Its time to embrace a sales tax


I had the recent opportunity to host a gathering of traveling college students and a professor friend from the University of Wyoming. This delightful group of 30 was itching to spend some money. Saturday Market. Hawthorne Boulevard. Northwest 23rd Avenue. The Pearl. Wads of cash were counted. There was abundant joy about 'no sales tax here!'

Most of my life and money has been spent in Portland. I've heard tireless sales tax debates. I supported the no vote when ballots were cast. Back then we had a solid manufacturing and lucrative timber-based economy. Federal dollars flowed like the Deschutes into our school system. We didn't need a sales tax. An Oregonian in that bygone era was different in a cool, smug sort of way. 'Visit, don't stay,' was our attitude. Prosperity does that to you.

Now visit the 21st century, where lumber, commercial fishing, assembly lines and federal windfalls have evaporated like an Alvord Desert lake. We've become a rising retail and service economy unable or unwilling to see the sales tax oasis. It's time to accept the challenge of our economic reality, reassess our state income tax and come to the nonpartisan table of fiscal reason.

That means thinking about a sales tax. The money left on the table in this great state because we refuse to enact a sales tax is inexcusable. It doesn't take a business degree to figure that out, although I'm glad we could be so accommodating to a college kid's budget. They'll be back, but will a sales tax initiative?

Paul Schuberg

Northeast Portland

Commissioners show backbone for seniors

I would like to express the appreciation of Elders in Action for the support of senior programs shown by the Multnomah County commissioners during the budget process.

Seniors, after many years of contributing to the community, need our support. Continuing basic services, such as home-delivered meals, in-home care and transportation to the doctor, is an urgent priority for our county.

Oregon has a nationally acclaimed long-term care system that for more than 40 years has helped low-income seniors and people with disabilities remain independent at home. On average, nursing homes cost $3,000 a month per person, whereas county programs provide basic services at a typical cost of $200 a month per person. Cutting senior programs jeopardizes the lives of seniors and the economic health of our community.

Elders in Action remains a strong supporter of programs that serve all ages. We thank the county commissioners for making the difficult choices to protect our most vulnerable citizens to ensure that quality of life should never depend upon age.

Patty Brost

Elders in Action Commission chairwoman

Southwest Portland