June 21, 2013

Legislature circumvents state Constitution

The tax and spenders in Salem are at it again. Apparently, the thought is that if you spend it fast enough, it should not matter that taxes are increasing.

It was the will of the people, by passing Measure 25 in the May 1996, to modify Oregon’s Constitution to require a three-fifths majority vote of the Legislature to increase revenue. Packaging tax increases with tax credits (decreases) is counter to their wishes.

Having a three-fifths vote would ensure a broad agreement among Oregon legislators that a higher tax rate is needed.

There is a movement in this session of the Legislature to significantly raise tax revenue with less than the required three-fifths majority by combining the increased revenue with new and existing tax credits (revenue decreases) to result in a “revenue neutral” bill.

This is a disingenuous and completely inappropriate attempt to circumvent Article 4, Section 25 (2) of the Oregon Constitution. Essentially, such a bill would benefit those receiving the tax breaks, while burdening the rest of the taxpayers.

There is no need to increase taxes this biennium. The proposed 2013-15 budget already includes a 13 percent increase in revenue when compared to the budget for 2011-13.

If more revenue is needed, the Legislature can pass significant and true PERS reform, or prioritize spending by looking for efficiencies.

Roxanne Ross, Gresham

Admnistration is out of touch

President Obama tells us to trust him. Yet, whatever happened to transparency? Whatever happened to honesty and integrity in government?

The Obama administration is up to its neck in scandals such as Benghazi; the Justice Department going after the Associated Press and Fox News claiming release of classified information; the IRS acting more like the KGB targeting groups with tea party or patriot in their name.

The American Center for Law and Justice represent 27 tea party organizations targeted by the IRS, with 18 of them receiving questionnaires during the past year with abuses in high gear from May 2012 through May 2013.

With the president and his leadership team saying they don’t know what is going on in their own departments, where is the leadership and who is in charge? Can these people really be so out of touch that they know nothing about what is going on in their own agencies?

That is truly frightening.

Louis H. Bowerman, Southeast Portland

Resurrect the tradition

“Let’s ring freedom bells!” These are the words of President John F. Kennedy when he proclaimed the ringing of the bells nationwide on July 4, 1963. That day, patriotic Americans set bells ringing throughout our nation.

I am writing to ask your help to get the American people to ring bells again on this Fourth of July and each Independence Day from now on.

When the Declaration of Independence was adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776, crowds that day went wild with joy and pride. In today’s observances, the true importance of this day should be given greater emphasis.

As a grateful American, I hope to resurrect the tradition of the ringing of the bells. Let us be in tune with each other and our history by ringing bells at 2 p.m. July 4 in honor of the 237th anniversary of our nation’s independence, thanking God for his blessings on our land.

It doesn’t cost money to do it. The first groups to support this national effort, initiated by No Greater Love, include baseball teams, National Cartoonists Society, Providence Forum and the Iron Workers, Firefighters and Sheet Metal Workers Unions.

As we celebrate our freedom, let us also honor the lives of those who sacrificed for that freedom.

As engraved on the Liberty Bell, let us “Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”

Aden Blair, Northeast Portland

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