a charter provision prohibiting a local income tax.
Rather than raising taxes how about cutting expenses, instituting right-to-work laws, ending prevailing wage laws, outsourcing police contracts to sheriff’s associations, and most importantly letting counties govern themselves.
About the Author: Mike Shedlock is the editor of the top-rated global economics blog Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis, offering insightful commentary every day of the week. He is also a contributing “professor” on Minyanville, a community site focused on economic and financial education. Every Thursday he does a podcast on HoweStreet and on an ad hoc basis he contributes to many other websites, including UnionWatch.
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