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Novick seething over critical flier

Mailer says street tax would hurt city's 'most vulnerable'

Commissioner Steve Novick is fuming over a mailing from an out-of-town advocacy group attacking him and Mayor Charlie Hales over their efforts to pass a street fee.

The mailing includes cartoonish pictures of Hales and Novick, refers to them as “The Taxing Twins,” and accuses them of trying to raise taxes on Portland’s “most vulnerable families and seniors.” It was paid for by the Oregon Capitol Watch Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by former Republican state Rep. Jeff Kropf and based in Sublimity.

Novick says OCWF wasted its contributors’ money with the mailing.

“No responsible political consultant would advise a client to spend money on a hit piece in January of a nonelection year,” Novick said. “There must be other, more prudent right-wing extremist groups in Oregon that spend their contributors’ money more effectively.”

Kropf said OCWF was formed to educate Oregonians about misspending by state lawmakers. He explained the mailing went out because Hales and Novick are now lobbying the 2015 Oregon Legislature to increase state taxes for transportation in the hopes of receiving more state road funds.

“They couldn’t get their street fee passed in Portland, and now they’re trying to get taxpayers in the rest of the state to pay for their projects. There’s no guarantee how the money will be spent if they get it,” Kropf said.

Kropf declined to says where OCWF gets its money, but says most of it comes from Oregon donors. Its website includes links to numerous conservation and libertarian organizations, including the Cascade Policy Institute, the Oregon TEA Party, the Cato Institute, and FreedomWorks. Before starting OCWF, Kropf led the Oregon chapter of Americans for Prosperity.