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Op Ed: CHOICE: Next Steps For New CenturyHenry Clay Ruark Salem-News.com
Futilized corporate tax consequence shapes Oregon lifestyle.
(EUGENE, Ore.) - Democracy is definitely a Do-It-Yourself operation, no matter at what level or in what format. Citizen choice shapes and solidifies whatever we put in place so long as we have The vote.
Never has citizen choice been more potent of powerful change than for Measures 66 and 67, with your choice of action due in the ballot-box by 8:00 p.m. Jan. 26. For seventy years many corporations in Oregon have paid only a “minimum $10 corporate tax”.
Out-of-state corporations profit MILLIONS in Oregon, pay CEO’s lavishly, yet pay “only a measly $10” to the state. TWO-THIRDS of corporations doing business in Oregon paid only that paltry amount in recent years -- a minute fraction of their FAIR SHARE --reduced by manipulated “tax-breaks”.
Many have done so for extended years of usage. They have enjoyed a free ride while other tax-payers put up much of what it takes to create an effective foundation for those Oregon-based businesses. Costs for the foundation essential to build creative entrepreneurial relationships continue whether or not the business produces profit.
It must still be there to provide absolutely essential continuing conditions and full facilities as healthy business matures to status sought by sensitive, sensible, sympathetic --and wise-- investors. MILLIONS -- perhaps BILLIONS -- have been lost to Oregon revenue, while we neglect our schools, colleges and universities, our health and security services, our environment and our very foundation. The decision will affect our future.
Why that was allowed is a long story of manipulation by managers intent only on “profit” --and how that can be managed to show “none”. Most revealing mirror-measure is the fact that they now have 48 tax-breaks as working tools. FORTY were set up somehow, slipping through the legislative process since 1980.
In short: many in business have found the pattern to “socialize the risks and privatize the profits” -as widely known among those involved and those who report over the years: “two-thirds of U.S. corporations pay no income tax at all”, reports national award winning Mother Jones Magazine.
That situation surely does not reflect FAIR SHARE. Measure 67 begins essential reform of our perverted pattern --already far overdue, with action which leaves 97 percent of Oregonian businesses paying the new minimum of $150, OR UNTOUCHED. “Sole Proprietorship” pay nothing; LLC, S-Corp., CCorp. (less than $500,000 Oregon revenue) pay $150.
The rate becomes a minute 1.3% on profits only when those welcome returns are over $250,000. Why resent, deny, and try to defeat a FAIR SHARE of 1.3% paid as cost for provision of the foundation for the whole enterprise?
Why resent, deny, and try to defeat a FAIR SHARE when the only alternative is far more damaging cuts to education at all levels providing our future creative workforce; to courts, police, essential services supporting enterprise; and to those captured by the current economic debacle? Will other, substituted cuts be forced bt State budget law anyhow if Measure 67 is lost? Absolutely!
The Legislature has no further choice but to produce a balanced budget. They did a nationally-noted and praised job in developing these two Measures carefully, comprehensively and creatively.
The initiative forced by opponents insults not only the Legislature but the common sense of all Oregonians. For those now screaming about being “caught short with no chance to plan for 2009”, the fact is that the Legislature was on record in June.
Opponents find themselves forced to fall back on fear, once again, through distorted, erroneous and intentional misstatement, to make a massively faltering and futile case.
Their tv/radio ads and public statements have brought Oregon heavily-damaging notoriety for cynical manipulative massage of public information processes. In the process they proceed one step farther down the disastrous road reducing the valid initiative process to just another tool for the money-power to manipulate.
Under Measure 66, 97.5% of Oregon taxpayers will NOT see their taxes increase. ONLY those with household incomes over $250,000 ($125,000 for individual filers) will note any change. For those at/above $260,000, the tax will be $180 --an “absolutely staggering $3.50 a week”!
For those with the absolutely staggering income-level of $300,000, that becomes fair-share of $900 --“the awesome fair share of less than $18.00 a week”!
Measure 66 also reduces 2009 income taxes due on unemployment benefits, nicely demonstrating very honest, open application of the FAIR SHARE principle. Monies collected via Measures 66 & 67 will go straight to education: 52 Percent, healthcare/seniors: 24 Percent, public safety: 17 Percent, other programs: 7 Percent. The two measures provide $727 MILLION already included in the Legislative budget. IF the measures fail, the Legislature meeting in special session beginning Feb. 2 MUST BY LAW provide a set of fully equivalent cuts from wherever it can be slashed: + $280 MILLION from Education K-12, forcing larger classes, shorter school year, loss of programs, plus the closure of six prisons, the release of of 1,900 inmates; loss of 64 State Police positions. + 7,300 Oregonians lose mental health services and treatment, and 3,000 elderly will lose home care.
Facts are facts, immutable guides to open, wise, and democratic decision. The Legislature, elected to make choices, did so wisely, well, with full detailed study --and acted courageously. Opponents trivialize and traumatize the initiative process and democratic governance, insulting Oregonian intelligence and common sense. It’s your Choice-and your consequences.
At 21, Henry Clay Ruark was Aroostook Editor for the Bangor, Maine DAILY NEWS, covering the upper 1/4 of the state. In the ‘40s, he was Staff Correspondent, then New England Wires Editor at United Press-Boston; later Editor for the Burlington, Vermont 3-daily group owned by Wm. Loeb, later notorious at Manchester, New Hampshire UNION LEADER for attacks on Democratic Presidential candidates.
Hank returned to Oregon to complete M. Ed. degree at OSU, went on to Indiana University for Ed.D. (abd) and special other course-work; was selected as first Information Director for NAVA in Washington, D.C.; helped write sections of NDEA, first Act to supply math, science, foreign language consultants to state depts. of education; joined Oregon Dept. of Education, where he served as NDEA administrator/Learning Media Consultant for ten years.
He joined Dr. Amo DeBernardis at PCC, helping establish, extend programs, facilities, Oregon/national public relations; moved to Chicago as Editor/Publisher of oldest educational-AV journal, reformed as AV GUIDE Magazine; then established and operated Learning Media Associates as general communications consultant group. Due to wife’s illness, he returned to Oregon in 1981, semi-retired, and has continued writing intermittently ever since, joining S-N in 2004. His Op Eds now total over 560 written since then.
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