The Blue Mountain eagle. (John Day, Or.) 1972-current, June 28, 2017, Page A9, Image 9

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    State News
Blue Mountain Eagle
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Oregon House advances controversial revenue bill
By Claire Withycombe
Capital Bureau
The Oregon House of Rep-
resentatives Friday narrowly
passed legislation that would
make it harder for business-
es to qualify for tax breaks
passed in 2013 as part of the
so-called “grand bargain.”
The bill, which now heads
to the Oregon Senate, puts
new limits on a tax cut for
certain business owners, and
should it pass, is expected to
raise nearly $196 million in
the next two years.
It’s a far cry from the ma-
jor tax overhaul many Oregon
Democrats called for this ses-
sion, but after a stalemate over
proposals to switch the basis
for taxing businesses from
income to sales two weeks be-
fore legislators must close the
books, it now appears to be the
session’s big tax vote.
After a nearly three-hour
debate the measure passed
with 31 Democrats voting in
favor. All House Republicans
and three Democrats voted
against it: Rep. Brad Witt, of
Clatskanie; Rep. Teresa Alon-
so Leon, of Woodburn; and
Rep. Caddy McKeown, of
Coos Bay. A fourth Democrat,
Rep. Deborah Boone, of Can-
non Beach, was excused.
Under current law, own-
ers of S-corporations, limited
liability companies or part-
nerships can choose to have
income “passed through” to
them from the business taxed
at a lower rate, as long as the
income they earn from the
business is “non-passive,” the
business employs at least one
non-owner, and the non-owner
employee or employees do at
least 1,200 hours of work in a
year. By taking the lower rate,
owners give up other deduc-
The bill the House ap-
proved Friday would limit el-
igibility for the lower income
rate to seven sectors, including
agriculture, mining and manu-
facturing. To qualify under the
new bill, businesses would
also need to have at least 10
non-owner employees, instead
of one.
In short, the bill means
fewer owners would be eligi-
ble to pay the lower rate, and
so some of those removed
from eligibility under the bill
would pay higher income tax-
By tweaking the cut as the
bill outlines, the state would
collect about $196 million
more in taxes in the next two-
year budget.
That’s a significant figure
in light of a projected gap of
about $1.4 billion between
revenues and expenses in the
upcoming state budget.
That figure was partially
closed by an assessment on
health care providers passed
by the legislature Wednesday,
which is projected to narrow
the gap by at least $600 mil-
lion, according to revenue im-
pact estimates.
Many Democrats who
spoke in favor of the bill Fri-
day portrayed the four-year-
old policy as hastily compiled
and failing to meet its policy
objective, which was to help
the state’s small businesses
create jobs.
Instead, they argued, the
break benefited “scrubs and
suits” — doctors and lawyers.
“We created yet anoth-
O utlook
er giveaway to the very
wealthy,” said the bill’s carri-
er, Phil Barnhart, a Democrat
from Eugene.
Democrats point to figures
from the Legislative Reve-
nue Office, which found that
in 2015, over 90 percent of
beneficiaries made more than
$200,000 per year, and that
more than 70 percent made at
least $500,000.
State Rep. Janelle By-
num, D-Happy Valley, said
Oregon’s economy was thriv-
ing before the tax break was
passed in 2013.
“Why is small business
thriving?” Bynum said. “It’s
not because of this tax break.”
Conversely, many Repub-
licans cast the legislation as a
broken promise to the state’s
small businesspeople.
Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, a
Republican from Scio, said the
law could advance the state’s
“urban-rural divide,” and
said the state would be hard-
pressed to find a small agricul-
tural business that employed
at least 10 people year round.
State Rep. Carl Wilson,
R-Grants Pass, appealed to
legislators’ self-interest and
said the tax would not be pop-
ular among voters.
“This is not going to play
well in your district, you know
it won’t,” Wilson said. “...I’m
talking from Brooks to Port-
land, and from Grants Pass to
Roseburg and Cottage Grove,
you’ve got a lot of constituents
that are going to be damaged
by this.”
For a period, the debate
over the bill took a detour as
legislators debated whether it
required a simple majority or a
three-fifths majority.
The distinction, trivial at
first glance, is actually essen-
tial when it comes to the Leg-
islature’s efforts to raise new
taxes this session.
Under the Oregon Consti-
tution, measures “raising rev-
enue” require a 3/5 majority
approval in both the House
and Senate.
Democrats easily have a
simple majority in both cham-
bers, but are one seat shy of
that three-fifths majority in
both. So, assuming all Dem-
ocrats vote for a revenue-rais-
ing policy, in order to pass, it
needs at least one Republican
signing on.
At issue Friday was wheth-
er the partial repeal of the tax
cut qualified as “raising reve-
The debate over that ques-
tion quickly turned philosoph-
“They call a tax rate cut
an expenditure,” said House
Minority Leader Mike Mc-
Lane, R-Powell Butte, “As if
somehow the premise is that
the government owns your
But a June 22 legislative
counsel opinion says other-
“...We view (the bill) as ad-
justing the parameters of a tax
benefit rather than enacting a
new tax,” Legislative Counsel
Dexter Johnson wrote in a let-
ter addressed to Kotek.
And some Democrats
suggested it was fiscally ir-
responsible to maintain what
a spokesman for the House
Democratic Caucus called a
“runaway tax break,” or mon-
ey that would otherwise be
taxed and an amount that is
projected to continue growing.
Prairie City
Rose Coombs
Hallelujah! Summer
finally got here.
Everything that I
planted on Flag Day has
sprouted – except the
lettuce. Hmmm. First
carrots, now lettuce?
Oh, well. The cabbage,
cucumbers, radishes and
beets are all going great
guns. Have to get to the thinning process now.
When you came in the door, you were met with a radical change: there
were no plates or silverware on the tables. So to save your seat, you went
to the coffee set-up, which is out in the dining area now, and got a cup to
put at your spot. The iced tea and sweet tea were also out for your ease
of serving yourself. Katie Johnson helped pass out the milk and orange
juice before the meal. We now will serve the meal potluck-style. Line up
and get your plate, silverware, napkin and food on both sides of the
serving table. Worked really good, and it also means that we are in
compliance with rules and regulations concerning serving the food.
So what did we eat? Tom and Marjean prepared a rice casserole that had
ham, peas, and scrambled eggs in it, a kale salad, cottage cheese with
cantaloupe pieces, and rolls. Dessert – frozen banana slices with
chocolate and a choice of toppings. Great meal!! Iva has taken the next
10 weeks off, so Tom will be the cook and Marjean and Julia will
alternate being assistant.
Monday, June 19,
our faithful Jeanette
Julsrud and Merry Henry
were on deck to greet our
friends and neighbors.
We welcomed Ray and
Nicky Essex
Carol Rickerd as new
guests, with the promise
that next time they come,
we will greet them as old friends. Glad you are with us.
The First Christian Church of John Day served us with smiles.
Rick Rhinehart and Pastor Al Altnow delivered meals in John Day and
Canyon City, while Rodney Bruser and Larry Palmer from Step Forward
delivered to the folks in Mt Vernon. Together, these wonderful
volunteers delivered 33 regular meals and 44 frozen meals. Well done!
Yog Harris honored us by leading the flag salute, and Pastor Al
gave the blessing on our fellowship and meal.
The Len’s Drug gift certificate was won by Jan Ellison, and Pastor
Al’s name was drawn for the free meal. There were 26 diners with us.
Lots going on in our community this summer. Be watchful on the
roads (and on the sidewalks) with the Rainbows, BMWs and our normal
summertime visitors, as well as who knows how many Eclipsers. It will
be a little busy. With the weather heating up, carry water with you all of
the time. If using oxygen, we are reminded to stock up; it may be
difficult for your carrier to make deliveries. Call Veanne if you need
help with that.
John Day
We are melting. The
temps here are starting to
rise and it is sweltering.
Our thermometer said that
at one point this past
week, it was 111 degrees
Soo Yukawa
F. Eeks! Really not
looking forward to this
heat and I can’t believe
that this is just the beginning of summer. July is just around the
corner. Crazy, right?
Terry Cade and Christy Howell treated us with chili dogs, French fries, a
wonderful green salad, and cinnamon rolls for dessert. Ladies, thank you
for slaving over the kitchen and cooking for us. We are extremely grateful.
Our greeters were Bob Blakeslee, Bodean Andersen and Jimmy Cole. Bob
led us in the flag salute. Bodean made the announcements and prayed the
blessing over our meal. Jimmy collected and counted the money. We had
a small crowd of 32 guests on the books and two takeouts. The winners for
the free meal drawings were Betty Breeding and Dorothy Jordan.
I’ve been using my grill cooking up hamburgers and I barbequed some
pork chops the other day. It was so nice to have them cook up so quickly
and not have a hot or messy kitchen to clean up afterwards. I’ve noticed
though that because it is so light out for longer, we’ve been losing track of
time. We seem to end up eating dinner around 7:30 p.m. and then going to
Another announcement was concerning the influx of people this summer.
Be sure to keep your property secured. Also, our faithful persons Gary
and Marlene have resigned to pursue other interests. So that leaves two
spaces open on the Site Committee and board of Directors. If you would
like to have a part in keeping this enterprise going, we would welcome
you with open arms.
Visitors included Frances and Harold’s son Levi, and my son Joel and
grandson Ian. Joel got the two new doors in and replaced the outside step
until the new exit ramp gets here. Due to circumstances beyond our
control, the ramp company couldn’t get the ramp delivered on schedule.
So Joel will have to come back later and take care of it. (Gosh, that’s too
bad, isn’t it? Har, har.)
The winders: Prairie Hardware & Gifts went to Nancy Viggers; Chuck’s
Little Diner recipient was Royce Dotson.
Tom held a contest to see which table would be first in line. Son Joel was
the youngest father present and had the most children (four) so our table
got to go first. The oldest father was Walt Clark. Didn’t catch how many
kids he had. I also didn’t hear who led the Flag Salute, but somebody did.
Jack Retherford asked the blessing. We had 65 names on the book.
Lorna and helper brought Otho Laurance, Joan Metlock, Peggy Bartley
and Marilyn Randall from the Blue Mountain Care Center. The BMCC
also provided our rolls. Frances has strawberries for $5 a gallon from her
and Buzz’s plants. The money goes to our general fund. If you want
some, fling her a ring.
Cor. 15:51 “…We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a
moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet…”
We dined on supreme pizza and fresh strawberry spinach salad
with strawberry balsamic vinaigrette dressing. We enjoyed strawberry
cheesecake ice cream for dessert.
Thursday, June 22, found Jeanette and Merry right back on the
greeter’s desk. Have you thanked them for their care of our guests?
Hey! What does it cost? Thank you both for serving our seniors.
St. Elizabeth Catholic Church folks were here to serve and visit.
Walt and Agnes Hall, Joan Vetter and Jimmy Maple took very good care
of us. Walt Hall and Jimmy Maple did the John Day deliveries while
Rodney Bruser and Larry Palmer from Step Forward delivered to the
folks in Mt Vernon, altogether delivering 43 meals.
Before leading the salute to our flag, Walt Hall told us that
although the salute had been part of our country’s life for years, it was
finally ratified on June 22, 1942. Jimmy Maple led us in a grateful
blessing on our meal. Marianne Morris won the Chester’s Thriftway gift
certificate and Leone Meador won the free meal.
Our entrée was sponsored by DP Home Entertainment, and it was
delicious. Mushroom chicken with spinach and Parmesan sauce, garlic
mashed potatoes, dinner rolls and cherry pineapple dump cake for
dessert…it was so good. Shay, Lisa and Danny, we love you!
Next Thursday, June 29, will be barbecue ribs, cole slaw and mac
and cheese. Monday, July 3, hot dogs and potato salad. “Therefore do
not be like them (fancy words). For your Father knows the things you
have need of before you ask Him.”
bed really late, too. Has that been happening to you, too?
The goats have been penned up in the garden area where I was trying to
weed whack and gave up. Well, they have done a fine job of trampling
down and eating up the grass and weeds. They even ate up the thistle
leaves right off and they are nothing but bare and naked stalks. I guess I
shall have to move them soon. Maybe they have learned their lesson
and not run off again? Nah, who am I kidding.
I’ve got Anaheim peppers on my pepper plants and I am so
excited. There is nothing like picking your own peppers from your
garden and eating them fresh. I dip them in this spicy Korean chili paste
called kochujang and then eat them with rice. Yum. The peppers taste
a little like bell peppers but can have a little spicy bite to them.
Looks like my raspberries are going to be ripening soon in this heat
wave we are having. I saw the first one and it was so beautiful. I let my
daughter pick it and eat it. Can’t wait for the others to ripen and savor
the sweetness.
The Fourth of July is next week. Hope everyone has a safe time. May
we always remember the price of freedom and not take it for granted.
Thank you to all men and women who served, sacrificed, and laid down
their lives for this nation. May the Lord bless this nation and guide this
Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without
wavering (for he is faithful that promised;).”