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Jan-07-2010 17:26TweetFollow @OregonNews
Op Ed: FAIR Tax-SHARE: YOU Pay DEARLY, THEY Don't
By Henry Clay Ruark for Salem-News.com
Salem-News.com aerial view of Oregon Capitol by Tim King
(EUGENE, Ore.) - Oregon’s amazing lifestyle offers “fair-and-square” opportunities for an intriguing variety of residents, in a state blessed by both natural resources and very strong location for true entrepreneurial endeavor.
That lifestyle is under open, concentrated, vicious threat of truly extreme damage, forcing further deep and- dirty slashes to education at all levels and to every one of essential social services for our economic crisis struck fellow Oregonians. FEAR by false-emphasis and furious tv-ads is the major weapon whipping Oregonians into desperate misunderstanding of this horrendous current situation.
FEAR is what propagandists use when they know the facts run solidly against them, on the record. FEAR is their weapon-of-choice, used by predators everywhere whenever the truth is fully in sight. Find out the truth about Measures 66 & 67 while there is still time to make sure YOU vote wisely. (Link: ocpp.org opens source for full detail.)
Many Oregonians do NOT understand that the State budget by law must be balanced. That forces painful choices by those specially selected to do precisely that difficult chore. That’s WHY we elect legislators; to study complex situations and THEN decide what they MUST do.
That process was well, truly AND comprehensively pursued to rational, reasonable completion, on the public record for all to “see with own eyes” AND understand. What it determined --on the full public record! - is an amazing story of accumulated pressures prevailing for SEVENTY YEARS to distort, and now openly and obviously pervert, our Oregon tax system.
The truth is that even given the entire impact of Measures 66 & 67, Oregon will rocket upward to occupy 45th-place rather than 48th! in the national authoritative listing we will move from three states from the BOTTOM of the national list to ONLY TWO higher...FIVE from the bottom.
Do YOU really believe that small a change in tax status will force ANY business to leave the state? Do YOU really believe that action will scare away ANY incoming new job-provider ? Do YOU really believe such small-change will cause catastrophic job-loss for Oregon business operations?
IF you do, I have some waterfront land awaiting a qualified buyer, over in beautiful Arizona! Most improbable business- dialog of this year must then be: CEO to stockholders: “We’re disgruntled over that $3-per-week tax-RISE --so we’re quitting Oregon!” So much for unjustified fear of sudden, violent tax escalation-claimed by predatory “contributors” paying for distorted. perverted television-ad attack on our elected Legislature and its ethical, efficient decision for the commonweal.
For SEVENTY YEARS far too many corporations and businesses have manipulated and managed far too-easy State-revenue/reducing expensive “tax-breaks”: Special/interest-obtained ways of stating realities inevitable for all competitive business operations.
Many business keep two sets of accounts, one for stockholders and others cognizant of realities, and the other for specific use simply to justify “tax-breaks”! Of 48 tax-breaks now available, FORTY have been set up since 1980. That reflects national efforts deeply damaging in every state, well-reported underway, and heavily subsidized by “corporate campaign contributions” from lavishly-paid lobbyists.
Corporate tax share is DOWN 78 PERCENT since the ‘70s. Oregon corporations pay LESS STATE TAX than they did A GENERATION AGO. Tax revenues lost to the State of Oregon since 1975 total at least $10.9 BILLION If corporations paid-NOW the same 18.5 PERCENT paid 30 years ago, State revenue would rise $1.8 BILLION yearly. The Legislature NOW seeks ONLY RATIONAL, REASONABLE fair-share increments -- To avoid desperate, dangerous, debilitating slashes in education for Oregon’s future, and to provide crisis-driven aid for fellow Oregonians.
When tax-payment default is allowed for devious reasons, by entrepreneurs who continue full operation, the cause must become a major concern for every taxpayer --felt IMMEDIATELY “in the wallet”. That’s the inescapable consequence of corporations avoiding their fair and reasonable share of viable operational costs --what supplies the surround demanded for all modern business operations Those losses are already drastic to Oregon state income, as shown by the simple arithmetic already cited.
That sorry situation will continue -- if we allow predators to prevail while seeking still further exemption from paying their fair share. THIRTY-ONE FREELOADERS cost us all taxes from $1 million taxable incomes --via the ridiculous 70- year-old “$10 minimum”. MORE THAN 5,000 Oregon corporations earning a profit here PAID NO CORPORATE INCOME TAX “beyond that measly ten dollars”.
TAX BREAKS now allow many Oregon profit making corporations to pay ABOUT HALF what was due as an equitable share on their gains. 70 YEARS IS TOO LONG WITHOUT CHANGE.
Can anything make more changing impact on our Oregon lifestyle and competitiveness in the now burgeoning new commerce/trade/Internet world of the 21st Century than damaging the foundation for the future: Our schools and universities?
Can anything add denigration, deficit-dealt delay and lack of support for our deprived, disabled and economic/crisis damaged-dismayed fellow citizens than woeful lack of funding for that essential support society has learned must be provided for every human being? To neglect rational, reasonable, universal human rights support costs far more in the long run than to “do it right, when really needed.”
To allow predation on human rights by those seeking to pervert --and thus avoid-- the natural costs for business operations is to allow the few to bleed the many in the name of special privilege: As in “tax-breaks”.
NOW even very rational, reasonable changes to reform and reshape that default-by-privilege --and its consequences forcing further huge cuts in essential state revenues -- are being opposed via an initiative setting aside complex and carefully-considered action by our representatives in full-session comprehensive consideration. We elect them precisely for their pragmatic and profound full-consideration of these difficult, complex issues such as the tax burden and how best to share it, in the most equitable way.
Those inevitable costs --demanded to create the conditions for business operations in Oregon-- continue to accrue, inevitably, whether-or-not the business generates any so-called “profit”. Thus, when “tax breaks” relieve any business -- profit-making or not! -of their fair share resulting, inexorably, from that surround-situation, SOMEBODY must make up that surround-cost. That’s WHY our elected representatives chose to set up the small changes in corporate tax burden on the foundation of what businesses actually produce NOW --rather than “profits” however shown OR hidden -known to be the distorted result of “tax breaks” --nationally and notoriously demonstrated as manipulated by far too many businesses.
That sad situation allows business to “privatize its profits and socialize its losses” --long a goal of national, state and some local business groups; it has now been largely-achieved by over-simplified denial of realities, allowed by our unique and long/outgrown and outmoded “$10 minimum corporate tax”-break. That “ten bucks and out” dollar/deal culminates the whole pyramid of politically-manipulated machinations known to be the massive effort of business groups over many decades, at every level from local to national.
IF ever EVERY American business operated on good faith, fair share tax payment, that time has long ago gone “the way of the ages” --along with all else changed or discarded under demands from early years of the 21st Century, What worked earlier to guarantee easy pickings for the few at the cost of the many has become “ordinary operational procedure and practice” for most. When that action is induced by manipulated fear and indirection --and perversion of fact-- for the private protection of tax-break gains for the few, that is extreme damage to the very heart of human-rights protection and to our American Constitutional concept of fair governance.
Prepare for more to come on this continuing problem,too. The very-much-larger tax necessity you may prevent is “the sales tax” --with even larger problems than this rational, reasonable reform NOW for fair-sharing by Oregon business ownership. Will our frustrated Legislature start work on that one, in the upcoming special session set for absolutely unavoidable action beginning Feb. 2?
YOU will get to pay ALL of IT...nearly sure to arrive if corporate and business interests are allowed to escape THEIR FAIR SHARE NOW! NEVER FORGET: OREGON’S LAW DEMANDS BUDGET BALANCE.
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.