Tax reform will require compromise
In his response to my opinion piece in which I proposed needed tax reform ('Change tax structure to end Oregon's economic mediocrity,' The Times, Dec. 13), John Kovash rightly points out a commonly known characteristic of sales taxes - they are regressive ('Bruun's plan puts burden on middle, low-income earners,' The Times, Jan. 10). Consumption or sales taxes affect lower-earners more than higher-earners. After all, if a higher income person and a lower income person both purchase and pay taxes on identical $900 television sets, the effective tax rate paid by the lower-income purchaser will be greater.
The regressive nature of a consumption tax is one reason why I am very careful in pointing out that any proposed consumption tax must exclude essential purchases like food, medicine and medical services.
I also attempt to mitigate the regressive effects of a consumption tax on working families by proposing a $500 per child tax credit. A child tax credit, coupled with a 50 percent reduction in income taxes, would take many lower-income Oregonians off the tax roles completely.
Mr. Kovash may be right in implying that this is still insufficient. Perhaps a larger child tax credit, say $750, may be closer to the mark. Perhaps we also need a low-income or senior tax credit, paid for by adjusting the corporate minimum tax. All of these are excellent variables to consider as we grapple with overall tax reform.
Mr. Kovash may also be correct when he points out that 70 percent of our economy is based on consumer spending. But consumer spending - the retail sales of goods ands services, much of which are produced in China and Mexico - is not what creates a healthy economy. Retail sales and service jobs are not what will propel Oregon to world-class status as a leader in the global economy. Instead, an economy based on retail sales and consumption, rather than investment and innovation, will always be relegated to tepid wages and economic mediocrity.
A healthy, globally competitive economy needs widespread innovation and intelligence. It needs the kind of wealth creating ideas and talent that can be found in Oregon's traded sector industries. And it needs the kind of tax structure that promotes investment, innovation and risk.
Successful tax reform will not be based on my proposal alone. Instead, reform will move from conversation to bipartisan compromise and entail the opinions and interests of Oregonians across the political and economic spectrums. And with the voices of hundreds if not thousands of Oregonians engaged in the conversation, I'm confident that tax reform is something in which all Oregon will one day be proud.
REP. SCOTT BRUUN
Tualatin Boy Scouts thank tree recyclers
The Boy Scouts from Troop 35 in Tualatin would like to thank the community for recycling their Christmas trees with them. The boys recycled over 700 trees this year.
S and H Logging in Stafford was a big help in achieving this recycling. They chipped up the Christmas trees for mulch and other products.
Clean it up Mark! supplied trucks to several troops for the 12th consecutive year.
The money raised from the tree recycling supports the boys in paying for summer camps and other outings and activities. Troop 35 has outings in every month, doing snow activities, horseback riding, rafting and camping.
Troop 35 committee member