Sockeye Blog Archives

Think Progress took a look at ballot measures across the nation to see what sort of tax policies Americans are voting on this November.

As it turns out, almost all of them are bad ideas, designed to make taxes less equitable. And of all the bad ideas out there, Oregon has hit the top of the list.

Think Progress took a look at ballot measures across the nation to see what sort of tax policies Americans are voting on this November.

As it turns out, almost all of them are bad ideas, designed to make taxes less equitable. And of all the bad ideas out there, Oregon has hit the top of the list.

Think Progress has identified Measure 84, Kevin Mannix's Estate Tax Break for millionaires, as one of the "three worst ideas voters will decide on."

They write:

Oregon voters will decide on Measure 84, which gradually repeals the estate tax and will cause a $120 million loss in revenue for the state every year. Though other parts of the law are unclear, it could potentially “open a new egregious loophole allowing individuals to avoid capital gains taxes on the sale of land and stock by simply selling property to family members.”

...

There is no evidence to suggest repealing the estate tax increases the number of wealthy tax payers who live in a state, a constant claim of proponents. In the end, repealing the estate tax would be an extremely regressive move and would only benefit the very wealthy.

Of course, it was no surprise to us that this measure would be counted among a list of "worst ideas," but the gravity of the measure's impact does seem particularly clear, as it tops the national round-up of Bad Ideas.

The Oregon and National Association of Realtors have spent more than $5.5 million on their Real Estate Transfer Tax ballot measure, but it looks like Oregonians aren't buying what they're selling.

The Defend Oregon campaign--running the No on 79 campaign--just released the results of a poll showing the measure failing by 54%-31%.

In August, internal poll results showed the measure trailing by 57%-22%. In a poll completed October 22, the measure was still behind by 54%-31%, a 23-point margin. That’s despite the $3.8 million spent by the Yes on 79 campaign between mid-August and October 22.

It seems clear that Oregonians have seen through this dishonest campaign. Oregonians are pretty skeptical about attempts to amend the constitution, especially when they’re paid for by big out-of-state special interests.

The Oregon and National Association of Realtors have spent more than $5.5 million on their Real Estate Transfer Tax ballot measure, but it looks like Oregonians aren't buying what they're selling.

The Defend Oregon campaign--running the No on 79 campaign--just released the results of a poll showing the measure failing by 54%-31%.

In August, internal poll results showed the measure trailing by 57%-22%. In a poll completed October 22, the measure was still behind by 54%-31%, a 23-point margin. That’s despite the $3.8 million spent by the Yes on 79 campaign between mid-August and October 22.

It seems clear that Oregonians have seen through this dishonest campaign. Oregonians are pretty skeptical about attempts to amend the constitution, especially when they’re paid for by big out-of-state special interests.

The Yes on 79 campaign’s messages have been described by the media as “inaccurate and ridiculous,” “cynical and unnecessary,” and “at best… misleading, and, at worst… flat-out lies.”

More than half of the funds for measure have come from the National Association of Realtors, with the remaining coming from the Oregon Association of Realtors.

The numbers will likely improve for the Yes on 79 campaign between now and November 6, considering that they continue to blanket the airwaves with misleading ads. The question, though, is whether their continued spending can make up for a 23-point gap.


In Washington, the Seattle Times got into hot water recently because the newspaper decided to give away free ads to Republican candidates. Here in Oregon, our newspaper of record has bypassed ads all together and now appears to just be using the news pages to campaign for Republicans.

In Washington, the Seattle Times got into hot water recently because the newspaper decided to give away free ads to Republican candidates. Here in Oregon, our newspaper of record has bypassed ads all together and now appears to just be using the news pages to campaign for Republicans.

In particular, the paper’s PolitiFact operation has largely become the campaign arm of Oregonian and publisher N. Christian Anderson. In doing so, they’ve resorted to making stuff up, ignoring actual facts, and otherwise abusing the very concept of “fact-checking.”

This morning’s Oregonian ran their PolitiFarce’ article with a larger-than-life headline and incendiary images most typically seen in campaign lit. The substance of this morning’s Politifact? Former Secretary of State Bill Bradbury’s expression of concern about Republican candidate Knute Buehler. Bradbury stated: “If Buehler were elected, our vote-by-mail system would be at risk.”

Bradbury’s statement—clearly an opinion, not a fact—was ruled “Pants on Fire” by writer Janie Har and her editors. We don’t think opinions can be “fact-checked,” but even still, here are the very real facts about Knute Buehler and Vote By Mail:

  • Buehler is the Republican candidate for Secretary of State. His party’s platform explicitly opposes Vote By Mail. (Section 16.8 of the Oregon Republican Party Platform. “Oregon Republican Party is opposed to Vote By Mail.”)
  • Over and over, Buehler has questioned Oregon’s voting system. He’s in favor of new ID requirements for voting in Oregon (much like Republicans have done around the nation, which the New York Times editorial board recognized “could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of poor and minority state residents.”) He’s  been extremely vocal about his issues with what he terms the “integrity of the process.” And, he told the Oregonian that “there are concerns about undue pressure to vote, because you don't have the privacy of a polling booth.”

So, Buehler wants new registration laws, an investigation into the current system, and appears to want to bring back polling booths. Bradbury is on solid grounds to be concerned.

Yet, PolitiFact warped Bradbury’s concerned opinion about Buehler’s intentions into a new, completely different fact, just so they could tackle the issue in their column. Har spends more than 900 words debunking a statement that was never spoken: “Knute Buehler will throw out the system.”

Har writes, “Politifact doesn’t do predictions. Obviously, we don’t know what Buehler would do if elected. More important, Democrats don’t know either. When we look at the evidence they’ve provided for his alleged antipathy towards the system, we just aren’t convinced.”

Convinced of what??  Convinced that Buehler will throw out the system and start over? Ok, but Bradbury didn’t say that, and to suggest otherwise, as Har has here, is blatantly dishonest. Bradbury voiced concern over Buehler’s repetitive chant that one of his biggest problems with the division he’s championing to run is our voting system.

No, it appears that Har and the Oregonian editors just aren’t convinced that Buehler will be able to win if Oregonians believe that there are reasonable questions of Buehler’s intentions.

We can’t help but wonder what they would find if they would fact check an actual ‘fact’ waged in this race.

Here’s one: In a fundraising letter, Buehler stated, “Kate Brown has the power to audit state agencies and ensure efficient use of your tax dollars. But she refuses to do it!”

That is an actual statement that can be judged against fact, and it’s 100% false.

Since she took office, Brown’s office has conducted more than 230 audits of state and local agencies, identifying more than $180 million in savings for the state.

The latest in our video series, higlighting the Crisis of Oregon's K-12 Schools.

"What you're seeing now is a great demand for quality education, with third-rate funding."

Sue Stinson, retired teacher, muses on how things have changed over the years.

The latest in our video series, higlighting the Crisis of Oregon's K-12 Schools.

"What you're seeing now is a great demand for quality education, with third-rate funding."

Sue Stinson, retired teacher, muses on how things have changed over the years.

Underfunded Classrooms: Sue Stinson from Our Oregon on Vimeo.

Luckily, this November we have an opportunity to turn things back around. See the Defend Oregon Coalition page for more information on how voting No on Measure 84 and Yes on Measure 85 will work towards protect our schools.

Did you receive a mailing this weekend that looked like this?--->

Wondering who it’s from? No, it’s not the League of Women Voters, nor is it from any group that works on women’s issues.  It’s actually from a Republican-aligned group called the Oregon Transformation Project, which is almost entirely funded by money from Stimson Lumber.  

 

How closely aligned are Oregon Transformation Project and the Oregon Republican Party? It’s co-chaired by Allen Alley, chair of the Oregon GOP, and Rep. Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point). Its political action committee is run by Rob Kremer, the treasurer of the Oregon Republican Party. None of them are well known as champions on women’s issues.

 

Oregon Transformation Project has dumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into GOP candidate races.

So it should come as no surprise that most of the “Women’s Voters Guide” endorsements are for Republicans (including Mitt Romney, Knute Buehler, and Bruce Starr), with a handful of token Democratic endorsements in seats that are safe for the Dems or are unopposed.


 It’s a pink-tinted disguise designed to give Republican candidates a boost in key races. If Twitter is any indication, it appears this trick is backfiring.

Did you receive one of these mailers? Respond in the comment section and let us know where in the state you’re located. It’ll help us get a sense of just how widespread it was mailed. We’d love to hear what your reaction was upon receiving it, too.

Share this:

UPDATE: Looks like Allen Alley has now resigned from the Oregon Transformation Project.

Did you receive a mailing this weekend that looked like this?--->

Wondering who it’s from? No, it’s not the League of Women Voters, nor is it from any group that works on women’s issues.  It’s actually from a Republican-aligned group called the Oregon Transformation Project, which is almost entirely funded by money from Stimson Lumber.  

 

How closely aligned are Oregon Transformation Project and the Oregon Republican Party? It’s co-chaired by Allen Alley, chair of the Oregon GOP, and Rep. Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point). Its political action committee is run by Rob Kremer, the treasurer of the Oregon Republican Party. None of them are well known as champions on women’s issues.

 

Oregon Transformation Project has dumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into GOP candidate races.

So it should come as no surprise that most of the “Women’s Voters Guide” endorsements are for Republicans (including Mitt Romney, Knute Buehler, and Bruce Starr), with a handful of token Democratic endorsements in seats that are safe for the Dems or are unopposed.


 It’s a pink-tinted disguise designed to give Republican candidates a boost in key races. If Twitter is any indication, it appears this trick is backfiring.

Did you receive one of these mailers? Respond in the comment section and let us know where in the state you’re located. It’ll help us get a sense of just how widespread it was mailed. We’d love to hear what your reaction was upon receiving it, too.

Share this:

UPDATE: Looks like Allen Alley has now resigned from the Oregon Transformation Project.

Let’s face it, the news today can be downright depressing. It’s important to remember that things aren’t all bad — in fact, there are some really great things happening around us all the time. Introducing, The Bright Side of Life!

Happy Friday, folks! Here are a few stories that brightened things up around the OO office this week:

Let’s face it, the news today can be downright depressing. It’s important to remember that things aren’t all bad — in fact, there are some really great things happening around us all the time. Introducing, The Bright Side of Life!

Happy Friday, folks! Here are a few stories that brightened things up around the OO office this week:

Here's a touching story about gardening and second chances -- a former inmate is growing produce to donate to the most needy.

Hey, snow sports fans: get ready! First real snow of the season is predicted this weekend. (And Mt. Hood got a sprinkling already to kick off the cold system.)

Pacific Northwest pride -- Central Valley High's Austin Rehkow has just kicked the second longest field goal kick in high school football history, clocking in at 67 yards. (The longest is 68 yards.)

(Shameless promotion alert!) A FREE voter guide app to help us navigate our confusing ballots? Yes, please

Two light-hearted ways to deal with a heavy-hearted subject: Measure 84, the latest bad idea from Kevin Mannix.

First up, Meet Alice:

Two light-hearted ways to deal with a heavy-hearted subject: Measure 84, the latest bad idea from Kevin Mannix.

First up, Meet Alice:

Second up, check out Jesse Springer's take on the Measure. As Springer explains, "Tucked into a simple-sounding "death tax" repeal ballot measure is a repeal of any tax on all "intra-family transfers", which would open the door to widespread "legal" tax evasion by wealthy families."

We've been speaking with parents, teachers, students, and other education advocates all around the state to find out how things really look in Oregon's K-12 classrooms.

Here is the latest in our video series, from High School History teacher (and dad) Steve Nims.

We've been speaking with parents, teachers, students, and other education advocates all around the state to find out how things really look in Oregon's K-12 classrooms.

Here is the latest in our video series, from High School History teacher (and dad) Steve Nims.

One of the particularly poignant moments from this interview was Steve's discussion on the connection between Oregon's schools and Oregon's business environment. The tired argument put forth by many on the right is that we must invest in Oregon by slashing tax rates for corporations and the rich, in order to create revenue for schools. This is, of course, best known as "trickle-down economics" and for not working.

As Steve aptly points out, investing in our schools is the absolute best way to invest in Oregon's business environment. Because Oregon's tried investing in corporations -- and we've realized it doesn't work. Time to give education a turn.

 

The New York Times reported yesterday on the growing body of economic research that suggests that income inequality may be the root of America's economic woes.

Findings point to income inequality as not just a path to an unequal society, but also a direct route to "less stable economic expansions and sluggish growth."

As reported in the Times

The New York Times reported yesterday on the growing body of economic research that suggests that income inequality may be the root of America's economic woes.

Findings point to income inequality as not just a path to an unequal society, but also a direct route to "less stable economic expansions and sluggish growth."

As reported in the Times

“What worries me is the idea that we’re in a vicious cycle,” said Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics who has studied inequality extensively. “Increasing inequality means a weaker economy, which means increasing inequality, which means a weaker economy. That economic inequality feeds into political economy, so the ability to stabilize the economy gets weaker.

While the conservative right will almost certainly try to denounce these findings as "bias from the liberal elitite," the truth of the matter is that the reports aren't being crafted by one party or one organization.The reports come from an array of diverse sources, including IMF, internationally renowned economists, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and dozens more.

The Oregon Center for Public Policy has provide extensive coverage of income inequality in Oregon. Like the rest of the nation, Oregon has seen tremendous growth for its top earners, while low-income and middle class families have seen their wages stagnate or even decline.

Head over to the New York Times for the full article.

There's been a resurgence of interest in the effects of Measure 5, the property tax cap measure that is widely credited with defunding Oregon's schools.

Measure 5 was passed in 1990, and was proposed as a property tax cap and limit. Proponents of this measure failed to mention that the policy would also severely cut public school funding while shifting decisions from local officials to state lawmakers. With limited funds and far-removed politicians making decisions how to use them, school funding has faced troubling trends in the ensuing decades.

There's been a resurgence of interest in the effects of Measure 5, the property tax cap measure that is widely credited with defunding Oregon's schools.

Measure 5 was passed in 1990, and was proposed as a property tax cap and limit. Proponents of this measure failed to mention that the policy would also severely cut public school funding while shifting decisions from local officials to state lawmakers. With limited funds and far-removed politicians making decisions how to use them, school funding has faced troubling trends in the ensuing decades.

Measure 5 led to other, property tax cap policies, further hindering Oregon's education funding. And so while there were many factors  and policies that exacerbated the school funding problem, it’s telling that teachers, parents, students, and education advocates saw a clear shift in school funding beginning with Measure 5.

Measure 5 had real, direct, and negative impacts on schools' abilities. Straight from the source:
 

Measure 5: Impact on Oregon's K-12 Schools from Our Oregon on Vimeo.

We're in a real crisis, and it needs fixing. In fact, fixing Oregon's K-12 education system is, in all likelihood, the most important priority in front of today's state government.

We could start by reigning in tax breaks for corporations and redirecting those funds to schools. (And we have the opportunity to vote on that exact measure this November in Ballot Measure 85.) But we're going to need to do more. It took more than one election to create -- which means it's going to take more than one election to get out of it.