Saturday's Town Halls in Eugene and Creswell and My First 2009 Legislative Report



Come to one of the Town Halls in Eugene or Creswell, Saturday, January 17.


  • Eugene--9:30 am, Roosevelt Middle School Library, 680 E 24th Ave, Eugene
  • Creswell--1:00 pm, Creswell Community Center, 99 S 1st St, Creswell

If you cannot attend, I value your opinion and would still appreciate your input. Please help me by taking my survey. Click here. 



Legislative Report by Rep. Phil Barnhart


The time has come around again for a session of the Oregon legislature. 2009 will be the most critical year for our state and country for decades. Our nation’s economy and infrastructure are in tatters; our basic economic and industrial institutions have been mismanaged into the ground; and green house gas pollution from our cheap-energy economy is changing our world even as the cost and supply of oil become more and more volatile.


We have two urgent jobs to do now: we must both restore our economy and begin its transformation. We need to create new good jobs and restore confidence, and at the same time begin the age of sustainable energy.


Today we discuss economic restoration.


We are all in this economic downturn together. If our neighbor loses his job or his house his family will be worse off and so will ours. Our civilization and economy can survive and thrive if we care about each other, work and sacrifice together and plan carefully for the changes we must make.


This recession is fundamentally different than any since the 1930s. In all recessions since then, a slow decline in the value of the dollar (inflation) continued despite the economic downturn – until this one. In this recession it is likely that the value of the dollar will increase (deflation). Those acting in their own families’ immediate best interests will save as many dollars as possible. During a time of deflation, it may be prudent for a family to put off purchases until the cost comes down.  When most families behave that way it becomes a disaster for the economy because it makes the current decline in economic activity worse. Similarly, cutting state budgets will also make the recession worse.


Cutting state budgets means reducing health care for the sick, reducing the quality of our children’s education, and reducing our ability to fight crime and respond to emergencies. Every dollar we cut from the state budget is one less dollar of economic activity, which makes the recession that much worse.


This year, we must work to minimize cuts in our budget by small, judicious and fair tax increases on the big corporations and wealthy individuals. Families with low or middle class incomes and small businesses already spend nearly all just to get by. Most of the money not needed for necessities is income to big business and the wealthy. We must also close tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy and reduce their share of the tax burden. Careful correction of our tax system will benefit low and middle income families directly by protecting services we all use. It will benefit everyone by supporting the economy precisely at the time it needs more, not less, economic activity. You are more likely to keep your job if the state budget is maintained and the goods and services our government purchases continue.


All Oregonians will have to share in the sacrifices to get us through these tough times. Some will pay a little more in taxes, some will face cuts in services they really need. It will not be easy, but we will either succeed together or we will fail together. Let’s succeed.


This year, as Chair of the Revenue Committee in the House it is my job to do what I can to keep those budget cuts as low as possible, the support of our economy and your job as strong as possible, and to help build our sustainable future.  (More about economic transformation later.)


You have done well to get through this not very pleasant reading today. Please, do very well and respond to the survey posted on my legislative website at and help me by giving your ideas, thoughts, stories, and opinions, or email me at



- - - - - - - - - - - -

During the legislative sessions Rep. Phil Barnhart can be found at the Oregon State Capitol, 900 Court Street, NE, Salem, OR 97301, (503)986-1411, Please take the survey at and click on the survey link.

January 16, 2009