Vicky Walker – Utility Tax Reform Leader Runs for Secretary of State

State Senator Vicky Walker wrote an outstanding piece of legislation that closed a much abused loophole that had allowed electric utilities to bill ratepayers for taxes yet not remit those taxes to the respective federal, state and local taxing authorities. For her good work, Warren Buffett and other utility executives contributed heavily to unseat her in the last election yet she narrowly won. Walker is now running for Secretary of State.

As a strong advocate of a transparent free market based economic system, it continually astounds me why so many consumers, for purely partisan political reasons, do not support public power. Businesses, churches, schools – they all use power and the benefits of structurally reducing this cost via a not for profit structure makes complete sense. Warren Buffet could not buy his local utility because it is Omaha Public Power. Is that not the definition of irony.

Frankly, I was disappointed that Intel., Oregon Steel and other industrial users did not step up to lead the formation of a private cooperative given the public’s concern over the City of Portland operating PGE.

PGE’s largest shareholders are now a Caymen Island based hedge fund. One would thing that after the Enron debacle, PGE was Enron’s largest subsidiary, that the community could step up. Of course what made this difficult was Neil Goldschmidt leading the effort to defeat public power prior to his being proposed to be CEO of the new PGE in the proposed buyout by the Texas Pacific Group and later resigning form everything due to a personal scandal.

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