From the Capitol
By Bill Post
As we come to Christmas, I greatly hesitate to write about politics in this column but feel I must address an important item with the upcoming 2017 legislative session.
First of all, when it comes to the governor’s budget we need to remember it’s not a budget but rather a wish list. On her wish list Governor Kate Brown writes that we will have a $1.7 billion shortfall in the next biennium. The truth is, we have a windfall of state revenues, to the tune of an 8.5 percent increase over the last biennium (and that’s after a 14 percent increase in revenue in the previous biennium, making a total of 22.5 percent increase in revenue since 2013).
The problem is she “wishes” she could fund all of the items in her budget which is what has led to anxiety for many over the cuts she has proposed which include education, health care and some psychiatric and corrections facilities.
The reality is we have more than enough revenue. We just don’t seem to have a control on where to spend it. There will be cries for more revenue in the form of cutting interest deductions, raising taxes on what you eat, drink, smoke, wear and more. On top of that, a transportation package will require a gas tax.
Remember, the legislature is the branch charged with crafting and passing a balanced budget, not the governor, and you overwhelmingly chose a certain state representative from Keizer who believes that we, as a state, don’t have a revenue problem but instead have a spending problem. Therefore I intend to do all that I can to hold the legislature accountable for every dollar. (You can read more about the governor’s budget and the revenue numbers here: http://billpost.us/2016/12/09/its-not-a-budget-shortfall-its-really-a-windfall/).
But here is the bottom line: the people of Keizer are some of the most giving people I’ve ever met. We are a city of volunteers and we care about each other. Our churches do incredible humanitarian work. Our Chamber of Commerce is one of the best there is evidenced by the recent Christmas parade, the food drives and other activities. We have one of the most livable cities in Oregon and one of the most caring; yet none of that is derived from government, it’s derived from we the people.
On this Christmas week, I want to wish you and your family all of the best not just for this season but for all time. I work for you and I am eager to get back into the legislature in January and do all that I can to help Keizer and Oregon succeed.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from my home to yours.
(Bill Post represents House District 25. He can be reached at 503- 986-1425 or via email at rep.bill- email@example.com.)