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Jan-22-2010 15:59printcomments

Op Ed: CHOICE: Next Steps For New Century

Futilized corporate tax consequence shapes Oregon lifestyle.

Move yes on Measure 66 and 67
orecity.k12.or.us

(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.

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.

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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Hank Ruark January 26, 2010 8:36 am (Pacific time)

Friend Johnson: To use inflation rate as the measure for anything in life OR education is to commit naivete of profound level and impact if one is seeking any kind of progress and change. Just to"maintain same level" --which is obviously all inflation-rate CAN EVER do,is to overlook complex, outracing reality affecting every shade, level, intonation of life for kids faced with necessity to learn more, faster, deeper, better, in old system set up for something entirely different and never funded adequately even for that. In short, new 21st Century demands new,broad educational approach built to furnish what learners must have NOW. When prosperity returns, it will furnish new jobs with new demands, for sure, per history centuries-deep across world. Long/continuing research, educational and socialogical generally, shows that most of lower/funded school districts are primarily smaller towns, villages, often rural, with smaller classes, closer ties to teachers, tighter family role, and various other major differences from those richer communities often suburban and tending to be shaped by city values, differences and school functions --with poorer family relationships demanded by that lifestyle. Do you have any experience in education, sir ? Mine covers full 60 working yrs.split between education and communications, includes ten-yr.national survey series covering learning media usage and ed./trends, from which these insights are drawn --to improve yours.


Hank Ruark January 25, 2010 8:14 am (Pacific time)

Friend Al: You wrote:"...but high government spending, for that in my opinion is the main problem." SO,with 90 percent of Oregon budget going to education, social services and security, after Legislature elected to deal with complex problems made strong, courageous choice and hard decisions...WHERE WILL YOU CUT, SIR ? Close SIX PRISONS, snatch home/food delivery from our seniors, slice State Police 64 positions ? Will you appear --surely with YOUR OWN list of 'waste and misapplication of funds"-- at Feb. 2 special session of our Legislature ? Wave a red flag so we will know who you are --red for radical/slashes in face of proven realities on public record from more than 200 very reliable state organizations, re small/rise plan emerging after SEVENTY YEARS !!! For flat-out/fact and solid sources, see mailer sent to Oregon homes by many of those reliable community-oriented organizations.


Fred Johnson January 24, 2010 9:43 am (Pacific time)

I'm all for having appropriate funding for our schools and other entitlement programs for those people in need. What is the "appropriate amount" is where we get into a problem area. So far we have increased school funding beyond the inflation rate, but still the kids are doing poorly, so money is really not the primary isssue. There is considerable evidence in school districts across the nation where school performance is above many of those districts who have higher pupil expenditures. In the final analysis, when those kids finish their schooling, whose going to hire them? Look at the current unemployment rate for high school and college graduates, there are not enough jobs! Does increasing taxes create more jobs? Of course not! Vote no on 66 and 67 and any other tax/fee increases.


Al Marnelli January 23, 2010 12:36 pm (Pacific time)

Vulnerable Dems Call for Extension of Bush Tax Cuts, a bipartisanship effort! Two House Democrats in tough re-election races are asking Congress and President Barack Obama to extend the Bush administration tax cuts. Reps. Bobby Bright (D-Ala.) and Mike McMahon (D-N.Y.) asked members in a “Dear Colleague” letter Thursday to support extending the tax cuts, which passed in 2001 and 2003 and are set to expire this year, for at least another two years. Specifically, Bright and McMahon are asking lawmakers to sign a letter to Obama asking him to include the tax cuts in his budget plans for 2010. You can be sure that many more elected people will call for tax cuts before this spring. Maybe what we should do is not so much debate about high taxes, but high government spending, for that in my opinion is the main problem.


Hank Ruark January 23, 2010 12:28 pm (Pacific time)

Al: You a bit confused there re Detroit businesses et al. Did you mean same types here in Oregon ? Re auto industry problems, they chose to sell fancy tail fins, evading both costs and obvious inevitability of demand for rapid improvement in fuel efficiency... SO what does that tell us about Fair Share in Oregon ? Simple, friend: IF we want sharp, flexible, well-trained workforce we better fly at the huge rehab job we need to do on Oregon education, starting with reform of slashed funding levels thus making anything new futile, and demand for full and effective new methods and new media applications for every desk in every classroom, with supplemental efforts built into home-support via some of same channels widely used and available statewide over the existing facilities. We KNOW what to DO but we need funds, leadership and driving intensities to get the massive job begun and so built as to continue well into the new Century.


Al Marnelli January 23, 2010 8:20 am (Pacific time)

Henry Ruark my below post is completely accurate. At this time all the talking/writing is over because the voting has essentially taken place. No economist can refute what I posted as inaccurate by supplying historical or current evidence. In fact it would be comical to see one attempt such an impossible and nonsensical task. In addition I was addressing small and medium-sized businesses, though it is evident large corporations are closing down quite frequently. Have you seen pictures of Detroit? Other Urban-and rural] areas? It is these businesses that comprise 2/3's of Oregon's employers that will be adversely impacted. Enron, PGE and other large corporations you mentioned, along with small and medium-sized businesses, operate on supply-side economics based on consumer demand, that is why they exist! If these measures pass next Tuesday, then it won't take long before the warnings people, including economists, have made come true. If it does not pass businesses are still hurting until we start seeing a reduction in taxes. Very soon you will see the Whitehouse calling for tax cuts resurrecting the JFK/Reagan tax cut model. They will label it something else, but that won't matter, for the majority of people will "get it." If that does not happen , then the powers that be failed to read the tea leaves that the past elections in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachussetts surfaced, even into a blind man's vision.


Hank Ruark January 23, 2010 8:17 am (Pacific time)

Register-Guard is leading daily known for insighful Edits. Re M/66 the R/G said: "This particular change is not only needed to stave off more budget cuts, but it is justified on the simple grounds of fairness." Fact of painful negativities from other Oregon newspapers reflects the collapse of their own house of cards (ads)--a now outmoded business model -- and the ongoing collapse of the once- vaunted wall between Advertising and Editorial. That places most in very weak position to resume once-noted Oregon drill-sharp Editorial insights via clear judgment demanding cherished "objectivity". The facts remain testable and tell simple story: Many Oregon corporations have long avoided Fair Share, some for multiple years, while surround-costs demanded for business survival still continued and you paid. It's time to do the right thing, with more reform surely to follow first courageous step by effective Legislature.


Hank Ruark January 22, 2010 8:30 pm (Pacific time)

Al: You assume business shares those "increasing profits" when history demonstrates via scathing full record any,many actions to avoid any part of any payment, often even true dividends due honest investing stockholders. Remember ENRON ? With Oregon ties ? Huge PGE-pile still UNdistributed ? Need 50/100 others ? Full record on request. The "history" you cite is discredited economist estimate termed "without merit" by recognized national authority unconnected with Oregon issue. Your snake oil brands have been bottled as "supply-side" and "laissez faire" now long enough to demonstrate true consequences via current deep economic debacle worldwide, a la Nobel winner Stiglitz. Do you really contend all those paying ONLY $10 minimum for 70 YEARS were ALWAYS and FOREVER UN-profitable ? That's TWO/THIRDS of Oregon corporations in recent years, including many out/of/staters --most mysteriously managing massively more/growth and magnificent CEO-pay/and/bonus enrichment.


Al Marnelli January 22, 2010 6:36 pm (Pacific time)

All 50 states ended 2009 with higher unemployment rates than a year earlier, according to a report issued this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. One year ago Oregon's unemployment rate was 6.7%, it is now at "11%" and expected to worsen. S-Corporations pay a tax to the state of $10, which is an excise tax. This information lets the state know that the business has done business in Oregon. Taxes owed from the profits of the business flow through the individual taxes of the shareholders and are paid on the individual's personal tax return. History has shown that the taxes Measures 66 and 67 are proposing will drive businesses out of the state or close them altogether and will result in the loss of thousands more jobs in this worsening recession. The long-term results will be huge reductions in revenue to the treasury, which we clearly see as happening now because of the growing unemployment rate. Ultimately, Oregon will lose thousands of public sector jobs as well. Look to the south and see what has happened in California. If these measures pass the consumer will be the final payer. Think about that, what does a business do to meet increasing costs? It raises the price of it's products and/or services. If there are no consumers, then adios business. Common sense from the past shows that reducing costs increases profits which increases tax revenue, not the other way around. Beware of those snake oil salespeople and use your common sense when analyzing the arguments on these onerous tax measures. Please note that it was reported by the feds that last November more jobs were created than lost, well that has been updated as incorrect, we are still bleeding jobs and businesses continue to lay off people and even close down at faster and faster rates. Increasing taxes during a recession/depression, does that make sense? Using the circular logic that advocate's use for these tax increases, then we could tax ourselves into prosperity. Sure.

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©2017 Salem-News.com. All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Salem-News.com.


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