Today, on KPAM’s Victoria Taft show, I listened to Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron Saxton blather on about out-of-control state spending.
That’s a fiction. I proved so in my April post, “Oregon is not a high tax state.”
In my blogger delusionality, I figured that would be the end of it. Politicians and talk show hosts would have learned the truth. My post would have changed the world.
Sadly, the message obviously hasn’t gotten through. So I’ll sing my song again.
Oregon ranks 36th out of the 50 states in state and local taxes as a percentage of per capita income. Colorado is #37, and it already has a cap on state government spending.
So where is the need for the Oregon TABOR (Taxpayer Bill of Rights) ballot measure that would starve state spending and cut necessary services like education and law enforcement?
There isn’t any need. Even Ron Saxton knows that. He isn’t supporting TABOR. Yet he told Victoria Taft that if the measure passes and he’s Governor, he could happily live within the spending limit.
Saxton must have taken campaigning lessons from John Kerry. He isn’t for TABOR, but he’s not against it either.
The most nonsensical words that I heard Saxton utter (and many competed for this distinction) were in response to a Taft question: “Could you ever see yourself raising taxes?”
Saxton said that he couldn’t, because taxes shouldn’t be raised in a down economy, and taxes should be cut in a booming economy. So there never is a reason to raise taxes.
Well, mathematics isn’t my strong suit. But it seems evident that if Oregon (A) kept taxes the same in bad times and (B) cut taxes in good times, eventually the state tax rate would be zero. Oregon would have starved itself to death, just like an anorexic who believes that she (or he) never can be too thin.
Yet you can be too thin. That’s why anorexia nervosa is a disease, not a desirable lifestyle.
In the same fashion, tax-cut anorexics (otherwise known as right-wing Republicans) have the delusion that government spending can go on a limitless spending diet without ever incurring any ill effects.
I’d like to ask Saxton, “Could you ever see yourself spending more of your household income on health care?” I assume he’d say “Yes.”
If not, I’d follow up with: “What if your wife or child fell ill and needed expensive medical treatment that wasn’t covered by insurance? Would you be willing to spend more money to save the life of a loved one?” Almost all of us would. All of us who have more than an ounce of human compassion.
So Ron, what if it was your beloved state of Oregon that had fallen on hard times and needed more money to cure health, education, environmental, transportation, or other serious problems?
No one should vote for a candidate who says that he’ll never raise taxes. Especially when he lives in a state that already has a below-average state and local tax burden. Fall another ten places in the rankings, from 36 to 46, and Oregon will enjoy the company of Alabama.
You can be too thin. And you also can be too tax-starved. Don’t vote for Saxton. Or for the TABOR measure. Keep Oregon lean, not anorexic.
[Next day update: just came across this excellent Daily Kos piece about TABOR-like state spending limitations. It hits on the same themes I did, and points out what a disaster the Colorado experience has been.]