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Letters to the Editor for June 8

County can't just create more taxes

Here we go again! Another 'stealth' tax increase on Multnomah County property owners is proposed. This time, there is a move afoot to incorporate another municipal government (yes, it would be a whole separate government) to fund and run the library.

OK, aside from the duplication involved with more governments, and we've seen no figures on what would be involved, there's the obvious thing: The county government currently collects taxes for library operations. I've seen zero information that the county would stop collecting this amount if the new library district was formed and reduce property taxes. That is just gravy for the county. Why not a road and highway district? Why not a health district? Any budget line the county has could be spun off into a new taxing district.

Portland Public Schools tried a similar 'stealth' tax increase last month, and it was defeated. Portland collects tax money for schools, but failed to use the money to properly maintain the schools, so they wanted more money. Since the amount was outside the statutory limitation for a tax increase, they put up a bond issue to get the money. Portland voters had the good sense to see through that scheme.

At some point, we will need to address this issue via the Legislature. The various governments need to face a complete tax limitation law, not one which allows the formation of new governments with new taxing authority.

The bottom line here is that if a library district is formed, and levies taxes, then Multnomah County must reduce its tax intake by that much, not by the fraction suggested in The Outlook article, but the whole amount, every penny. Nothing less is acceptable.

George Schneider

Gresham

Letter didn't change mind on issue

Regarding Sue Cowan's letter ('Equality is for everyone in society,' in the June 4 edition of The Outlook), I think it was a bit presumptuous of her to assert that in her previous letter ('Morality police should stop meddling in lives') she and others somehow lambasted me because of my position on gay marriage rights.

Letter writing is simply an exchange of ideas. You can make your point, but you cannot beat people into submission verbally. On any topic, dialog is important in the sharing of ideas. That is one reason we have letters to the editor and editorials, not to beat people into submission, but to present different points of view and let the readers decide for themselves which point of view they decide to choose. So, if Cowan thought she 'lambasted' me into changing my view on same-sex marriage, she's kidding herself.

In my latest letter ('Attack on men abhorrent,' in the June 1 Outlook) Ms. Cowan gets almost giddy over the fact that I found it abhorrent that anyone would use violence against another person simply because of their lifestyle, color or whatever. She immediately focused in on the two gay men. My point was that I do not accept violence in any form against anyone, and in this case it just so happened to be to homosexual men who presumably got attacked.

Cowan continues, 'It appears that the weeks-long debate in The Outlook regarding equality for everyone in society has finally struck a chord with Mr. Bowerman. There is hope for us all.' This strikes me as being a bit of a stretch. My original point was that I am against gay marriage or the redefining of marriage. Certainly, with controversial issues like this, there are always going to be different points of view and it is going to take more than a couple of letters to change thinking, and to assume otherwise is idealistic at best.

One letter-writer made a point with which I do agree, and that is marriage should be left up to churches and that government should be responsible for civil laws (civil unions), which cover legal matters and stay out of making laws redefining marriage, which is not their job.

Louis H. Bowerman

Portland

Tuition equity bill worth supporting

Senate Bill 742 Tuition Equity is a smart investment in Oregon. It will allow all Oregonians to continue their education by permitting high-achieving undocumented students to pay in-state tuition.

I'm fortunate to be documented, but I still find myself struggling to pay my own tuition. I would not be able to continue my education if I was paying out-of-state tuition, which is three times more expensive. We are pricing these students out of the education Oregonians need to make our state competitive. That's why groups like Associated Oregon Industries support tuition equity, and we should too.

Jennifer Hernandez

Gresham