By Peter Toll
Many people are gearing up for the regular Oregon legislative session next week. Hundreds of lobbyists are meeting with their clients to put schemes and dreams into law or to protect their positions. Bureaucrats are mulling whether to ignore or cater to the biennial barrage from legislators, the only chance elected officials get to shake a fist at them. Salem is gearing up.
But what about the regular folks? Those in the dwindling middle class in Milwaukie or Sandy, Molalla or Oregon City? What about the one-in-five Oregon children living in poverty? Or the motorist forced to endure the constantly deteriorating roads and highways, the bridges of our county and state? The list goes on and on. Who will represent these people in the fighting and clawing, biting and scratching for new laws? Continue reading
The nascent home of the tea party is in serious trouble, if a press conference by five county sheriffs and other officials is any indication. Jackson, Josephine, Douglas, Curry and Lane counties (just think Eugene south and west) are experiencing uncontrollable crime waves which they cannot stop. Why not? Because the feds have all but stopped sending them “in-lieu” payments, i.e., money reflecting federal timberland ownership and production, which doesn’t pay property taxes. This week Curry voters, in the southwest corner of Oregon, will consider a scaled-back property tax increase to stem the bleeding. If they don’t step up — and they likely won’t, as Josephine didn’t and Curry didn’t earlier — the legislature this year authorized the governor to impose an 11 percent income tax surcharge on every taxpayer in the county. Does Clackamas County face a similar 1,000 percent (yes, three zeros) crime increase? Possible, but not likely, despite the county’s moribund timber industry. The report comes from the state’s southernmost newspaper, the Ashland Daily Tidings.