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About Vernonia's voice. (Vernonia, OR) 2007-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 5, 2010)
from the editor...
First of all, a Happy New
Year to everyone!
This month, we start pub-
lishing Vernonia’s Voice twice a
month, and we’re pretty excited
about it! You can look for the
second issue this month on Janu-
ary 26th-- after that, we should be
out and around on the second and
fourth Tuesday of each month. We
have split some of our regular con-
tributors, so you will find some of
their columns in the first issue each
month and some in the second. We
will continue to bring you Vernonia
city news and area news, as well
community events and happenings
in each issue. We hope you contin-
ue to enjoy reading about Vernonia
and our surrounding area in each
This month, we are adding
a couple of new features. Randy
Sanders, a friend of the Voice since
just about the very beginning, and
an occasional contributor, has
agreed to write a somewhat regular
column we are calling “Between
the Lines.” Randy is particularly
interested in Columbia County pol-
itics and social issues and likes to
speak up for the little guy. Randy
is a long-time resident of Columbia
County and a critic of... well, just
about anything he thinks is wrong.
Watch for his ongoing commentary
on life in our region as we enter the
second decade of the twenty-first
Also, this month we wave
goodbye to P.J. O’Leary’s “Voices
In My Head” column, at least tem-
porarily, and say hello to “Voices
From the Crowd,” a new column.
P.J. seems to believe that he has
misplaced his sense of humor, and
is taking some time to see if he can
relocate it. In the meantime, we
hope to fill that space with thoughts,
ramblings and musings from other
locals-- folks who have something
on their mind-- or on their chest--
and feel the need to be heard. If you
are one of those people-- someone
who has a criticism, an observa-
tion, a revelation, or a funny story--
please send them our way and you
might find yourself as one of our
“Voices From the Crowd.” Your
thoughts don’t necessarily have to
be humorous (it’s hard enough to
write something for publication,
without the added pressure of hav-
ing to be funny as well-- just ask
P.J.), just have something that per-
tains to life in Northwest Oregon,
that you think others might find in-
teresting. Oh yes-- and try to keep
it to around 800 words.
Here’s hoping the New
Year finds you happy, healthy, and
humorous-- and not necessarily in
Editor and Publisher
An Opinion: Lets Look at
Measures 66 and 67 Honestly
By Scott Laird
I just received my Voters’ Pamphlet for the up-
coming special election in Oregon on Measures 66 and
67. I also recently I received an email concerning that
upcoming special election. In case you’ve been liv-
ing in a cave (or in Vernonia), were wrapped up in the
holidays, or haven’t opened the voters’ pamphlet yet,
Measures 66 and 67 would veto tax increases signed
into law by Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski. Here’s
how part of that email I received read:
“Measures 66 & 67 ask very rich people and
large corporations to pay a little more in taxes so that
schools can stay open, poor kids can be on the Oregon
Health Plan, and the old and ‘disabled’ get adequate
care. What an outrage! We feel that the burden of
running society should be squarely on the backs of its
middle and lower classes. The rich and corporate busi-
ness community have long been exempt from paying a
fair share of taxes, and we want to ask you now: why
change a good thing?
“The rich and powerful corporate interests
have recognized the need to protect ourselves; we’ve
already put nearly two million dollars into funding the
anti-tax efforts, now we need your help!
“Legislators say it’s only a tax on the rich.
They’re right! It’s not that we won’t be able to still af-
ford our country club memberships, gas for our Hum-
mers and other “needs,” like cooking classes in Italy…
it’s just that we don’t want to pay more!”
Now this was obviously written tongue-in-
cheek with just a hint of sarcasm, and it comes from
people obviously trying to make a point. But it cer-
tainly got my attention.
At a recent Town Hall meeting in Vernonia,
State Senator Betsy Johnson informed the audience that
they could expect a maelstrom (my word, not hers--pun
intended) of political information in our mailboxes in
January concerning this special election. What I didn’t
realize--since I live in cave-- was that this special elec-
tion takes place on January 26 th , now just a few weeks
Measure 66 raises taxes on adjusted gross in-
comes above $250,000 for households, $125,000 for
individual filers. It eliminates income taxes on the first
$2,400 of unemployment benefits received in 2009. It
raises an estimated $472 million to provide funds cur-
rently budgeted for education, health care, public safe-
ty, and other services.
Measure 67 raises the current $10 corporate
minimum tax, (that’s right, many corporations that do
business in Oregon only pay $10 in taxes each year) es-
tablishing a $150 minimum tax for most businesses or a
minimum tax of approximately 1% of total Oregon rev-
enues for corporations with over $500,000 in Oregon
revenues. And it raises an estimated $255 million to
provide funds currently budgeted for education, health
care, public safety and other services.
You will notice I underlined currently budget-
ed. That means if Measures 66 and 67 fail, cuts will
have to be made in the current state budget, which,
from my understanding, is already pretty tight.
What else about these measures is significant?
Did you know Oregon hasn’t raised or updated its min-
imum corporate tax since 1931?
97.5% of taxpayers will NOT see their taxes increased
if 66 and 67 are passed.
Partnerships, LLCs, LLPs and S corporations will pay
a flat $150 corporate minimum.
Sole proprietorships will continue to pay $0 in corpo-
In other words, most of the people you and I
know will not be directly affected by these increases.
Paging through the voters pamphlet it is obvi-
ous there are strong and organized campaigns on both
sides of the issue, and there is strong opposition to these
tax hikes, which is not surprising. But the campaign
against tax increases is focused on claiming these are
job-killing taxes that target small and family run busi-
nesses and the middle class.
To me, raising the minimum corporate tax
from $10 to $150 only seems fair and would not be a
huge burden on businesses. The increase in revenue
taxes only applies to businesses with Oregon revenues
over $500,000--at a rate of 1%. Which, in my mind, is
not your regular family business.
Another point--the income tax increase is only
on filers with over $125,000 of adjusted gross income.
Again, according to the voters’ pamphlet, less than 3%
of personal income tax filers will see a tax increases if
these measures pass. And they are not huge increas-
es--a filer who earns between $250,000 and $499,000
would see an average change of $3,000.
Reading through the voters’ guide, it seems to
me that the businesses and others who oppose these
tax increases are just regurgitating information that has
been fed to them. They keep talking about companies
having to pay up to $100,000 in taxes and 70,000 jobs
lost. You read it over and over in many of the argu-
ments against these measures. According to my cal-
culations, at a rate of 1% for a business to have to pay
$100,000 in taxes they would have to have sales of $10
million dollars. Again, not your regular family busi-
No one likes to see taxes increase, especially
corporations who might see it affect the salaries of their
executives and their bonuses. Yes, eventually tax in-
creases get passed down the line to consumers. Yes,
some businesses will have to pay more in taxes and
fees. But really, what this tax increase does is take the
Publisher and Managing Editor
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PO Box 55
Vernonia, OR 97064
burden of state services off the backs of small business
and lower-to-middle income families, and puts it where
it belongs--on large corporations, big businesses, and
From what I can see the immediate impact of
rejecting these increases could be more profound--di-
rect cuts to jobs and service levels in education, public
safety, and health care. Which I think more directly
impacts our communities and our friends and neigh-
One argument against these increases is that
state government needs to control spending and not in-
crease it. But in bad economic times, citizens become
more dependent on state services. More people rely on
assistance to get through tough times so state spending
increases. And so does the need for revenue.
I believe it’s time corporations who do busi-
ness in this state pay their share and support the ser-
vices that benefit us all. I encourage you to take some
time to read the voters’ pamphlet and educate yourself,
not just accept the political propaganda on TV or that
arrives through the mail.
I think some very deep pockets are trying to
influence the outcome of this election by not talking
honestly about how these taxes affect Oregonians.
This one is important--make sure you know
what you are voting for.
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