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Measure 30 - Choose wisely

Greg wrote this letter to submit to the Register-Guard.
CHOSE WISELY

As voting time draws near on whether or not Ballot Measure 30 will pass or fail I can't help but think of the implications if it does not pass. After the defeat of Measure 28 I personally lost just about all coverage the state had to offer me including my medical spend down program which paid for my medications, some of which I must pay for out of pocket soon as my patient assist program will run out due to one of the drugs going generic.

I have always felt that the people of Oregon were making an investment in me and that investment included me becoming stable and returning to work. This is not to say that all medically needy people will return to work, but to further cut programs in the area of human services would be disastrous for those who are truly in need.

The issue goes beyond human services though, it cuts across the board in education, public safety and other services that we all use and depend on as residents of this state. The proposed budget cuts caused by a failure of measure 30 would no longer be cuts, they would be amputations and jeopardize our state's infrastructure. I urge you to think carefully on this issue, and how it will effect your community as a whole. This is a long term investment in our future and for all Oregonians, choose wisely.

Gregg C. Swan
Eugene
Horse 05.Jan.2004 10:54

Feathers

There have been no cuts. State government for the 03-05 biennium is larger than the previous, even if measure 30 fails. When they say "cuts" what they really mean is "increases" of a lesser percentage than they want. Don't be swindled. VOTE NO ON 30.

Instead, lets stop paying the administrator of SAIF 300 grand a year.

Let's stop allowing PERS retirees to retire at full pay and then continue working as consultants for full pay.

Let's get rid of the OLCC.

Let's stop paying 900 per month for health insurance for EACH TEACHER. Who shopped that health plan
anyway???

There have been health care cuts 05.Jan.2004 12:56

Lynn Porter

It is discouraging when people make no attempt at all to keep up on what is happening, and then make dumb comments based on ignorance and emotion.

There have in fact been cuts to state health care programs and people have died as a result.

Oregon Health Plan -- Oregon's expanded version of Medicaid -- cuts included mental, dental, and addiction treatment. Prescription coverage was cut for awhile and then reinstated. Changes which were supposed to take effect on Jan. 1 have been held up to see what happens Feb. 3 with Measure 30. If it passes, mental, addiction and emergency dental will be reinstated, but hospital care will only be available for life-threatening emergencies, which is another cut.

OHP has been divided into "Plus" and "Standard." The Plus program covers everyone the state is federally required to cover, old, disabled, etc. The Standard program covers low-income adults (max $738 a month gross income). If Measure 30 fails, 85,000 people on the OHP Standard program will lose coverage. I'm one of them.

Oregon also abolished the Medically Needy program, which paid for prescription drugs for low-income people who made too much to qualify for OHP and had very high prescription costs. They just wiped out the whole program. Then they reinstated it, after much protest, as the MEDS program, but it only covers HIV and transplant patients. Everyone else is out of luck unless they can get free drugs from the drug companies. This is not something we can depend on, long-term.

PERS was overhauled by the legislature in the last session. I don't know why conservatives are still harping on it. Don't they read the papers? I can't speak to SAIF or OLCC so will let someone else tackle that. You can always find something wrong with state government. That doesn't justify trying to screw everyone who depends on it.

I find it hard to believe that any school districts (Portland?) are paying $900 a month per teacher for health insurance. Do you have a link for that? I do know that medical insurance for a family, which is what most teachers would need, has gotten very expensive. Self-employed friends of mine in California are paying $1000 a month for a family of four. Of course it should be lower for group insurance, but all health insurance has been going up by double-digit percentages each year. We can't expect employees to work without adequate family health insurance. That is one of the expenses to an employer for having an employee. If you want to get the price of health insurance down, control pharmaceutical prices and set up a single-payer insurance plan.

Due to the recession there has been a drastic reduction in income tax revenue to the state. That has to be made up by higher taxes. The legislature tried every cut they could think of in the last session, and there was no other way to balance the budget. Even most of the Republicans admitted it, and enough of them supported the balanced budget, with a tax increase, to pass it. If Measure 30 goes down there is no Plan B to balance the budget. Very large automatic cuts in human services, education and public safety will be made.

The income tax increase is tiny in relation to income. The average family will pay around $3 per month. The tax is progressive -- rate depends on income -- and poor people will pay little or nothing. The only reason to oppose this tax is if your ideology is so rigid you can't face reality.

There is plenty of material about Measure 30 on this website, with links to other websites. Please do some reading before you vote, pass info along to others, and volunteer for the campaign. To volunteer, see:

 http://www.ouroregoncoalition.com/
 http://www.stand.org/whatsnew/Oregon.asp

Here's an excellent link 05.Jan.2004 15:49

on Oregon state spending

It will show you that my ("horse feathers") opinions are not ill advised or ill informed.
 http://www.cascadepolicy.org/pdf/fiscal/tightenbelt.pdf

WE ALL NEED HELP SOMETIMES 20.Jan.2004 13:18

MIKE

I am almost 60 years old and on dissabillty. I can barely walk and fall often yet I know there are people in Oregon in worse condition than I am. The people pushing measure 30 say it will cost on average $70 to $80 a year for each tax payer. I don't think it is going to put any of us in the poor farm to pay out $6 a month to help the people in this state that can not afford medical care. As I said I too am on a limited income and I would be harder hit than someone with a job. However people it's time help the people that need help and get this state going again. If I can give up six bucks a month why can't the rest of you. Do the right thing and vote yes on measure 30.

Who are you kidding 21.Jan.2004 10:59

Chris

Hey mike, it won't cost 6 dollars a month for me. It's $4200, due April 15 of this year. Yes thats right, my wife and I are in the 5% bracket surcharge because we worked hard and were able to obtain a nice middle class taxable income of 80K. Hmmm that gives me a whole 2 and a half months to save, now where I went to school thats $1,680 a month for 2.5 months. Open your tax return booklet and look at what this is really going to cost the "Average" person. That doesn't even include the Multnomah County Tax I am paying already. I'm not saying we don't need to collect more tax, it's just that this measure is way too agressive.

schools 21.Jan.2004 19:36

does it matter?

SCHOOLS NEED THE MONEY!! i am in the 10th grade and i am doing research on measure 30. All of you people who want to vote no on measure 30 need to come to school and see how badly us students are affected. We haven't had new text books for years, some are even from the '70s! There can be up to 35 people in one single class. And just think, I go to one of the richer schools. Think about the poorer high schools. Schools need money so they can work individually with students. Don't be selfish, think about you children's future, how are they going to do well in life without a good education!?!?!? THINK ABOUT IT...

taxed out 26.Jan.2004 12:26

Sarah P.

I am taxed out! Between the Multnomah County Income tax ALREADY in existance and the new property tax (retroactive to 2002) my taxes went up a little over $1,00.00 last year. Now include state and federal taxes that have been in effect since the dawn of time, and I can barely make my bills. I have two children of my own, so now deduct the insurance premium I have to pay for my family's own health insurance. I get less than 50% of my paycheck. That's right, LESS THAN 50%!! Try being a property owner/parent in Multnomah County 2004 and make only $11.16 per hour. Add on that I haven't had a pay raise in 3 years. My partner hasn't had one in 7 years. I'm not talking McDonalds folks. We educated ourselves to make the money we make today, and yet every month we have to sort through our bills and decide who can wait until next month. It's frustrating and it's hard. I budget my money, why can't the State budget theirs? Choose Wisely. Can you afford yet another income tax?? I know we can't.

Double Taxation 26.Jan.2004 15:42

Jerry

I live in Beaverton and of course they just raised my property taxes over $500.00 a year to pay for the schools, etc.. Now you are wanting us to pay more? I see tons of waste in the state government and for all the tree hugging liberals if they want to help so much why don't they just donate the money. I use to have a job where I made great money, but lost it due to the recession and have taken a 60% pay cut. So explain to me how I would pay an extra 9%, because I had a great job and now don't. This is a total scare tactic by the government that it's doom and gloom, but I don't know a business that hasn't cut back, so it's time to ruin the government like a business. Sometimes you just have to do more with less and make the best of it and this is just another liberal ploy to get more money out of the people. Horse Feathers was right that it's not a cut back, but a smaller increase!

freudian slip 26.Jan.2004 16:15

slipping in freud

"it's time to ruin the government like a business"

I couldn't agree more.

understand the problem 26.Jan.2004 17:17

researcher

The only way to move forward when faced with a problem is to understand that problem. With Oregon, as with most states, and the federal government, the budget shortfalls are due to huge corporate subsidies. In Oregon we allow corporate tax cheats to rob hundreds of millions of dollars for tax-paying citizens (PGE alone has stolen $250 million) and give huge "incentives" to corporations. As far as I'm concerned the only reasons to decide measure 30 on should be based on how effectively it addresses those problems. The opponents to the bill have it right that there is no point to continue funding a government so corrupt that it will take our money and give it to the very rich in the form of corporate subsidies. Remember that for all the school and medical funding this bill provides *could* just mean a bigger tax cut for corporations or more money going into such fiscally irresponsible behavior as funding a baseball stadium or a university expansion

Read the report and especially look at table 4 to calculate how much you would pay ( http://www.leg.state.or.us/comm/lro/report_12_22_03.pdf). Then decide whether it is worth it compared to the changes in corporate tax code. I'd say the new minimum tax is far from where it needs to be (from $10 to $250, not much there) but the reduction in corporate credits and dividend income deductions should help bring some money back into the state.

As for the issue of property tax people should review whether it even impacts them (it only affected those who paid early who received a discount of 3% which would become 1.5%). I'm not sure where Chris got his figures of $4200 (or his date of April 15 for that matter) because if that is his increase in taxes it means his property taxes would be over $275,000 and no one has taxes that high. My guess is that people are unsure of what the measure means or are deliberately engaging in obfuscation.

Here's how it works, if I had a house with property taxes of $3000 per year I could elect to pay by Nov 15th and get a 3% discount or about $90. If I paid in 3rds I would receive no discount and have to pay by May 15th. Under measure 30 those who pay early would only receive a 1.5% discount, half of what was previously given or in the case above $45. Those paying in thirds still receive no discount and there is no change. For those that don't know, $3000 would cover houses through the $350,000 range or so. So this measure is not much to most families but will extract more money from large property owners.

So this measure is fairly progressive in its taxation. Though not perfect, those who want to see corporations paying proportionally more money should consider voting yes. Those who oppose this measure should make sure they have their facts and numbers straight. And, as always, the research is there for anyone to do so don't take my word for it; investigate for yourself.

A wish for all 27.Jan.2004 18:59

Ernie

The legislature will have increased its spending by an average of 6.6 percent a year if measue 30 passes. I hope everyone's salary, and those on Social Security, could have done as well. One thing our current economic downturn has shown, 50 percent of the school districts do not care or do not pay attention to what is going on. The now retired superintendent of Hillsboro school said he could have avoid the 19 school days lost, if he had budgeted for the reduction in state funds. I hope everyone has seen their salaries grow by an average of 6.6 percent a years so they can afford the legislatures expenditures

Missing the Point 03.Feb.2004 08:46

Scott

I have had my mind made up on measure 30 ever since I read in The Oregonian that Governor Kulongoski decided to give a "one time bonus" to non union state employees that cost the budget aprox. $470,000. The comment I read by one person that "really that amount of money was a drop in the bucket for total state spending" did it for me. How many teachers jobs, medicine for the needy, prison beds could be saved by that drop? I also read recently in the Oregonian about the money that our representatives get for staff during the off year legislative season and how our responsible leaders make sure that they spend every dime in most cases instead of returning the unused portions to the general fund. Again a great economist within our government said that " really that is just a drop in the bucket in the toatl state budget. AMAZING! I wish we could find all of the drops and see how much of a bucket we can fill up. The company I work for has cut Overhead by 11 positions in the last two years. They have had a wage freeze for two years. The question in this election is not about the state having enough money to supposedly keep current services. Its about making the government make responsible decisions with the money they have and to stop holding essential services hostage to blackmail us into giving them more money to blow and call it " just adrop in the bucket". I would ask everyone to look into why The Oregonian and other media sources are not doing any investigative reporting on how the state budget is spent? They seem like they are toeing the government/state employee union lines. I think that is more disturbing than anything else in this whole argument.