If recent history is any indicator than the special election this coming Tuesday in Oregon will end with the defeat of Measure 30. Health care programs will be cut, schools will loose programs, policing programs will suffer, and the first bi-partisan effort to raise taxes in recent memory will have failed.
There will be plenty of blame to go around. Oregon’s version of right-wing nut Dick Armey, Lars Larson, has teamed up with, well, Dick Armey, to campaign against the measure. They’ll get a lot of blame (or praise) for the defeat. Their message (aka out right lie) that Oregonians are over taxed resounds in certain quarters. Out of 50 states Oregon’s tax burden ranks 39. Oregonians have it pretty well, but Larson and Armey hope you’ll ignore those pesky facts.
No one is joking when they say people might die if Measure 30 is defeated. Hopefully, no one in Oregon has yet forgotten the case of Douglas Schmidt, a 36-year-old epileptic who lost his prescription drug benefit after budget cutbacks last year. Without the medicine he went into a long-term coma and finally died. He wasn’t the first to die because of a lack of resources and he won’t be the last.
No one is going to argue that the state and local government bodies have done everything right . We shouldn't be developing waterfront properties for developers with tax dollars while streets in east Portland go unpaved. Corporate taxes should be increased so that they pay a fair share and that the tax burden on individuals could go down.
Jack Bogdanski is a professor at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland. He’s voting no because he wants to teach the politicians a lesson:
Our property taxes have gone up by 8.89 percent in the past year.
We live in Multnomah County. Our state and local income taxes have already gone up by 13.89 percent during the same period.
If state and local governments can't make things work with that much new revenue from our household, then there really is something wrong with them. To give them more money is not the solution.
Jack’s solution would make Lars Larson and Dick Armey proud: let the system burn to the ground and then those no-good politicians will have learned their lessons.
No, Jack, it won’t work that way. People frustrated with their taxes have good reason for being so. But we do have it better than most states. And the services we get are often great. Sometimes even life saving. It's worth paying taxes for that.
Just ask Douglas Schmidt.
If you haven't turned in your ballot please vote Yes on 30.