JOHN DAY - Oregon Sen. Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day) and Rep. John Dallum (R-The Dalles) spoke at the annual Old West Federal Credit Union meeting Sunday, April 17, at the John Day Senior Center. Amidst the procedures of the business meeting, each took time to speak about their work in Salem on behalf of their constituents.
-Rep. Dallum, in his first term in the Legislature, spoke about the steep learning curve he has undergone, and expressed his thanks to Ferrioli for his assistance. He then gave the audience of about 100 people an overview of the Legislature's budgeting process.
-"An agreement had been made that for the first time in a long time, the state would set how much they could spend," Dallum said. "That, from where I come from, seemed so logical."-
As Dallum explained it, the agreement was history-making, and then, when state revenue forecasts predicted additional funds, the Democrats promptly found ways to spend it, without consulting the other party, and then the Republicans promptly pulled out of budget negotiations.
-Rep. Dallum is working on a grant to help fund the operations of Blue Mountain District Hospital. He also supports Project Independent, which helps to keep senior citizens in their homes as long as they are physically able.
Funding for a new prison in Madras is also a priority, he said. In addition, he has worked to bring cell phone service to Fossil, plugging a gap in cell service in Eastern Oregon.
-Ferrioli, the Senate Minority Leader, said that changes in the Senate, leaving Democrats in control, have made a difference in how business is conducted.-
"Part of my job is to position Republicans for victory in the next cycle," Ferrioli said.-
-Some of the issues with which Ferrioli is dealing include the navigability of state rivers, including the John Day River; Senate Bill 1028, which he is introducing with Democratic Sen. Kate Brown, will eliminate any further declarations of navigability statewide.- Instead, the bill will authorize the Legislature to create a recreation management plan for Class 1 rivers in Oregon, which will put recreational users and landowners together to solve access problems.
-Ferrioli is also unhappy in the turn the debate concerning wolf reintroduction has taken.-
"I do not believe that the State of Oregon has any business in listing an extinct species on the State of Oregon Endangered Species Act," Ferrioli said.
He also believes that since the wolves are coming from Idaho, Oregon ranchers and game officials should be able to handle the wolves under the same rules that Idaho officials can use.
-Sen. Ferrioli is also working with the state banks and credit unions on a bill to make it harder for methamphetamine addicts to steal personal information from individuals.-
"When you've got meth crimes, you've also got identity theft," Ferrioli said.
He considers agency oversight one of the most important tasks of the Legislature.-
"I just think we're being protected to death," Ferrioli said. One example is that the Bureau of Labor and Industries has determined that performers at county fairs are employees, and that taxes must be withheld from their pay, simply because someone tells the performer when to do their act.
-Ferrioli identified health care as another important issue; he has worked to increase the tax credit for physicians and nurses from $5,000 per year to $10,000 per year, to help attract health professionals to rural areas.
-Another issue Ferrioli is championing is doubling the deductibility of Oregon taxes for taxpayers, especially for those in lower tax brackets. He estimated the cost at about $250 million, and that it will create 25,000 jobs immediately, paying between $29,000 and $34,000 annually; in addition, it would take one-third of people on the welfare rolls off Welfare.
-He is also working to prevent taxation of credit unions with assets in excess of $100 million. Such a move, he said, would work to hurt economic growth in areas such as Grant County.- Quoting Thomas Jefferson, Ferrioli said, "The power to tax is the power to kill."-
-In other credit union business, Ralph Goodwin, president of the credit union, was presented with an award for 25 years of service.- The grand door prize, a choice between a trip for two to the National Rodeo Finals and a 36-inch big-screen television, was won by Joe Schmitz of John Day.