26 March 2020
My Record on Taxes and Spending
of the biggest reasons I’m running for chair of the Clackamas County Board of
Commissioners is the continued fiscal irresponsibility being shown by that
body. I strongly feel that the county is on the wrong track when it comes to
taxing and spending, and I am determined to fix it.
my years of public service, I’ve faced many difficult budgetary decisions. But
I was always able to find a way to balance budgets and leave them in better
shape than I found them.
served in the Oregon House of Representatives from 2001 to 2005. That stint in
the Legislature included holding the position of Deputy Majority Leader and being
a member of the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee.
nation was still in the grips of recession, and the state budget was in
terrible shape. Revenues flowing into state coffers were declining. Many of my
legislative colleagues said that the only way to balance the budget was to
I knew that people were struggling as they yet to experience any sort of
economic recovery. I also believed strongly that raising their tax burden would
make life harder for them, their families and businesses throughout the state.
with my colleagues, I set forth to identify and prioritize key services. We
also cut any spending that we felt was wasteful and unnecessary. Despite the challenges
involved, we balanced the budget without raising taxes.
inherited a similar situation when first elected to the Clackamas County Board
of Commissioners in November 2012. America was still coming out of its worst
economy in nearly 100 years, since the Great Depression.
though there was constant pressure to raise taxes and fees, I listened to the
county residents who were my constituents and found a way to balance the
budget. In fact, the county’s budget had a surplus by the time my four-year
term ended in January 2017.
how has the county faired since then? Not nearly as well.
is no doubt that the national economy is now much better than it was when I
served in the Legislature and the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners. The
state of Oregon has experienced record revenues for years and so has Clackamas
the county has experienced a $20 million deficit over the past two years. Its
financial situation has gotten so dire that Sheriff Craig Roberts has public
called for an audit of the county’s funds.
make matters worse, commissioners voted to increase residents’ vehicle
registration fees. I successfully lead the charge to fight back against similar
vehicle registration fee increases when I served on the Board of Commissioners.
current Clackamas County Commissioners and its Chair Jim Bernard aren’t content
to let it stop there. They’re also supporting more bonds and taxes for Metro,
an agency with a very poor track record when it comes to spending the public’s
than hold Metro accountable, Jim Bernard and the commissioners are putting you
on the hook for more multi-billion dollar mistakes.
Your choice in the upcoming Clackamas
County Commissioner chair’s race couldn’t be clearer. I am proud to stand
behind my record of balanced budgets and sound financial management. My top
priority was always to make sure that your hard-earned tax dollars were spent
wisely and responsibly, at both the state and county level.
Jim Bernard has demonstrated time and
again that he considers your pocketbook a source for bailouts for bungling bureaucrats
and their billion-dollar boondoggles.
As the next chair of the Clackamas County
Board of Commissioners, I will work tirelessly to ensure that the county’s
budget is not balanced on your back through unnecessary tax and fee increases.
19 March 2020
Why the New Clackamas County Courthouse Would be a Horrific Waste of Tax-Dollars
current Clackamas County Board of Commissioners has announced its plans to
build a new courthouse. There are many reasons I am opposed to this horrific
waste of taxpayer dollars.
one, polling has shown that 78 percent of county voters are against paying more
taxes for a new courthouse facility. That, in and of itself, should be enough
of a reason to oppose it.
new courthouse comes with an estimated cost of $230 million. Those costs would
be paid by county residents who are already feeling the impacts of $9 billion
in new taxes from the 2019 legislative session and the county’s increased
vehicle registration fee. Those layers of taxation don’t even include the multiple
tax increases being pursued by Metro.
increases are all being sought simultaneously by multiple layers of government,
from the county, Metro and the State of Oregon, regardless of the ability of
the average person to continue paying for it. Even if Clackamas County
residents are seeing wage increases, they are quickly eaten up by the spending
demands of county and state bureaucrats. All of these tax increases contribute
to the Portland area’s skyrocketing cost of living.
fund this unnecessary courthouse project, Clackamas County Board of
Commissioners Chair Jim Bernard and his cohorts want to impose an additional 17
cents per $1,000 of assessed value on property taxes. What this means is that a
homeowner whose property is valued at $350,000 will pay $595 more in property
taxes every year. It also means that housing will become less affordable for
everybody living in the county.
fact of the matter is, county residents are concerned about traffic congestion,
excessive government taxing and spending and homelessness. Having a nice, new
enough courthouse does not rank anywhere on their lists of priorities.
better, less cost option would be to consider leasing existing retail spaces
that are presently unoccupied or otherwise abandoned. That would keep property
on the tax rolls in perpetuity and require much less in the way of taxes from
are growing increasingly angry over continued taxation as the only solution to
solving problems. They want leaders who will listen and who can think outside
the box. I’m running for chair of the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners
because my track record of public service proves my willingness to lead on
at our problems with a new lens won’t cost money. But the cost of continuing down
the path of more taxing and more spending is disastrous. I’m more than happy to
provide an alternative to the status quo and its constant attempts to separate
you from your hard-earned tax dollars.
17 March 2020
My Approach to Taxing and Spending
often scoff at the idea that government agencies should budget the way that
businesses and households do. We’ve seen the disastrous consequences of that
approach at every level of government, from the trillions of dollars of federal
debt right down to the local level here in Clackamas County.
about the way you balance your checkbook every month. You know how much you
have coming in through your paycheck and other sources of income. Many expenses
like rent are fixed. Others, like utility bills, vary from month to month. But
you put together your household budget based on what your income and expenses
government tends to do the exact opposite.
often, the approach in government is to put together a wish list of what
politicians and bureaucrats want, then declare a budget crisis when the tax
dollars coming in don’t reach whatever lofty amount they set for their
priorities. That so-called budget crisis is then used to justify more taxes and
fees coming out of your pocket. The end result is that it becomes more
difficult for you to balance your checkbook and pay your bills every month.
the strain on your pocketbook is only an afterthought to politicians and
bureaucrats who forget that the funds they spend so freely come from you, the
hardworking taxpayer. Consequentially, they spend the money in ways that you,
as a responsible individual, would never think to do. Remember—politicians
don’t care how much money they spend or what they spend it on, because it isn’t
their money. It’s yours.
you imagine if a business was run this way? It would keep raising the costs of
goods and services on customers, who would then take their business elsewhere.
That business would have no choice but to close its doors.
chair of the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners, I intend to take a common-sense
approach to managing tax dollars responsibly. Any decisions made about taxing
and spending will be done with the understanding that these resources come out
of the pockets of working people like you and need to go towards providing the
critical services you expect to receive.
stand firm against reckless and irresponsible spending and have always insisted
that government should live within its means, the same way that we do as
individuals, households and business owners.