There is a war going on in Oregon between the rightwing tax cutters and the rest of us who want to live in a decent state. The war is being fought with ballots not bullets, but people have already died. More will die if Measure 30 fails and essential services are cut.
There are no safe sidelines in this war. Everyone has to decide which side they're on. You're either part of the solution or part of the problem.
To volunteer to help pass Measure 30, call 968-8965 or email email@example.com.
Here are some recent letters to the Register-Guard:
Don't slash vital service funding
Those who are campaigning against Ballot Measure 30, due for a Feb. 3 vote, out-Scrooge Scrooge and out-Grinch the Grinch. They would have us defund crucial social services in their tax-cutting and government-slashing zeal.
In the name of fiscal accountability, they would dismantle the Oregon Health Plan and cut $400 million from kindergarten through 12th-grade education. There are literally billions of dollars for corporate tax breaks in our current budget.
Jesus himself would weep seeing the effects this cruelty entails - for example, denying a single mother the ability to have her 2-year-old's ear infection treated so it doesn't become a permanent hearing loss. Then, maybe, Medicaid would provide hearing aids for life. This is being penny-wise but pound-foolish, not to mention anti-social.
I want to see unnecessary suffering alleviated, so, come Feb. 3, I'll be voting yes on Measure 30. I urge my fellow residents to do the same.
Reasons to support Measure 30
I have been out of work twice this past year for a total of four months. I know how difficult the current economy is, but I will be voting yes on Measure 30.
I also have 20 years' experience with Oregon public services and the people who provide them. I've certainly seen government waste, poorly designed programs and ineffective leadership, but that won't stop me from voting yes on Measure 30.
Here's why: Measure 30 won't cost me or most Oregonians much. The income tax surcharge is temporary. The added tax burden is spread fairly among income groups. We're not adding to Oregon's debt burden. Most importantly, Measure 30 will prevent $800 million in mandated state budget cuts that clearly would harm the poor, the elderly, the mentally ill and our children.
Many people hear the word "tax" and immediately say no. Take another look. Under Measure 30 the average Oregon family, which makes $40,000 to $50,000 per year, will only pay about $38 more in income taxes. That's not much compared to the services Measure 30 will preserve. Besides, that same average Oregon family will come out ahead after receiving its $348 federal income tax cut!
We should all be concerned about Oregon's economy and insist that government be accountable, but we also need to invest in our state's future and ensure things are better for our children and grandchildren. I am prepared to make that small investment by voting yes on Measure 30. I hope you will, too.
We've already made tough cuts
It is becoming increasingly apparent that you get what you pay for. Already we see more elderly and disabled persons dying or becoming nursing home patients because they are unable to obtain needed home services or medications, higher teacher-student ratios, more homeless families and fewer police officers (resulting in limited crime investigations and prosecutions). The problem list is endless.
There is no such thing as a free ride. Oregon has a low total tax burden compared to most other states.
Measure 30 is the result of hard choices and compromises by both parties in the Legislature. It is a responsible plan crafted by legislators who have already made tough cuts.
Keep in mind this measure provides a temporary surcharge on taxes due, not an increase in the basic tax rates. The surcharge rates are progressive, ranging from 0 percent to 9 percent.
As examples, joint filers and household heads with incomes below $50,000 will pay a surcharge of no more than $3.20 monthly. Those earning $50,000 to $70,000 will average a surcharge of $8.17 per month. These small amounts will enable state government to provide needed services and help keep our educational system intact.
Those promising secret silver bullets will most likely use them to shoot Oregon in the foot, pushing us downward on the list of states in which it is desirable to live and do business.
We want more for Oregon. We urge our fellow Oregonians to vote yes on Measure 30.
HUGH and MARJORIE COLE