You Have a Choice
Why am I running for office?
The most common question asked of any candidate is, why do you want to run for office?
The full answer has as many parts to it as there are legislative issues, but the defining moment for me came when I attended a legislative committee hearing and heard the story of a family in trouble. It was a story told by a middle-aged woman about herself and her husband whose lives were wrapped up in their family trucking business. To them, she said, it was not just a job, it was their way of life. But the State of Oregon alleged that his neck was too thick and that meant he had a sleeping disability. His commercial driver's license was denied. The wife said It wasn't true, he was fine. Personally, I believe the wife, not the state. But his life and livelihood were at stake and he consented to have an operation in order to satisfy the government. He had the operation. Ten days later he died of a blood clot in his lungs.
The wife was devasted, but she was determined to pass on their legacy in his name. The wife picked up the family business where he had left off. The hard part is this: She testified against the Cap and Trade tax bill because the higher gas taxes of the bill would devastate her business -- and her life -- and her husband's legacy. This family may still be a victim of excessive tax overreach by a rapacious group of extremists who run the State of Oregon. That is why I am running. The fate of a family that was once proud, productive, and valuable to their community, turns into a destructive nightmare of welfare, food stamps, unemployment, and despair. The state not only loses the legitimate taxes residents might pay, but it creates a financial dependency draining the wealth of the state. I want to stop further destructive, regressive taxes if I am elected to the legislature.
You have a choice.
Taxes, Fees and Regulations
Historically Oregon has depended on a real property tax and an income tax levied on its citizens, businesses, and other organizations. The extremists in Salem were able to pass their gross receipts tax which will extract $1 billion per year from the economy. The Cap and Trade bill Republicans have opposed would further hamper the economy and cost Oregonians money on energy use and achieve nothing but solidarity with the European Green Party. The climate will remain the same no matter what happens. This proposal is about another regressive tax. Additionally, the most recent legislative sessions have raised fees on water, public utilities, telecommunication providers, oil tanks, liquor, hospitals, nonmotorized boats, pipelines, court fees, commercial weighing or measuring instruments, cigarettes, and cigars. And these are just the state taxes.
It does not include Portland, Lake Oswego, Metro, or county taxes. It does not include bond measures. And they even tried to take your kicker money.
Oregonians should not be taxed out of their homes, Oregonians should not have to bear cold homes because they can't afford the heat, go hungry because food prices are up, or worry about paying their supplemental Social Security health insurance because the State has taken their money from them. If you are an ascetic, vote for the other person. In District 38, you have a choice. Vote for Pat Castles.
I will continue to fight against tax tyranny in Oregon.
If the waste of an estimated $500 million on the Cover Oregon Computer and the Columbia River Crossing did not indicate a problem with administering Oregon's government, you only need to follow the news to get an idea of how bad things have become. Here are a few headline examples:
- State child welfare system fails to meet federal standards
- 37,000 mistakenly enrolled in Oregon
- 4th leader in 4 years takes over child welfare system
- Test scores drop to a five-year low
These actual headlines are only the tip of the iceberg. Oregon's problems run deep in nearly all of its bureaus. We must remember that Governor Brown took office because, Cylvia Hayes, Governor Kitzhaber's live-in lover at the Governor's mansion, was using the office she was given by her boyfriend to fatten her bank account. Beyond that, the governor had attempted to cover it up by ordering e-mails (which were state property) deleted.
More recently, we have seen headlines telling us that our Employment Department computer was broken down and cannot process claimant's insurance requests. Neither is it capable of passing along the Cares Act $600 payment from the Federal Government or waive the one week waiting period as allowed by the law. The Employment Department has put out a special call for Cobol programmers to re-program the antique computer language they use. This is your Government.
These issues can all be laid at the feet of Governor Brown and her foot soldiers in the legislature. Governor Brown has been criticized by even her friends over her late handling of the pandemic crisis. Also, Willamette Week reported that on March 3, 2020 she wrote Vice President Pence a letter stating that Oregon had ample testing kits. Almost immediately after her letter, she requested many more lab kits. Subsequently, she reported 20,000 lab kits, but then discovered that she had only 10,000. It doesn't matter. We can end ideological extremism by electing new leadership. Return adults to Oregon Government.
Oregon, you have a choice!
Few of us have any doubt that much is going on out of public view in the Governor's office. We will never know the extent of backroom dealing that goes on between the Governor and the bureaus she guides. Of all the public positions in Oregon's government, the one that should reflect bipartisanship and goodwill is the public advocates office, formerly headed by Ginger McCall. The Oregonian/OregonLive reported [12/11/19] that, "Among other things, McCall alleged Isaak intimidated and pressured her to secretly advance Brown's agenda, even if it conflicted with the mission or objectives of McCall's office."
McCall resigned in protest from the public advocates office position rather than deal with the duplicity of a Governor who does not respect the honorable processes still living within Oregon government. I support the transparency in Oregon's government and will work to ensure the successful implementation of its objectives. Furthermore, I will support efforts by journalists, interest groups, and other responsible parties to get information from and about their government in a timely manner
without unreasonable costs to the applicants. It's time for a change.
You have a choice.
As a lifelong Oregonian, I want to preserve the beauty and magnificence of our environment. The diversity of interests among Oregon's residents requires us to respect the viewpoints of others on land use. Whether it is fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, or other uses, we should be
able to provide outdoor uses without compromising the gift we have in our state. Oregon is to be shared and kept for future generations to enjoy in the same way we do today. Neither is it a museum with locked doors where only an elite have the keys. Telling the truth and a complete story about the environment is a first start. Science was at stake when we were told that the spotted owl was endangered because of logging when it was being pushed out by another species of owl. We need to get to the scientific truth. Ideologues pushing an agenda will not do it.
You have a choice.
The state is complicit in homelessness. High taxes and regulation on new construction make it impossible to have adequate housing stock at all levels of need. Restrictions on rent make it more difficult to find the true market rates for housing. Furthermore, laws need to be enforced. We can deal with drug and mental health issues compassionately. But this problem will never end unless we pick up people violating our laws, despoiling out streets, polluting our rivers and give them the help that they need.
You have a choice.
As residents of a state with a history of failed green subsidies, we are constantly revisited with new examples. In the past we were treated to a picture of a metal folding chair next to a box of junk in an undeveloped field somewhere in Lake County, the purported site of a solar project that never happened. That didn't stop the state from issuing tax credits to various parties for the nonexistent solar arrays.
In 2015, The Oregonian wrote in an editorial, "Oregonians care about climate change, but they know that 19 cents per gallon is a high price to pay for a global-warming effect that even a gnat with a microscopic calculator would have a hard time working out. The same editorial complained, ". . . opacity and misdirection have accompanied the policy at the heart of the controversy for years." This editorial complained about financial calculations Governor Brown
knew were wrong, yet were used to justify the tax increase.
Oregon's history is replete with green subsidies that failed and a Department of Energy that is out of control. Last year, the state accepted a $500,000 settlement from Martin Shain in a civil case over solar fraud in which a state employee was bribed. And in a related case, the state recouped $13 million from Solar City for its role in the plot. Regarding an appraisal the company did, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported [10/13/19]: "The methodology was not permitted under state rules, but energy department managers simply rubber stamped the submissions without doing due diligence to determine if the costs were valid." The state settlement with these parties did not recoup all the costs in the fraud, nor was the cost of prosecution included. The latest state folly is the Cap and Trade legislation Republicans have refused to support. You will pay more for energy; the taxes will get spent on wasted subsidies or failed missions that don't benefit Oregonians and the climate will not be affected. Some things never change. And the reason they don't change is that the same people are in charge.
You have a choice.
As noted above, the news continues to be bad in education. The same headline that noted a drop in test scores to a five-year low, also noted that the declines were in every grade level and only 40% of students were proficient in math. That Oregon's graduation rate is one of the worst in the country is well known. And out of 10 states that give the Smarter Balanced academic achievement tests to their students in 2019, Oregon showed the second-worst math performance, behind only Nevada. The ideologically driven leadership in Oregon has led its citizens in a corner. Governor Kate Brown and her drones in the legislature have let Oregonians down.
You have a choice.
Public Employees Retirement System (PERS)
Over the years, the one-party state Democrats have nurtured their relationship with the public employee unions. They have received valuable contributions vital to their continuing monopoly of political power in Oregon. The problem for them is paying for it. Recently they have taken to saying that certain taxes are there to "pay for the kid's education." Of course, what they really mean is a large portion of the budget goes to pay the retirement of teachers. The system has some perverse effects that have incentivized teachers to quit early. But that is not the main problem. Commented [PC1]: The latest debt amount (it is constantly changing upward) owed the teachers under the current system is $31 billion. The actual amount fluctuates according to business conditions. The success of the investment strategy is linked to the effectiveness of professional managers. Without going into the details, the managers are not able to keep up with the required amount to pay the benefits that have been negotiated. Using the $31 billion and dividing by the rough guess of 4 million Oregonians, the amount owed is $7,750 per person. The table, per person, looks like this:
As the overall cost of living in the State of Oregon increases, you will see calls by Democrats to pay more and more for the kids. The cost over the entire length of the program approaches $285 billion. Please do not leave this as a legacy to the next generation. We can be fair to teachers without taking away from other needed programs or undermining the financial health of over-taxed low income Oregonians.
Under Kate Brown, whose lack of imagination requires her to follow the pattern set by our southern neighbor, the challenge will be to escape office before the financial disaster hits. She kicked the can down the road with SB1049, but cannot ask her campaign fund source to make further sacrifices. For those of you in my camp who won't leave our state and don't want to be impoverished, it will be necessary to ask state employees to shoulder more of their retirement burden, and like many other states, pay into the fund that will benefit them when they retire.
You have a choice.
This list of issues is far from exhaustive. Oregon faces enormous challenges as the future comes towards us at a faster and faster rate. Rising taxes and growing obligations imposed by the one-party Democrats is leading Oregon off a cliff. Reduced tax revenue is only a part of the equation. If Cap and Trade is passed, it will destroy businesses that pay taxes and the owners and employees will end up as dependents on public welfare. A vote for me is a vote for lower taxes. The party in power does not value business activity that generates much of the revenue it depends on to pay for their utopian dreams. As the current pandemic reduces the expected state tax revenue, the threat of bankruptcy becomes more real. If the capital markets do not buy Oregon bonds due to declining ratings, we will all see a level of chaos, personal destruction, sorrow, and loss unprecedented in our state's history. To those who vote for me, I offer hope. A rational way out is possible. It is not easy to clean up other people's messes. It is dirty, difficult work. That is why this election is so pivotable to the future. The time is now to make a course change.
PLEASE VOTE FOR ME, PAT CASTLES. AND SUPPORT MY CAMPAIGN.
YOU HAVE A CHOICE AND A VOICE FOR CHANGE.