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Senator Doug Whitsett
R- Klamath Falls, District 28

Phone: 503-986-1728 900 Court St. NE, S-303, Salem, Oregon 97301
Email: sen.dougwhitsett@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/whitsett
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E-Newsletter 9/3/11
 

A broad representation of business people participated in a two day Conservative Policy Summit held in Medford this week. The Summit was hosted by the Oregon Republican Party, the Jackson County Republican Party and Freedom Works in conjunction with conservative political action committees, Tea Party groups and other grass roots organizations. The meetings were attended by ten Southern Oregon legislators as well as county commissioners, mayors and other elected officials. The Summit provided those of us who represent the people of Southern Oregon the opportunity to listen to the concerns of the community and business leaders and to discuss the potential solutions that they suggested.
 

The primary purpose of the Medford Summit was to identify governmental barriers to private sector job creation and to recommend appropriate ways to remove those obstacles. Other areas of indepth conversation included pathways to limit the cost and the intrusive behavior of Oregon government, to improve public education and to limit potential election fraud.
 

The Summit attendees expressed their deep concern that Oregon government regulations are completely out of control and are systematically killing private sector businesses and jobs. They suggested what I would call a citizen regulatory bill of rights be adopted by the Legislature. For instance, every administrative rule must be specifically authorized by Oregon law. Each rule must achieve reproducible statistically significant outcomes. The cost of complying with the rules must be clearly stated and be justified by critically needed outcomes. Citizens must have the right to petition for the review of any administrative rule by their Legislature. Finally, the legislature would need to establish a system for systematic review and streamlining of the existing more than 11,000 administrative rules.


The desire to repeal tax Measures 66 and 67 was a central issue. The highest marginal income tax rate in the nation and the absurd tax on corporate gross income are having a chilling effect on Oregon economic growth as well as creating a negative trend in government revenue. Rescinding all Oregon ďdeath taxesĒ and significantly curtailing Oregon capital gains tax rates were discussed in detail.


Summit participants believe that significant changes to Oregonís tort liability laws are sorely needed. At main issue are the lawsuits wherein the plaintiffs and their attorneys file frivolous claims in hopes of extracting lucrative settlements. Business people often settle out of court rather than rolling the dice before a judge and jury that might award ruinous damages. The high costs of liability insurance premiums as well as the defensive business practices required by insurance underwriters are particularly difficult for the small businesses that create most of the new private sector jobs.


The Summit attendees strongly believe that we must enhance our utilization of Oregonís virtual cornucopia of natural resources. They voted unanimously to prohibit the removal of any hydroelectric dam and to include all hydro-generated electricity in the renewable portfolio standard for renewable energy. They would like the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries to inventory all natural gas, oil, and mineral resources found in Oregon. They suggested that land use regulations could be made more user friendly by having the land use commissioners appointed regionally by the county commissioners in that region, and by changing the standing for land use appeals be to only those individuals who would be directly affected by the land use decisions. Finally, they discussed capping future government land acquisitions in Oregon and to creating legislation that would compel the Governor and Attorney General to challenge any federal regulation that adversely affects Oregonís economy.


Attendees expressed their intent to work toward creating a constitutional spending limit for Oregon government, a constitutional mandate to spend no more than 95 percent of available revenue in any budget period, and to establish equity between public and private sector employee compensation. Summit participants expressed strong support for creating a strategic long term budget plan, to prioritize the core functions of government, and to privatize as many non-core services as possible.
 

Profound disappointment in the condition and performance of Oregonís education enterprise was expressed by virtually everyone in attendance. They strongly believe that the most effective treatment for the current malaise in education is to introduce more competition. They suggested the adoption of education tax credits to fund K-12 education scholarships and to further expand opportunities and funding for charter schools. They agreed that general government mandates are counterproductive and that local control of both curricula and spending is essential for good education outcomes. They believe that all forms of mandated testing should be abandoned except for a single annual national normalized test that would measure both the studentís level of attainment as well as their annual improvement. The Summit attendees were particularly vocal in their opposition to government mandated and funded attempts to indoctrinate our children with social and green agenda curricula.
 

Gail and I participated in both days of the Summit. We took part in spirited discussion regarding a lot of good ideas. We are particularly pleased that the discussions were solution oriented. The tone of the entire conference was not to complain, but to take the initiative and fix the problems that we all know exist. We plan to help make this Summit an annual event, a think tank for conservative action.


Please remember, if we do not stand up for rural OregonÖ no one will.
 

Best Regards,
 

Doug

 
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              Page Updated: Sunday September 04, 2011 04:29 AM  Pacific


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