Taxpayers took action; so must state


Today in Multnomah County, scores of parents, teachers and crime survivors are breathing a collective sigh of relief with the passage of Measure 26-48, the temporary income tax increase that directs millions of dollars to our aching schools and communities and strengthens our social safety net.

The citizens of Multnomah County and Beaverton voted overwhelmingly to support our schools and social services, and for good reason: The links between poverty and crime are well-documented and inescapable. People living in poverty are twice as likely to be the victim of a crime. Given that inescapable truth, the voters have offered an example of courage for state legislators to follow É if they listen.

Of course, the temporary tax is only a moderate fix for a momentous problem. More must be done to address the factors that led to our current problem: over-reliance on incarceration as the solution to crime, lack of stable funding for education and, of course, those pernicious tax breaks that riddle Oregon's tax code.

Quite simply, the state can no longer look to social services to balance the budget in the face of a sagging economy and gloomy prospects. As crime survivors, we are standing up to say that the people have given enough. It is incumbent upon you, Gov. Kulongoski and members of the Legislature, to combine the power of your compassion with the position of your office to find more revenue for Oregon.

The voters of Multnomah County have shown a willingness to sacrifice in times of crisis. Our only hope is that our state leaders will prevail upon our wealthiest citizens, our corporate citizens, to do the same.

David M. Baker

Survivors Advocating for an Effective System

Northeast Portland

Oregon still needs

a tax overhaul

House Speaker Karen Minnis, R-Wood Village, in exercising her charge to invoke conservative restraint, has done her job. I don't believe that there's another drop of blood to be squeezed from the proverbial turnip. Now's the time for her to lead the charge toward tax reform, reform that will provide the funds for programs so desperately needed.

Karen must realize that not all communities have the same ability to make up for deficits as Portland or Beaverton. In leading the charge, an emphasis should be placed on reform, as opposed to just adding another source of revenue.

Gary L. Hollen

Oregon City

Measure coddles

incapable politicians

Great job, Portlanders! Your yes vote on Measure 26-48 not only means more money out of your pocket, but it also means that Portland Public Schools and Multnomah County do not need to improve operations, create efficient systems, reform labor and administrative relationships, cut wasteful spending, do self-audits or become accountable to the taxpayers. Your yes vote ensured that we'll get the status quo until they need more money and ask us again. What were people thinking?

I know what I'm thinking. É I'm thinking about calling my real estate broker and moving to Clackamas County! I'm done with this city, and so are many other educated individuals who believe government must spend wisely and become accountable. The rest of you who voted yes can make up for the share that I won't be paying.

Karen Kellogg

Southwest Portland

Big-league baseball

would drain money

I like baseball. I do not support subsidized entertainment.

As reported in your article (Stadium backers pitch economics, May 13), the Oregon Stadium Campaign suggests $114 million in revenue in 2007. This is not new revenue. Anyone with a wit of sense knows that this is a shift of entertainment dollars, not new spending. They refer to out-of-state money Ñ are we not talking Vancouver, Wash., and a handful of people who visit Portland anyway? Subsidized baseball will add very little to the economy.

Your article also stated that the team owner would pay 18 percent ($70 million of $388 million) of the cost of the stadium. How can this level of public subsidy Ñ the other 82 percent Ñ be justified?

If it's a construction job program we are after, let's invest in something with broader community benefits such as schools, community centers, river cleanup, regional open space, etc.

Dan Hoyt

Southeast Portland

Oregon Poison Center

doesn't need to close

'We're sorry. You have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service É'

Beginning July 1, that is what Oregonians can expect to hear if they dial the Oregon Poison Center. The center has no funding past June 30 and is scheduled to close. Calls will not be forwarded; people looking for answers to poison questions will have to look elsewhere.

Some would say my concern is self-serving because I work at the center. However, as a registered nurse, I shouldn't have trouble finding a new job.

Last year the Oregon Poison Center answered 70,000 calls. As of July 1, these calls will likely go to already overburdened emergency rooms, clinics and doctors' offices, or poison questions will go unasked as people 'hope for the best.'

However, there is a way to keep the poison center open. House Bill 2709 would fund the center by using a small portion of the the 75 cents every Oregon phone line already pays monthly for 911 service. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Rob Patridge, R-Medford, believes the 911 fund has adequate annual revenues to continue current services, fund future system needs and also fund the Oregon Poison Center. Passage of HB 2709 would keep the center open at no increased cost to Oregonians.

Urge your state senator and state representative to support HB 2709. You can find their contact information at or by calling 1-800-332-2313.

Marc McDermid

Battle Ground, Wash.