By GENE H. McINTYRE
I am knowledgeable enough about what’s happening at Oregon’s Capitol to know that the 2013 session is just barely half over. However, as far as tax proposals and tax reform go, it would appear that what we’ve got is what we’re going to get as far as the anticipated tax burden for the next biennium (2013-2015)—that is, paying the costs of schools and government in general in this state are concerned.
So, what we have now is what the state’s Republicans, with the help of one Salem Democrat in the House, have labeled “PERS Lite” (but still dedicate themselves to brewing a PERS-heavy before sine die) but nothing new out of this session to raise taxes on corporations and high-income earners/investors or those who can most afford to pay more. Hence, the ever-increasing cost of schools and all other state activities will fall entirely on the backs of those retirees least able to shoulder the added burden: the PERS retirees. In other words, the blood from that proverbial turnip must come from the veins of the PERS people.
If what these folks in the statehouse have decided to do stands the test of what’s surely to become an Oregon Supreme Court review, then not only will we realize totally discriminatory tax policy in Oregon but will adopt and support an end to anything resembling the progressive policies for which Oregon has become famous in so many ways over recent decades. Further, politicians cannot claim a state of democracy in Oregon when one group of citizens is singled out for tax punishment while the remaining population goes tax-increase-untouchable for support of all things public.
We must face it, my fellow working guys and gals in Oregon, corporations and the wealthy in Oregon will only spend the profits they’ve made by selling their wares to us if their family name can be on the marquee and all over the coliseum or stadium they’ve bought on a “public” college campus. And that’s what the rest of us, specifically the PERS retirees, as far as paying for everything else, according to those with the “means,” are supposed to be happy about!?
The bottom line adds up to this conclusion: Governor John Kitzhaber and the Legislature have provided those with their acquired millions of dollars, like Nike, and the now-nearly or totally defunct SoloPower, for just two examples, receiving loans, tax credits and tax breaks from the public purse: There is no other way to view it than as extreme bias against Oregon’s PERS retirees. What’s badly needed are some Oregonians in the tradition of activist Rosa Parks, those who are unwilling to give up their “seat,” having already been placed in the back of the “bus,” to big corporate interests and the wealthy, who demand more space than anything resembling their fair share in what should be an equitably-balanced society and one respected and supported by Oregon’s governor and assembly representatives.
(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)