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OP ED: Distorting Initiative Will Californicate Oregon's Tax SystemHenry Clay Ruark Salem-News.com
Perverting strong legislative action is first step.
(EUGENE, Ore.) - The “Californication” of our Oregon taxation and budget system is clearly ONE major result of the vicious attack on nationally-praised economic leadership by a courageous Legislature.
The major tool is knowingly malign and desperate distortion NOW well underway via cunningly-produced tv-ads and perverted public statements --some so flawed and transparent they have brought on embarrassing coverage in the State’s leading media. Malign rigidities denigrating every reform/action are paralyzing our sister state, wrapped in the initiative process.
Taken en masse they demand manifold messy policy directions, each perpetrated by special-interest demands. Chief Justice Ronald George recently stated the initiative process has “rendered our state government dysfunctional” in California.
Similar desperately futile massive diversification of wise policy, wisely achieved, threatens Oregon lifestyle if Measures 66 & 67 are killed off on Jan. 26 by impact of cunningly created misunderstanding and dollar driven perversion.
IF distorted tv-ads and perverted public statements are allowed to sabotage what our elected Legislature did by lawful budget-process demanded by Oregon law, that surely distorts and perverts the democratic tool of true initiative action. Ironically, the “citizen’s initiative concept” was first generated right here in Oregon --designed to correct and counter “monied interests that controlled the Legislature.” (See Reader’s Note.}
Now, to our everlasting sorrow, we find those same “monied interests” using that very same once-flawless initiative process “to go around the Legislature”. They thus pervert the power of the representative Legislative process --the heart of democracy-- by ever more radical resort to the power of the dollar,the power of communications technology.
We used to be nationally-known for common-sense management and effective leadership at State level. That was a major reason we won so many solid job creating industries, incoming to our State. Good-by that image NOW!
We’ve become known already as a State no longer rational and reasonable in our tax-system, open to easy manipulation -- notorious nationally and internationally via joking reference in Doonesbury, famed “comic strip” distributed around the world.
Our continued failure to reform our tax-system, as currently applied to Oregon business and corporate operations, is clearly destructive of our formerly famed work-force, long shaped by solid access to levels of education now demanded for the 21st Century.
Oregon, once a leader in community college creation of learning opportunities for the common person seeking out a strong foundation for creative work, now finds those essential job-building agencies weakened and still further-threatened --at much greater cost than the 70,000 lost-jobs claimed by opponents.
Our university system, seeking to provide higher education for all, has already becomes another major victim of this latest perverted process for shaping “public opinion” -- at horrendous loss of future leaders with strong ties to keep them producing right here.
Meanwhile Oregon’s public schools --foundation for any future still possible! -- are already suffering badly even BEFORE possible slashes if these measures fail: Oregon's class sizes are among the nation's largest - these cuts will make it worse.
Our school year is already 3 weeks shorter than average - these cuts will make it even shorter. That very damaging shaping-process depends upon providing still further cover for factual distortion,, building malign misunderstandings by misinformation manufactured to fit requirements, by communicators skilled --and thus very well-paid-- for a conscienceless task.
The corporate website itself reverses their stance on previous similar assignments concerning the same issues, the public press has reported.
Fair share for all is surely now the simply-obvious answer to what Oregon must HAVE --and thus DO. Any honest, open dialog with many thousands of Oregonians will prove up that indisputable fact of true public opinion.
That was WHY our courageous Legislators this time --after SEVENTY YEARS !-- undertook comprehensive review and rational, reasonable reform of our business and corporate tax system.
Their examinaion was honestly conducted by due process of Legislative procedure, clearly and cleanly on the public record, with their conclusions and their deep and consequential reasoning right out there for all to see and understand.
They chose to move to small tax-rise on overall revenues because that action recognizes the massive mischief created by “creative” usage of tax-breaks by business and industry generally.
Some so-applying “breaks” manage somehow to do so repeatedly --claiming no profits, but continuing their everyday business operations anyhow --thus finding finally a wonderful way to “socialize the risks while privatizing the profits.”
That’s Measure 67.
The “massive mountain of tax-break application” -- the notorious SEVENTY YEAR-UNTOUCHED “$10 minimum corporate tax” measure-- reflecting 48 “tax breaks”, with 40 created since 1980, became our first Oregon step in seeking fair-share burden from every Oregon business and corporation operating in Oregon. That’s Measure 67.
Moving to tax revenues rather than confine taxes to “profits” --however presented at tax-time!-- thus recognizes the indisputable fact that government must provde the surround that makes entrepreneurship work. That must include laws protecting private property, police to enforce, courts for litigation, roads for transporting materials and finished product, schools, community colleges and universities to provide competent work-force, and all other elements of our civilized system.
Many naively overlook this reality; some even now attribute “wealth creation” solely to business operation while --perhaps unconsciously and uninformed--failing to understand and appreciate the role only government can play.
Measure 66 is just as direct. It recognizes the most basic principle of taxation: Progressiveness.
That’s economist lingo for seeking a larger share from those who have profited most from our economic system. (That surely seems fair to me !- hcr) Measure 66 raises taxes “at and above $250,000 (and $125,000 for individual filers)” by a minute percent.
ONLY those with incomes ABOVE $250,000 will pay slightly more: At $260,000, $180; at $300,000, $900. For fairness, it simultaneously “reduces income taxes on unemployment benefits in 2009.”
Dp you really consider that small amount, from these larger incomes, so devastating, painful and openly distressing that the individuals will “leave this state” ? Somehow rational, reasonable consideration -- especially in that illumination so glaringly evident over the past SEVENTY YEARS-- may well intervene.
Oregon law demands a balanced budget. Their actions in creating this one have now been subjected to an initiative providing actions under which “97.5 percent of taxpayers will NOT see their taxes increase:” if Measure 67 is passed; AND “over 97 percent of Oregon businesses will pay $150 or see NO change” while “Oregon will continue to have the LOWEST business taxes on the Wes Coast.” (Source: Legislative Revenue Office. See Reader’s Note.)
You can check that process out; the facts for decision are right there in the public record.
It is how our tested, proven governance process works --designed by our Founding Fathers, tested and proven throughout our history, as we gained world prominence as leader in democratic action.
That’s WHY opponents to Measures 66 & 67 seek to kill off its rational, reasonable consequences by fear, distortion, and misdirection --anything that will work with the UN-informed and MIS-informed.
Choose wisely and well for yourself and Oregon; then support payment of their fair share by those evading that most essential burden:
For SEVENTY YEARS!
Chief Justice George quote and initiative history from Editorial 10/23 in Register-Guard, Eugene, OR. Doonesbury reference from memory; unfortunately cannot locate my copy of the famous strip. Oregon educational system references from personal and professional experience as longtime participant. Corporate tax-share facts from various preceding Op Eds over last four years, ten-year Chicago tour as communications consultant with corporate clients. Legislative Revenue Office references from Our Oregon; see their statewide mailer Voter Information for Measures 66 & 67.
Legislative move to tax revenues rather than rely on questionable statement of “profits” from personal conversations with authoritative sources and from public records of Legislative process.
Distortions/perversions in opposition tv-ads and published statements from content analysis of images on-air by HCR, using propaganda/persuasion/product techniques.
More than 70 references, in wide variety of formats and sources, were consulted in preparation for this Op Ed.
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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