Tim Nesbitt


Ohio voters affirm the “Defense of Democracy” enacted by Oregonians 25 years ago

By: - August 9, 2023

Voters in Ohio turned back a blatant attempt to change the rules of their democracy this week, when they trounced a ballot referral designed by the state’s Republican Legislature to stymie a citizen initiative headed to the ballot in November.  The issue in this case was abortion rights, which elevated Ohio’s Measure 1 to national […]

Watermelon harvest in Hermiston

Oregonians celebrate small family farms, but they’re wary of ‘Big Ag’

By: - July 28, 2023

Disputes over farming of any kind are likely to involve some version of “Big Ag” versus small family farms, each asserting their attention to the environment, their stewardship of the land and the benefits and costs of their products for consumers. “Go big or go broke” was how a number of large dairy farmers and […]

Shemia Fagan with vote tattoo

What was Fagan thinking?

By: - May 3, 2023

There’s something called the “any damn fool” rule in politics. It’s an unwritten rule because, well, any damn fool should know better, no matter what the law says or how the rules can be interpreted to justify one’s actions. Secretary of State Shemia Fagan learned this rule the hard way, when she took on a […]

Mount Hood National Forest

Should Oregon’s population decline concern us? 

By: - April 14, 2023

State economists sounded the alarm recently about a slight but sudden decline in Oregon’s population, warning of a potential drag on an economy that has benefited from steady in-migration for more than three decades.  For business leaders in Portland and budget watchers in Salem, this decline was another warning signal that Oregon should get its […]


Progressives advance a “mend it, don’t end it” approach to Oregon’s kicker

By: - March 14, 2023

This is the year when progressives in Oregon stopped trying to abolish the state’s tax kicker and began to figure out how to live with it. Their ideas chart a path that could resolve the decades-long conflict over Oregon’s most loved and hated tax policy. Progressives at the Oregon Center for Public Policy have argued […]

Tax forms for IRS

State economists conclude Oregon just enjoyed a blockbuster decade

By: - February 24, 2023

Good news is hard to accept at times, as when economists tell us that Oregon has just enjoyed one of its best decades ever – growing jobs, boosting wages, narrowing income inequality and diminishing poverty at rates not seen in most of our lifetimes. Wait, what?  Yes, that’s what the data shows for Oregon’s economy […]


Even the best new plans to reduce homelessness will take years to show results

By: - February 16, 2023

In a new year, with new leadership, there’s a new plan a week to address Oregon’s chronic homelessness problems.  Gov. Tina Kotek declared a homelessness state of emergency in most areas of the state on her first full day in office. Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson followed with a new Multnomah Housing Now program, […]

Oregon Senate floor session

Why limit tax credit auctions to exclusive few?

By: - December 7, 2022

This is the time of year when solicitations for charitable giving arrive with appeals not just to the better angels of our nature but to our more mundane aversion to paying taxes. Our tax system is explicitly designed to subsidize charitable giving. So, as in the iconic holiday movie, It’s a Wonderful Life: When we […]


Oregon’s gun safety initiative will challenge the state’s Democratic leadership

By: - November 16, 2022

It will now be up to the Democratic leadership in Salem to determine the fate of Oregon’s gun safety initiative, Measure 114 – a measure that was strongly supported by voters in Democratic precincts and just as strongly rejected by voters in the rest of the state. Measure 114 was never a major issue for […]

Official ballot site election

Let’s not give up on democracy but agree on how to make it better

By: - September 15, 2022

This column is part of a project called Democracy Day, in which newsrooms across the country are shining a light on threats to democracy. We have long celebrated states as laboratories of democracy. But many states have begun to apply their experiments to the workings of democracy itself – reassessing who should be able to […]


Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan corrects only one problem of unsustainable college debt

By: - August 30, 2022

President Biden’s decision to forgive up to $20,000 in unpaid college loans has reignited debate over the responsibilities of taxpayers, students and their families to sustain a “learn now, pay later” system that has become for many a path to indentured obligation rather than a portal to expanded opportunity.  It has also exposed yet another […]

First debate delivers telling first impressions of candidates for Oregon governor

By: - August 3, 2022

Candidates for governor are in a league of their own. Debates matter in these contests. Heads turn when the power hitters come to bat. And, unlike in the primaries, these are not events when the voters who show up are all wearing team caps. So, it’s the unaffiliated voters, now more numerous than ever in […]