Nonprofit watchdog organization gives Oregon Department of Corrections Golden Fleece award.

Salem – Common Sense For Oregon today launched a statewide radio campaign highlighting examples of excessive government spending in Oregon. The radio spot offers examples of waste in state government.

“The Governor and lawmakers have been telling the people of Oregon that they need more money, which means they want higher taxes,” said Ross Day, executive director of Common Sense For Oregon. “This campaign will provide Oregonians with hard evidence that Oregon’s politicians have a spending problem, not a revenue problem.”

Common Sense For Oregon claims that $773,000 of taxpayer dollars were spent in the 2007-2009 budget cycle on free soda pop for prisoners.

“At a time when schools are cutting school days, services to our society’s most vulnerable are being cut, and Oregon’s unemployment is near record highs, we are providing prisoners with free soda pop,” Day said. "Raising taxes without cutting outrageous spending hurts all of us."

The $773,000 for free soda pop earned the Department of Corrections the first Oregon Golden Fleece Award given by Common Sense For Oregon.

Common Sense For Oregon has set up an anonymous, toll-free tip line for citizens to call and nominate examples of government waste. The telephone number is 1-887-UFLEECE. Citizens can also go online to www.commonsensefororegon.org and leave an anonymous message.

The Oregon Golden Fleece Award is modeled after the Golden Fleece Award created by the late Senator William Proxmire (D-WI), which exposed examples of wasteful government spending in the national budget. Senator Proxmire’s Golden Fleece Award drew national acclaim and received thousands of tips — a large number of which were from employees of the federal government.

Common Sense For Oregon intends to give its Oregon Golden Fleece Award on a monthly basis to the person, politician or government agency responsible for the most notorious — and wasteful — example of spending highlighted in the previous month.