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Yay! We raised our taxes!!!!(17 posts)

Yay! We raised our taxes!!!!PdxMark
May 21, 2003 9:43 AM
Our state, like most others I suppose, is going through serious budget problems. Our problem is likely more structural than most other places. Schools had been mainly financed through local property taxes, but those were capped by a couple tax limitation measures in the 1990s. Primary support for financing schools shifted to the state, which has only an income tax -- no sales tax.

Through the booming 90s, the income tax could support regular state services, as well as taking up the slack caused by property tax limits to cover school funding. The boom ended, and with an economy that's slow, but far from depressed, that state is completely unable to cover basic services + schools. Schools around the state are closing weeks early, state police lay-offs, health programs shut down, etc.

In a deal that is amazing... teachers here worked 2 weeks for free to finish this school year, and we got a temporary local income tax surcharge on the ballot. It passed 58% to 42%. The alternative was laying off 1 in 6 teachers.

Statewide things are still a mess. Rural Republicans hate urban Dems because they blame us for the Federal limits on logging. The shift to state funding of schools has actually improved funding in many rural areas ... subsidized by the nasty urban liberals to the tune of $400M/year net transfer in state taxes. As an example, for each $1 urban liberals pay in state taxes for education, about $0.75 comes back. Rural districts get about $1.50 or more, which is fine and reasonable... There should be no under-funded schools...

But shrieks of taxes being too high and the need for self-reliance from those Repubs ring kinda hollow when we're subsidizing them on such a massive scale.

So, we skirted the moribund state, tied-up with anti-tax Repub legislators - and will be keeping a strong and successful public school system running, as well as maintaining funding for jails & county health services.

I love where I live...
Good deal! Congrats! We haveOldEdScott
May 21, 2003 9:47 AM
similar problems, and there's almost no hope of raising money to fix them. Gubernatorial race this year, all candidates taking a strict 'no tax' pledge (which I guarantee they'll live to regret).
Thanks... there might be hope at the state level...PdxMark
May 21, 2003 10:06 AM
Not from our new spineless Dem governor, of course... A law school classmate, an urban moderate Republican in the legislature, has said that he's working on a revenue positive sales tax measure... There would be an offset on the income tax, but we'd get away from the volatility of near 100% reliance on income tax for state revenue.

I have to admit. If there were more moderate Republicans around, I'd have a harder time being quite so partisan. Sadly, I think I won't suffer that dilemma anytime soon.
We had a terrific moderate Repub in our primary.OldEdScott
May 21, 2003 10:13 AM
The kind of guy who'd bring Dems in in droves, if he could have gotten past the GOP primary to the general election. Son of a former GOP governor, the last one Ky had (33 years ago!). Unfortunately, he was WAY too far-out moderate for the hard-right Repubs in this state (which means he was basically a conservative Democrat) -- and only got ELEVEN PERCENT of the vote in a three-person field.
He might have done better as a Communist! nmPdxMark
May 21, 2003 10:16 AM
are the courts going to re-open on Fridays? nmDougSloan
May 21, 2003 10:09 AM
The courts are closed on Fridays!? ...PdxMark
May 21, 2003 10:23 AM
Us patent guys don't get to the courthouse very often... though my stint on jury duty was highly educational...

I'm not sure about court hours, but jail space and prosecutor time is being restored - to some degree. Here's part of the funding allocation:

About 25% of revenues from this measure will provide funds for health care, mental health, senior services, and public safety. These funds will be used for services such as:

Housing and living assistance to seniors and the disabled;
Prescription drug assistance for low-income seniors;
Emergency mental health services;
Health, mental health and addiction treatment for offenders to help reduce recidivism;
Prosecution of identity theft, stolen vehicles, theft, vandalism, criminal trespass and possession of controlled substances;
Support for community courts;
Restoration of jail beds;
Juvenile justice and gang services - day reporting center, juvenile diversion, skill development, probation, gang outreach, receiving center/homeless youth;
Community supervision of adult offenders;
Restore alcohol and drug treatment for repeat offenders.
yes; I have 2 cases pending in Portland nmDougSloan
May 21, 2003 10:24 AM
A lot of that is just waistful panty waste stuffOldEdScott
May 21, 2003 10:31 AM
that you didn't need anyway.
true - if these people just took care of themselves ...PdxMark
May 21, 2003 10:35 AM
they wouldn't have to take My Money to solve Their problems...
Right on, brother.OldEdScott
May 21, 2003 10:38 AM
I mean, it's not like society as a whole benefits. It's just liberals assauging their guilt, and figuring THEY know better than YOU how to spend Your Money.
One of the results of kneejerk anti-taxismSilverback
May 22, 2003 8:22 AM
We're going through the same thing where I live, and the level of BS is just amazing. A smallish group of all-taxes-are-evil conservatives are willing to let the schools and everything else (except the prisons) go to hell. They make so much noise they have the state legislature scampering like quail, even though polls show that a majority of voters FAVOR hiking taxes to pay for education.
Meanwhile, we have California as a lesson. Before Prop 13 limited property taxes, it had the best schools in the nation. Now they struggle for mediocrity, and fail to achieve it. The state will need more than 250,000 teachers in the next 10 years--and they're LAYING TEACHERS OFF all over.
flip sideDougSloan
May 23, 2003 7:09 AM
You could characterize California's problem as "knee-jerk excessive spending," too. When everyone was rolling in dough through the 90's and through the energy crisis, Sacramento and locals spent money like a drunken sailor on leave (sorry, sn). Reality was that we were, in effect, committing to spending what amounted to our big Christmas bonus, and then next time around the company didn't do so well, and the bonus didn't come.

I read there would be budget surplus in Calif if we'd go back to the 1999 budget. Spending has grown around 35% under Davis. The salaries some public employees are making these days are enormous. Problem is, we are stuck with them, until they leave or retire, unless we do large reductions in force, which are never popular. We are laying off teachers because teachers are administrators make too much money (compared to available revenues, at least), and there we are very top heavy with administration (including my wife).

Bottom line, get spending under control, and no problem.

flip sideBikeViking
May 23, 2003 7:20 AM
I agree wholeheartedly...the tax cuts need to be followed by SERIOUS cuts in spending. A little responsibility at the State level would be great.

The politicians are sent to the State/Fed level to do what is right, which can directly conflict with getting re-elected. No good fix for this that I can think of...
they have to do the unthinkableDougSloan
May 23, 2003 7:46 AM
They have to do what would need to take place in any small business faced with a budget crisis -- lay off or reduce salaries, the latter of which is almost unthinkable in public employment. Just imagine, though, some teachers' union agreeing to a salary reduction. Won't happen.

I believe in user fees myself.hrv
May 23, 2003 7:49 AM
As an Oregonian living in a rural community which is having the same school budget issues I have to ask why can't there be a system whereby if you have kids in school you pay a user fee. If you can't afford it, don't have children. I don't understand the logic where people move to a community and help swell the population and cry that the schoolrooms are overcrowded, and want everyone else to help pay, whether they have children in school or not. Please explain.

PdxMark, you are so far gone.53T
May 23, 2003 8:05 AM
What the rural right blames you for is depriving them of their industry and replacing it with a subsidy. You have created a dependant class. While it is common for leftists to seek out dependant status, it is objectionable to right wingers, you wouldn't understand, it's a freedom thing.