A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Capitol impasse saves quite a bit of cash

Written March 4th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

If it accomplishes nothing else, the impasse at the Capitol in Salem is preventing the spending of hundreds of millions of additional dollars, at least for a while.

In a four-page press release Wednesday, the House speaker and the Senate president listed all the spending that the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee has approved but that can’t be passed into law as long as most of the Republicans in both chambers stay away.

Democrats Tina Kotek in the House and Peter Courtney in the Senate say their party’s legislators continue to work despite the Republicans “walking off the job to shut down the government.”

Voters in Albany and the rest of Oregon know that the state government has not shut down. Only the legislative branch has been disabled. And the reason is that the Democratic super majorities refuse to put their greenhouse gas reduction plan to the voters and intend to cram it down our throats instead.

So what are some of these budget bills that can’t be passed?

For starters, more than $100 million would be spent to “address Oregon’s housing and homelessness crises.” This includes $50 million to build “affordable housing” and $45 million to increase shelter capacity, including $16.5 million for “navigation centers” in Bend, Eugene, McMinnville, Medford, and Salem.

Then, there’s about $78 million additional for various programs under “wildfire and forest management.” The majority’s leaders say this is because “wildfire seasons are longer than ever due to the impacts of climate change.” (The 2019 Oregon wildfire season was three weeks shorter than average, the shortest this century.)

There also is more than $130 million for various “behavioral health services and family support programs.”

Then there’s money, a few million each, for local projects including the Salem water system, a community center in Woodburn, a downtown riverfront park in Eugene, the 2021 international track championship in Eugene, and a children’s museum in the Rogue Valley, among other things.

Counties are to get $25 million more for community corrections. An additional $20 million more is to be spent on public defenders, and $3 million would go toward child abuse intervention centers.

Six state universities would be in line for a total of more than $200 million in bonding for new buildings, including $21 million for a “student success center” in Monmouth and $13 million for a similar center Bend.

That’s a summary. The majority leaders say these are all “investments” to meet “critical needs across the state.” If that’s so, one wonders why, during this short session that has to end by Sunday night, these critical needs were not considered and dealt with first. (hh)


16 responses to “Capitol impasse saves quite a bit of cash”

  1. thomas cordier says:

    thanks HH for the summary. The solid Republicans have found the secret to stop
    non-critical ways the Dems want to spend other peoples money. It works. Keep it up.

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    I love euphemisms. They are political weapons of mass distraction.

    “We want to SPEND millions on forest management.” No good.

    “We will INVEST millions to protect our critical trees.” Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    Political fraud that soothes while government takes money from your wallet.

  3. My Real Name John Hartman says:

    What’s most appalling about the GOP walk-out in Salem is best understood at the local level….right here in good old Albany. Rep. Boshart-Davis stands proud with her decision to only represent certain interests, people who are content to watch the planet destroyed by greed and savageness of the political Right.

    It would be one thing if the Right offered any solutions other than to take the ball and go home. But they do not. Boshart-Davis’ choice is to continue allowing the fouling of the planet, allowing man dominion over the land, over the sea, over the fishes and the animals as described in The Old Testament. Perhaps she’d favor the idea of turning folks into pillars of salt as well. There was so much good advice in the Old Testament.

    Boshart-Davis swore an oath to defend and protect not just the constitution, but to represent all persons in her district. She apparently doesn’t take her oath seriously, but then, Boshart-Davis is NOT a serious person.

  4. GoBeavers! says:

    Hasso, I strongly disagree.

    Voters voted to elect the Democratic super majority and governor, many of whom openly ran on prioritizing action at address climate change. The proposed law this year has been revised since last year to ease, or eliminate, the transition on rural counties and impacted industries as Republicans had previously requested. Campaigning, winning multiple elections, reelections, and working over years to make consessions is not shoving laws down voters throughts. Looking at it from the other perspective, couldn’t it be seen as an increasingly small number of Republican Representatives pushing inaction, and unwillingness to compromise, down the throats of a majority of Oregon voters who voted past elections? My understanding, is that with a complex law like this one, it is far better to go through the legislative process to iron out the details, rather than put an all or nothing version on the ballot. Have Republicans said what specific changes they want to see in this bill?

    We should be careful with how tax dollars are spent. Let’s take a deeper dive into any of the spending projects you identify and examine them on their true merrits. Many of the spending priorities you identify seem like indeed big challenges that need smart and significant investments to address. I’m concerned about labeling them as wasteful without understanding the details. If there are any projects that specifically raise concern for you, I would be happy to try and share bill justification so that we can more accurately discuss their true priority.

    • J. Jacobson says:

      GoBeavers! could not be more correct.

      The back bench whinging by the political Right is to be expected, since they have nothing else to offer and no power. The GOP’s solution – pout, take the ball home and whine to their ill-served constituency. Rather than develop a real policy for governance, the Right snipes from the weeds. Oregon’s electorate obviously prefers politicians who at least make an attempt to do something about the problems we face, over the do-less-than-nothing approach championed by the GOP.

      You can debate the effectiveness of Democrat policies over the years. Fair enough.
      But what is undebatable is: Oregon remains firmly in control of the Democratic party because the Democratic Party is, at minimum, making an attempt. If the same could be said for GOP policies, we’d be having a different discussion. Given the paucity of Republican thinking now all we have is a throng of pouting juveniles – Court Jesters.

      The Oregon GOP always claims the marketplace is the best solution for society’s problems. And hey may have hit the nail on the head. The marketplace of political ideas has spoken clearly, what with a Democratic super majority in Salem. Perhaps the GOP should consider offering occasional substance rather than simply rehashing the failed-to-launch child.

  5. Ean says:

    I still maintain a carbon tax and dividend on the federal level is the best approach to combating the major problem that lays ahead of us. States cannot levy tariffs and it is too easy to relocate a business out of state. A tax and dividend on the federal level creates an even playing field and incentivises creativity and ingenuity. If I am not mistaken though none of the representatives that walked out have advocated for change on a federal level. Sadly the young generation will have to adapt and deal with this problem, in addition to dealing with a 20+ trillion dollar national debt on top of infrastructure that is crumbling due to decades (in some cases centuries) of neglect.

  6. Ray Kopczynski says:

    Maybe we need to get back to a 50-50 split in the legislature as we had a few years back. Not a lot was passed, but what was deemed important and which did pass, required cross-aisle compromising. Not everyone was happy, but everyone got something, and everyone went home having done their job the right way – as they were elected to do. That is not happening now.

    • centrist says:

      Interesting point.
      Those times had thinking longer than the next few news cycles. The incumbents were able to discuss the matter at hand and negotiate compromise.
      But then, this isn’t entirely new. Just ran across a clipping in a grandparent scrapbook describing how “Southern Democrats” scuttled a wage and hour bill.

  7. George Addington says:

    I’d love to see less money spend on bicycle lanes.

  8. John Allen says:


  9. Birdieken says:

    Taking the vote to the people would allow the contents of any major piece of legislation to see the light of day. Transparency on exactly what is in a bill and its impact, plays out pretty well though the voting process.

  10. Richard Vannice says:

    Why does the bill allow the major polluters to continue their ways by paying a fee? No one can answer my question as to how this bill will stop the pollution from neighboring states crossing state lines? This is not a local problem. Until the entire world gets on the bandwagon one attempt by a single state, in my estimation, be of any value

    • Ean says:

      There is no world governing body though, every country has sovereignty. Which is why I maintain the solution should come from the federal level. It used to be America took the lead on global issues, not it appears we prefer to take more the wait and see approach.


HH Today: A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley
Albany Albany Carousel Albany City Council Albany council Albany downtown Albany Fire Department Albany housing Albany parks Albany Planning Commission Albany police Albany Post Office Albany Public Works Albany riverfront Albany Station Albany streets Albany traffic Albany urban renewal Andy Olson Benton County Benton County parks bicycling bike lanes Bowman Park Bryant Park Calapooia River CARA City of Albany climate change coronavirus COVID-19 Cox Creek path Crocker Lane cumberland church cycling Dave Clark Path DEQ downtown Albany Edgewater Village global warming gun control Highway 20 Interstate 5 Kitzhaber Linn County marijuana medical marijuana Millersburg North Albany North Albany Road Obama ODOT Oregon coast Oregon legislature Pacific Power Portland & Western Republic Services Riverside Drive Santiam Canal Talking Water Gardens The Banks Tom Cordier Union Pacific urban renewal Water Avenue Willamette River

Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved. Hasso Hering.
Website Serviced by Santiam Communications
Hasso Hering