Cascade Policy Institute
Cascade Policy Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan American libertarian public policy research organization based in Portland, Oregon that focuses on state and local issues. The institute, founded in January 1991, seeks to "explore and advance public policy alternatives that foster individual liberty, personal responsibility, and economic opportunity". Although not aligned with any political party, the institute advocates policies that promote free markets and limited government.
Cascade publishes policy studies, quarterly newsletters, and commentaries on a variety of topics, including education, the environment, growth management, transportation, fiscal policy, health care, social services and more. The Institute also hosts meetings and conferences with local and national experts.
Asset Ownership Project
Cascade is attempting to start a pilot program that would allow employers and works to opt-out of unemployment insurance in order to take part in Individual Asset Accounts (IAAs). Under this proposal employers would direct the money normally paid for payroll taxes that fund unemployment insurance to private accounts for each worker. IAAs could be accessed during times of unemployment or if a worker wishes to invest in additional education. Upon retirement IAAs would be rolled into the worker's IRA or other retirement plan. On death the assets in the account would pass to heirs.
Wheels to Wealth
Wheels to Wealth is an on-going project by Cascade to educate the public and policy makers about the value of car ownership in helping improve economic opportunity for the poor. According to Cascade research has shown that automobile ownership has a positive effect on employment. One study, by Kerri Sullivan of Portland State University, found that car ownership reduced the likelihood of being unemployed by 80 percent, increased average weekly wages by $275, and increased the average time worked each year by 8.5 weeks. Cascade hopes to encourage assistance for car ownership among low income groups and make changes in welfare and transport policy to promote car ownership.
Children's Scholarship Fund-Portland
The Children's Scholarship Fund (CSF) helps economically disadvantaged children in Oregon by award partial-tuition scholarships to K-8 students attending private schools or being home schooled. CSF also aims to improve educational opportunities for all children by promoting education reform and school choice.
Buckstein serves as Senior Policy Analyst. He helped start Cascade and served as the organization's president since its founding in 1991 until 2004. Buckstein speaks and writes on numerous topics with a focus on education and Social Security reform. Buckstein spearheaded a 1990 ballot measure that would have provided tax credits to all K-12 students in order to promote school choice. He ran for State Treasurer as a Libertarian in 1988. Buckstein attended Oregon State University where he received an undergraduate degree in physics and an MBA.
John A. Charles, Jr.
Charles has served as President and CEO of Cascade since May 2005. Charles first joined Cascade in 1997 as Environmental Policy Director. His work focused on transportation, urban planning, land use, and using free-market approaches to solve environmental problems. He is best known for his work on managing urban growth and frequently lectures on this topic. Charles' opinion pieces have been published in newspapers all over the United States. Previously he was executive director of the Oregon Environmental Council. He served in that capacity for 17 years. During that time he also served on numerous local, state, and federal boards and commissions dealing with environmental issues. Influencing state legislation was a key component of Charles' work and he helped author numerous pieces of environmental legislation that eventually became law. Charles hold an undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh awarded in 1976 and an MPA from Portland State University granted in 1990.
- "Editorial: Low emissions". Albany Democrat-Herald. June 19, 2009.
- Tyler, Graf (December 15, 2008). "Business leaders meet to discuss Oregon Gov. Kulongoski's transportation agenda". Daily Journal of Commerce.
- State Policy Network Directory, accessed May 27, 2011
- Unemployment Insurance, Cascade Policy Institute
- Wheels to Wealth, Cascade Policy Institute
- Children's Scholarship Fund-Portland, Cascade Policy Institute
- Staff, Cascade Policy Institute