To my Constituents,
Yes, I am no longer in Salem working on legislation. A simple reason for that is the Majority Party has no intention of letting us "work on Legislation". There is no bi-partisanship. It is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition.
This started early in the session when we raced through rent control, passing in on the floor in a matter of days. There was very little discussion and certainly no consideration of alternatives or amendments. It was passed as the Majority wanted it. Good bill, bad bill, no one knows but without considering all options, the outcome may well impact renters in a very negative way.
We continued by extending a temporary tax that was to expire this year, at least that is what the voters' pamphlet stated. We extended the tax to 2026 and increased it from 1.5% to 2.0% on small businesses that provide health insurance to their employees. The question asked was, "How does this make health insurance cheaper?" The answer was, "We need the money".
As we got deeper into the session, the legislation got worse. Bills banning popular items we use every day were passed.
The Governor took $108M from the kicker and continues to want to overturn our voice by keeping all the Kicker. The Majority Party passed a Gross Receipts tax, called the Student Success Act, to provide funding for education. Unfortunately, they only put $800M more into the school fund with none of that money coming from the Gross Receipts tax. Schools will have to come hat in hand requesting additional funding in the form of grants without any expectation of receiving those funds.
Remember, the Gross Receipts tax is a tax on corporate sales not on corporate profits so that even if a company loses money, they are held liable for this tax. This tax was turned down by voters in 2016 by a large margin because Oregonians knew that this was a tax on a tax on a tax and would certainly drive prices for goods and services through the roof. In fact it will cost a household an additional 4% for goods and services per year. Does your salary go up by 4%?
The Super Majority passed this without a single Republican vote.
The necessity for leaving was predicated on the refusal of the Majority Party to amend the Cap and Swindle Bill, HB 2020, whose goal is to reduce CO2 while costing Oregonians $550M in the first year alone while providing "imperceptible" reductions in CO2 as stated by their own experts. This bill would put a $.22/gallon tax on your gas and diesel affecting the pocketbooks of all Oregonians, particularly rural Oregon, my district to be certain, where commuting is not a choice but a necessity. The bill did offer a small rebate on your taxes at the end of the year, but this was only a cherry on a mud pie. Gas prices in the future, by their own experts will rise as high as $3.00/ gallon. They called these increases in prices an "incentive" for you to drive less or invest in a new electric car. Either way, it is your hard-earned money that they are spending, and I thought this to be entirely wrong.
This bill will cost a family of four approximately $600/year on top of the additional 4% you will be charged, as mentioned above. Enough was enough.
We are one of the greenest states in the nation. Can we do more? Yes, but not to the tune of $550M in the first year. There are alternatives, but the Majority Party would not hear of it. They have "friends" that are counting on this largess. Don't believe me? Just read the bill and see who gets the money. Not the road fund, for certain.
Finally, when a piece of legislation has $10M built into it to help those that lost their jobs, that means a lot of jobs will be lost because of this legislation.
Other items on the docket included:
- Limiting the peoples’ opportunity to file initiative petitions,
- Drivers’ licenses for illegals, which we the people voted "no" in overwhelming numbers in 2014,
- Taking the full kicker,
- Rebooting property taxes to real market value and taxing on 75% of that
- and a plethora of just bad legislation that will overturn the will of the voters.
Without the ability to make substantive changes to legislation, I felt the only option left was to deny a quorum for taxation without representation.
Our forefathers did the same thing in Boston Harbor when they dumped the tea into the bay. They had no voice, so they made a statement. No taxation without our voices being heard.
It is the statement I am making today in absentia. I am willing to work with the Super Majority for all Oregonians, if they will listen.
Senator Alan Olsen
Senate District 20
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1720
District Phone: 503-266-4599
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-425, Salem, OR 97301
District Address: 675 Northwest 2nd St., Canby, OR 97013
Web site: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/olsen
Senator Olsen's Committees:
Chair of Senate Committee On Veterans & Emergency Preparedness
Vice Chair of Senate Committee Environment & Natural Resources
Senate Committee On Business & General Government
Joint Committee On Carbon Reduction