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Soapbox: State's economic troubles require serious leadership

Tigard house candidate says 'fresh thinking' is needed in Salem.


With the release of the September revenue forecast, we are staring at a bleak, long-term economic outlook for our state. Although tax collections have improved slightly to stabilize the budget for the remainder of the current biennium, the real story of the September revenue forecast is the reduction in estimated revenue for the 2013-15 biennium, which indicates the economy will remain stagnant for some time.

John Goodhouse is the Republican candidate for state representative in House District 35 running against incumbent Democrat Margaret Doherty. He lives in Tigard.

Beyond the national recession starting in 2008, Oregon is in real economic trouble due to an absence in leadership going back decades. From the governor’s office down to the Legislature, mostly one-party control in our state has saddled us with an unsustainable public employees retirement system, higher than average unemployment, lower than average personal incomes, and the unfortunate distinction of regularly being among the highest in the nation for childhood hunger.

Despite Oregon’s economy suffering for several years, and what looks to be at least several more, too many Oregon politicians remain intent on priorities that not only do nothing to spur job growth, but actually stifle potential job creators with burdensome taxes and regulations. Instead of looking to job creation as the solution to the state’s economic woes, our leaders seem committed to overly taxing business owners and corporations to continue funding government programs. This approach couldn’t be more wrongheaded.

Employers and corporations will simply lay off workers, or even worse — move out of state. Funding for Oregon’s essential programs and economic troubles lies in revenue generated from new jobs, not unfair taxes on working families and businesses.

The Oregon House Republicans proposed a robust jobs plan during the 2012 legislative session that had the potential to jump start our economy and start putting hardworking Oregonians back to work in high tech, agriculture and natural resource industries. The 50,000 Jobs in Five Years plan called for providing tax relief for lower- and middle-income families, tax incentives for employers, designating more enterprise and e-commerce zones, encouraging small businesses to hire the long-term unemployed and a host of other proven job-creating provisions.

These are the type of serious proposals that would put our state back to work, but unfortunately very little of the plan ever made it to the governor’s desk. The opposition not only declined to put forth any sort of jobs plan of its own, but assured the defeat of this one with the same old, tired, partisan gamesmanship.

Our state’s economic troubles require serious leadership, not partisanship and gridlock. Salem needs some fresh thinking from the real world and leaders willing to make the tough decisions necessary to put Oregon back on the path to prosperity. Oregon’s best days can still be ahead, but we must act soon before we go the way of our neighbor to the south.

Get on your Soapbox

The Times offers a Soapbox to stand on every week online and on our Opinion page. The Soapbox is a guest column written by any reader on any local issue of public interest. They should be no longer than 800 words (about three double-spaced typewritten pages) and should include the signature, address and phone number of the writer.

Soapboxes are due Mondays at noon and can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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