Tuesday, September 5, 2006
By RAELYNN RICARTE
News staff writer
August 23, 2006
Ron Saxton believes that Oregon’s government needs economic reform — and that voters will support that message in November.
The Republican challenger to Gov. Ted Kulongoski stopped in Hood River last week to discuss his campaign platform. He said Kulongoski, as a career politician, has lost track of how the system is supposed to work.
For example, Saxton said Kulongoski promotes expansion of government programs – but then encourages a hostile business environment.
“Every cent the government spends first has to be created in the private sector. So, even if you’re an advocate of big government programs, you should really be supportive of having a healthy business base,” said Saxton. “Business is the engine that drives the system — it’s not a special interest group.”
He said that voters appear to be in step with his “forward thinking” since they have twice defeated tax measures in recent years.
“I think Oregonians are voting in a way that shows they want more controlled spending and more accountability in the way that government gets things done,” said Saxton.
He said there is no logical reason that Oregon’s average income should rank 38th in America. Or that state government should have grown in recent years by 150 percent. In addition, he said citizens in Oregon have less police protection per capita than any other state in the nation.
“Money is getting eaten up by bureaucracy and we have to focus on results. What’s important to the taxpayers and citizens is that they have a school that works, a jail that’s open and roads without potholes,” said Saxton. “The reason we’ve stepped back from results is that our system is just too expensive.”
He advocates for cutting the capital gains tax that has kept industry away. He also favors looking at ways to privatize some state services, such as the data processing done by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Another tough question that Saxton wants answered is why only six percent of the payroll in Washington State goes into a public employees’ retirement program, compared to more than 20 percent in Oregon?
“We have the most expensive retirement system in the nation — the costs are off the chart. That is why there is not enough money for schools and police protection,” said Saxton.
He said it is vital that the state find a way to stabilize funding for schools at all levels. Saxton said without a top quality education, it will be difficult to attract top companies that require a skilled workforce. And that will make it more difficult to provide government services.
Saxton, who is opposed to gambling, said he is not in favor of a tribal gaming casino in either Cascade Locks or Hood River. However, he acknowledged the “issues are complicated” and warrant further study.
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge