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Jun-09-2009 14:07printcomments

Corporate Dodgeball
Far Too Much, Too Long

ANY Oregon-Profit Corporation Should Pay Fair Taxes. photo by Tim King

(EUGENE, Ore.) - FINALLY, our Oregon Legislature comes face to face with that “meal of consequences” put off now for more than SEVENTY YEARS. That’s how long we “silent ones” have stood still, while active corporate accountants have continued to apply consummate skill to the paper-based corporate tax “dodgeball-game.”

The main ticket-used has been that ludicrous “$10 minimum” corporate tax measure about to be brought into rational, reasonable level by now-unavoidable action --after SEVENTY YEARS of often-unconscionable usage to massively minimize tax-take for State purposes.

How many billions have been lost to legitimate tax income for Oregon is literally incalculable; but can there now remain any question of its easily remediable consequences over an immensely damaging time-frame?

Strong supporting roles have been played by the numerous tax-breaks built up over decades by constant corporate/business interests --always at work in any Legislature, across the nation.

Even the most casual observers must admit to that unavoidably obvious action. That’s where “corporate campaign contributions”, in the name of “political-process rights granted to a nonhuman individual” came from: To satisfy rapacious railroad interests intent on securing huge land-grants for early capitalization.

Decades and deep-piled special-suit legal action finally brought paid-for erroneous assumption of a Court action, falsely recorded by a former railroad attorney, forming a very highly controversial ‘legal precedent” now under attack across the nation.

The huge consequences are now well-recognized for the lush, lavish, laid-on impacts surrounding every legislator, at every level, in every town, state and in Congress. Can any reasonable, rational observer now deny the desperately-consequential outcomes of that nationallynoted very natural development?

It was so characterized by one current perpetrator “deeply involved in Congressional participation”, which in and of itself should be solid documentation for most rational, reasonable persons.

If enough money-bags are providentially provided to surround even the most devoted of public-servants, it seems, it is wise to expect precisely such “natural outcomes” -- at every level, since “human failure knows no political-level limitations”.

That “dodge-ball” descriptive comes direct from one long-experienced participant, well skilled in facile, fulsome and furiously unfair moves and the assorted, rapidly massive, maneuvers demanded for successful sequences sold to his tax-avoiding clients.

“We find, check out and then apply every single one of those many tax breaks and beat-back-tax pieces of the puzzle supplied by the Legislature over the years,” he stated, speaking from long and well-paid experience, on condition of confidentiality. (Disclosure: Interview occurred recently by lucky happenstance. Confidentiality to protect his business.)

THIS WEEK, without doubt, will be inscribed in Oregon history no matter which way our elected representatives, sworn to act in commonwealth interest, finally put themselves on the ultimate public record. After SEVENTY YEARS of facile, furious dodgeball, corporate interests solidly based in this supremely attractive State, will find that the game of tax-avoiding dodgeball has come to an end.

One way or t’other, to their overriding dismay if done the wrong way, this game is about to be scored remorselessly and remarkably by the great mass of Oregon voters. Given the solid-fact menu supplied in detail, depth and devastating numbers by Oregon’s noted OCPP, every Oregon voter now has easily, rapidly, remorselessly right out there --at a moment’s time-and-effort, on any computer--full access to “see with own eyes, evaluate with own mind” what has been well darkened, kept in depth and distorted detail, with devastating consequence for far too long. (See accompanying S-N report and link for ten page detailed analysis and very painful cuts-proposed.)

Far too many --both legislators and Oregon citizens influential with others-- have sought and are still, even NOW, seeking to delude, distort, defy and deny what has, is now, and will continue to happen here --IF WE allow it TO BE THAT WAY. Are we about to win deeply-damaging notoriety AGAIN in Doonesbury, the “comic strip” noted for its prescient social/cultural/economic comments?

The Doonesbury illumination on Oregon’s distressing cuts re schools and public services cost us billions in bad public relations damage, during another less-damaging recession. Its cumulated impacts are still costing this State an unfair black mark whenever new industries, new businesses, new tax-producing corporations seek information backgrounding their economy-building decisions.

That simply cannot be denied, nor set aside as less than relevant, relating to precisely what the stimulus and other programs now underway are planned to help produce --return to relative and reasonable business activities.

THAT presumes, naturally and very normally, that every Oregon-based business, at ANY level, operated by ANY truly knowledgeable management, understands and fully appreciates the unavoidable, remorseless certainty that ALL economic operations, in our vaunted capitalistic system, depend on faith and cooperation.

The very heart-and-soul of that truly American approach to our entrepreneurial system is the open and honest action by each to pay a fair share of what is essential for continued governance protecting, preserving and extending benefits of our democratic system to all of us. It is our mutually-shared tax payments which preserve, protect, and can still extend the common wealth we all share.

Without State provision of property protections under law and custom, and multiple, massive provision of operating facilities, easy-access for all, education for children and students at all levels, and equal-for-all judicial supervision, we would revert to radically ridiculous and very primitive status --again, for all.

Details of the dangers we now all face are contained, in full depth and detail, in the accompanying S-N report from the Oregon Center for Public Policy. Consult that report and its link for the full consequential and particularly painful freedom-and opportunity slashes which will follow --as surely as day does the night-- for our beloved State of Oregon, given the threatening failure of reasonable, rational bills seeking to place EFFECTIVE ACTION into effect NOW.

Despite desperate, anguished --but distorted statement from opponents of these key measures HB 2649 and HB 3405, it is “precisely in the midst of our economic crisis that we MUST NOW take the essential longer-range actions demanded.” HOW ELSE can we begin the essential remediation to prepare for another long-range return to the prosperity we have enjoyed in recent years?

WHAT ELSE can reasonable, rational, democratic, representative governance DO to make sure we DO RETURN to that past prosperity ? Surely further failure to provide equal-share taxburden on profit-producing business is sensible, sensitive and simply unavoidable.

Just as surely, those who by happenstance and/or inheritance have found themselves well-endowed with a higher share of the common wealth --produced only by the opportunity and facilities accorded them by our system in past years -- should not hesitate to join willingly in sharing the special responsibilities imposed on us all by the predatory actions of the few.

If produced by their own effort, surely that same experience should support and sensitize them to the demanding need for equal opportunities also for others, provided by education and other state services as set forth by our representative Legislature.

SO, AGAIN, let your voice be heard. Instruct in strong terms any-and-all who now represent YOU in OUR Legislature. They need your counsel, your support, your guidance. What YOU DIRECT they MUST DO....or suffer that “meal ” mentioned thus: “Sooner or later, everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.”

--Robert Louis Stevenson--


At 21, Henry Clay Ruark was Aroostook Editor for the Bango, Maine DAILY NEWS, covering 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 as NDEA administrator/Learning Media Consultant for tenyears.

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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