Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Former Oregon Governor, Vic Atiyeh: NO on 66 & 67

"Winston Churchill once said: "Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon."

The Democrats in the Oregon Legislature decided to "shoot" and "milk." The Democrats, knowingly or unknowingly (both are unacceptable), have most likely snuffed out the fragile flame of an accelerating recovery. They deliberately decided to match income to spending instead of what the rest of us do, which is to match spending to income.

After budgeting almost $5 billion more than the last state budget, they and their income-consuming allies are now telling us they want more. In the process of selling Measures 66 and 67 they are shamefully dividing Oregonians into three classes, two-thirds of which are to be "shot" or "milked."

Please, don't tell me it would have been too difficult and painful to balance the budget without taking more money from a targeted group of Oregonians. Don't tell me that I'm unaware of the trauma of producing a balanced budget. Don't tell me any of that. It took three special sessions to do it in 1982 as Oregon's state income fell. I know it all personally, in excruciating detail, and the memory of that experience remains with me today.

The unemployment rate then was over 12 percent. But unlike today, inflation was raging at 13 percent and interest rates were over 20 percent. That period in Oregon history has been very favorably recognized by Oregonians and the media for the actions we took. I say "we" because it took the Democratic majority and a Republican governor working together. It was not always in harmony, but always with respect.

I am strongly opposed to Measures 66 and 67. I don't want to put Oregon on the side of killing jobs -- an estimated 45,000, according to two leading economists. I have said, time and time again, that government cannot create jobs, but government can create the atmosphere for the creation of jobs by private enterprise. These two ballot measures would do the opposite.

Over my eight years as governor, I worked hard to diversify our economy -- hours upon hours, in other states and overseas. I was determined to put Oregon on the economic map. When I left office, the state no longer was competing against California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and Washington. They were competing against us.

I yearn for a majority of legislators who have the far-seeing vision to put Oregon back on track. I'm frustrated to see Oregon once again drop down to a second-class state because too many elected officials make political decisions based on their re-election.

Voters, this is your chance to send the message of hope. Vote "no" on Measures 66 and 67."