Brian Boquist is a state senator from Dallas. He’s also a retired career Army officer and something of an idealist. He thinks there must be a way to reduce the costs and complexities of state government. After all, with fewer than 5 million people in Oregon, do we really need almost 80,000 state employees?
When the 2013 legislature got under way, Boquist introduced an interesting bill. I doubt he believed that it had any chance of getting anywhere. And of course it did not.
The bill called on the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to make a plan to go out of business, and it proposed that many other state agencies also prepare plans to be abolished or to merge with other agencies. Further, it called on about 30 state departments or agencies to cut their expenses below their approved spending for the 2011-13 biennium. In addition to that, the Boquist bill, Senate Bill 292, proposed to suspend all raises or upward job classifications of state employees, along with banning out-of-state travel for certain agencies.
As I said, the bill was referred to a committee and never taken seriously. Instead, the legislature did what it usually does — approve more spending. If we had more lawmakers like the senator from Dallas, there might be hope for actually reducing the state government’s activities and expense. (hh)