Tag Archives: Taxes

GOP or Democrat? Differences Are Telling

By Peter Toll

When my youngest daughter was 7 and I was working in the Oregon Senate Democratic Office, she asked me one day:  “What’s the difference between Democrats and Republicans?” Before I could answer, her mother said, “Honey, Democrats share.”

Or, put another way, Democrats are more focused on the individuals (as a group) than on business (as a group). Nowhere is that more clear than in the current D.C.  wrangling on how to allocate the billions of dollars about to be distributed with federal “stimulus” largesse.

Despite the occasional headline that says, “Democrats holding up relief” legislation, the fact is, the Democrats are fighting for more money for hospitals, cities, counties and state governments, those in the first-line of serving the people directly. The Republicans want more money for businesses.

One of Clackamas County’s biggest private employers, Precision Castparts, recently announced it is temporarily shutting down its operation and putting hundreds of people on “paid furlough” until the virus situation settles down.  Goodwill of the Willamette is letting virtually all of its hundreds of employees go, too, just to name a couple of the hundreds in the same bind.

Where do these people go for money to pay their rent? To buy groceries?  To buy clothing for themselves and their children? Do they go running to Donald Trump? No, they turn to local government—the state, the county and the cities for succor. When hard times and distress hit, the action is local, not from D.C.

While partisans of both sides claim the righteousness of their position, when push comes to shove in the legislative arena, when it comes down to a vote, up or down, Republicans invariably side with business while Democrats side with workers. 

Does anyone doubt that Donald Trump is all but pimping for Big Business, along with his henchman Mitch McConnell? Trump-McConnell want more money for their business buddies than they do for local and state governments. Therein lies the rub.

When we elect people who are anti-government, who see government as a terrible hurdle to the dominating success of big business and, equally, rich individuals, should we expect anything less? Not really. And that terrible example from D.C. is rolling down hill into the states and influencing Oregon Republican legislators. More and more out of favor, they feel walking away from their responsibilities—win or lose—is okay.

How far will that $1,200 fed check carry people? It is a one-time deal. Only once.

Continue reading

Clackamas County Economic Development Caught in a Time Warp?

(This begins a series of articles on public actions on the economy and focuses first on the concept of industrial planning and job creation.)

Employee-owned Bob’s Red Mill

When Clackamas County Democratic Precinct Persons met last week to begin developing our county and state issue platform, one idea gaining surprising support was creation of publicly owned banks. This is not a new idea, but one whose time has come as we look to new ways for our community to thrive and prosper. And, no, it is not the same as credit unions, already a step in the right direction.

This notion is a good example of looking at old problems with a fresh perspective. In many ways, that is a good function of lay people with a broad interest in improving their own way of life but also the lives of those around them of all stripes and economic positions. Continue reading

How to Pay for Road Upkeep? Road Problems Plague Bernard, Brown

By Peter Toll

Jim Bernard and Kate Brown share a problem: their respective road systems are falling apart from lack of proper upkeep, and there’s no money to fix them.

Clackamas County Commissioners put an advisory measure on the November ballot asking voters if they liked the idea of a gasoline tax to raise money to maintain our roads. Portland voters approved a 10-cents a gallon tax, after all, to fix roads there.

Two years ago, Governor Brown and the Legislature tried to put together a package involving a clean fuel proposal and a gasoline tax. In both cases, voters representing largely rural areas shot both tax ideas down.

Clackamas voters told Chair Bernard by a 2-to-1 margin that they already had enough taxes, thank you, and a gas tax was a bad idea. Find another plan, is what Chair Bernard and the commissioners heard. Continue reading

Oregon’s Biggest Problem — Not What the O Says

Clackamas Democrats endorsed A Better Oregon’s campaign at our November meeting. Here’s a message from Our Oregon about the campaign.

our oregon

Last week, Wal-Mart posted their third quarter earnings, and they were a whopper, with $4.5 billion in profits in the U. S. alone. Just another reminder that Wal-Mart can definitely afford to pay their workers more — and they can definitely afford to pay their fair share in taxes.

So why a Wal-Mart reminder now? Well, The Oregonian recently published yet another article in their series on A Better Oregon — the campaign to make large and out-of-state corporations pay their fair share in taxes. And once again, their piece reiterates refrains that the business community has been singing, though this time The O focuses on what they call “low-margin businesses.” Continue reading

Important — Line 68 on Your Tax Form

Here’s a message from the Democratic Party of Oregon.


When you file your 2014 taxes using Form 40, you can invest in your values. Fill in “501” for Political party on Line 68, and the state will send $3 of your rebate to the Democratic Party of Oregon.

We call it the “Check for Democracy”—a program that funds campaigns through real grassroots politics, rather than wealthy special interests.

It’s easy to find line 68 in TurboTax, and here’s where you’ll find it on your paper return:

taxform line 68

With the grassroots support of Oregonians like you, we’ll keep Oregon a progressive beacon for America.

Learn more about the Check for Democracy, and tell your friends, family, and accountant about it.

Thanks for all you do,

dixon signature



Frank Dixon
State Party Chair

From the Left Bank
Looking at the Legislature

By Peter Toll

Oregon_Senate_ChamberMany 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