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
Criticism of Bruun's plan misleading
The criticism of Rep. Scott Bruun's plan to revamp Oregon's tax system by John Kovash (Valley Times, Jan. 10) conveniently leaves out a few important statistics.
Although Kovash states that 'the richest 1 percent now take(s) 21 percent of the total income of the country…' he fails to acknowledge that the top 1 percent also pays 39 percent of income taxes.
Kovash then continues, complaining that '…the bottom half gets a measly 13 percent of total income,' again failing to acknowledge that the bottom half only pays 3 percent of total income taxes.
I'm not certain that any rational person could argue that this disparity is fair.
Even though I disagree with Bruun's plan because I won't support any type of sales tax without the elimination of either the property or income tax, I think that arguing against needed tax reform based on fallacious 'class-envy' arguments is disingenuous and misleading.
Research positions before voting
As the election landscape heats up, please folks, do your homework.
As one pundit recently commented, you need to do at least 'one-tenth as much research before casting a vote in a presidential election as you do before buying a new car.' Basing your choice on gender, race, religion, rhetorical abilities, emotional connection and feel-good sound bites is just plain naive. Make your choice by considering their character, experience, competence and their positions on issues that matter most to you.
Figure out where you stand, then look at their voting record and past performance. Consider their vision, their philosophy about government, their grasp of complex problems and ability to solve them, and their specific plans on national security, the economy, taxes, health care, immigration, nominating supreme court justices, energy and oil production, abortion and marriage.
This election may be the most important one in which you will ever participate. This isn't 'American Idol.' Take the gift of freedom to vote seriously. It was paid for with the blood of patriots.
Being aware can help prevent thefts
When are people going to learn to keep their treasures out of sight in their cars? Are they just trying to make it easier for thieves?
Women need to close their purses and secure them in the child seats of shopping carts with the strap going thru the handles. Time and again, I see women putting their purses in the child seats wide open, with everything visible and their backs to the cart.
When putting your groceries in your car, put your purse in the driver's side first, close the door, then load your groceries.
If I had a mind to, I could clean house every time I go to the store. Pay attention, people.