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Letters: State needs business tax, not hiring freeze

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Readers sound off on Trump, protesters, immigration, PERS and other matters in the news.

In the Feb. 21 My View commentary, "Oregon needs a hiring freeze, now," Bill MacKenzie bemoans the state's situation of a $1.8 billon deficit. Nothing new, as I am sure everyone does. I do, however look for an honest discussion of the factors.

Oregon encourages growth, as there are now 654,951 more Oregonians than there were in 2000 (up 19 percent). As Edward Abbey was fond of saying, "Growth for growth's sake is similar to cancer cells." That quote does apply to taxes as well.

With that kind of growth, state and local governments are always trying to catch up with the impacts. So how do we deal with this? MacKenzie's veiled solution is cut, cut and then let's consider tax increases. As often has been posited, Oregon ranks 50th of the 50 states in corporation taxes to help with schools, mental health, etc. — and it consciously "killed" with a "headhunter from California" the latest proposal to help equalize our tax burden. Lawmakers say they need educated workers, yet rarely do they support the kind of tax that will support anything except their very narrow need.

So, I ask that the Legislature or governor not institute a hiring freeze and instead pass a budget that raises the corporate tax that enables our state and local governments to deal with the impacts of more Oregonians.

Curt Schneider

North Portland

Trump's toxicity shows up in youth

My wife, son and I became U.S. citizens 40 years ago in Boise, Idaho, with a similar pledge that I repeat every Thursday at my East Portland Rotary Club meeting, just like those "New Americans from 14 different countries" (Portland Tribune, Feb. 23) who took the same pledge.

Trump has created a toxic air in our country by saying "America First." 

On Feb. 23, we celebrated the 52nd Engineers Week at DoubleTree Lloyd Center hotel, where we invited several high school students for dinner to promote engineering careers. We had six of them at our table. Two of them, a boy and a girl, left right after dinner without listening to after-dinner addresses by two leading engineers. They just came for dinner, it seemed.

One of the other junior high students from a different school asked me during dinner, "Where are you from?" then asked  me, "When did you go there last time?" I said, "Two months back in December for a visit." Then he asked me, "Would you ever go back?" I said no. He asked me why, politely. 

Behind all these polite questions, I could read the toxicity Trump has created in this young aspiring engineer, who was born many years after Gov. Victor Atiyeh was our first Oregon governor with his family roots in Syria and I became a full-fledged contributing engineer.

Toxic air, like nuclear waste, has a half-life of two generations of 50 years, and it will not be extinguished unless we require each student to take American history and pass with a minimum 3.0 grade point.

Shantu Shah

Southwest Portland

President sees through rear-view mirror

Imagine we're all riding in a luxury car from the mid-1970s. Huge all-metal and smooth-riding. Donald Trump is driving. All of a sudden the road becomes rough with potholes and crumbling asphalt. Trump starts talking about how Obama left him a mess and the alleged Russian connection is a ruse stemming from accusations made by the Democrats stung by their loss in November. He also talks about his huge electoral win (306) and the biggest crowds in inaugural history.

The whole time, he's looking at all of us in the rear-view mirror as he's going on and on while driving 75 miles per hour in a 35-mph zone.

We don't have to imagine, because that is our reality, and if he doesn't look forward out of the windshield at the road, we are going to crash. Buckle your seat belt and hope he has a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Some of us are going to need it.

R.A. Liddle

Northwest Portland

Why buy water from Canada?

Right now, Oregon is negotiating a contract to purchase water from Canada that flows into the Columbia River. ... What!?

Free water from nature that flows out of Canada into Oregon via the Columbia River is being sold to Oregon. ... Why?

What is Canada going to do if we don't pay? Dam up the river on their side and flood British Columbia to the Pacific Ocean?

Why are we wasting Oregon taxpayers' money to do this? We could better spend the money on our school, roads, etc.

James Boscole

Sherwood

Immigration plans hurt us all

On Jan. 20, Donald Trump was sworn in as president of the United States. His platform consisted of what seemed like only one thing, immigration reform. Presidents in the past have spoken about immigration reform, but definitely not in the way Trump has.

Trump has planned since the beginning of his campaign and now that he, by miracle, got elected, it's happening. He said he would deport as many undocumented immigrants as he could, all because of a xenophobic thought in his head that immigrants bring nothing but trouble.

What he doesn't realize is that without the work that undocumented immigrants are here for, his economy will suffer and with it, the United States. Not even two months into his presidency, and we've seen all over the country that ICE agents are conducting raids in cities and arresting undocumented immigrants, some who've been here 20 to 30-plus years and have done nothing but contribute to society.

Additionally, he plans to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and now wants to spend nearly $16 billion of taxpayer money on it. What the world need is unison, not division.

What he's doing is ludicrous, but thankfully, we have people resisting. Marches and protests are occurring countrywide to stop his executive orders that will, no doubt, hurt all of us. We are fighting his plans, and we're going to fight his wall. We will be the change.

Ulises Ubaldo

Gresham

Tired of protests; stop covering them

We are sick and tired of all the protests and wish the media would stop covering it so much (when it shows up on TV, we turn it off). The media gives them free attention they don't deserve especially when we (and many of our friends) don't agree with "the other side" and don't go out marching in the streets. Besides, these protests are costing the taxpayers. Protesters should have to pay for permits to cover these costs.

We are so disgusted with how Portland has handled the whole situation.

Ed and Iniece Grover

Northwest Portland

A smartphone app for guest workers?

With the ICE raids and deportations, immigration is now back in the news along with all the progressive liberal socialists protesting in streets, but the real story is not being reported by the national news or even President Trump on Twitter.

Tens of thousands of American citizens, small businesses and corporations hire undocumented residents. As long as there are people who are willing to hire undocumented residents, there will be only more undocumented foreigners willing to make the sometimes dangerous trip to the United States.

If city, county, state and federal governments are not willing to identify, prosecute and fine the individuals, companies and corporations that hire undocumented residents for $100 per every $1 paid in wages, then ICE raids and deportations are nothing more than selective discrimination.

To go after one group yet give the other group a free pass is ludicrous.

The other side of the story is who will work in all those labor-intensive, low-paying jobs once the undocumented residents are deported? I do not think a long-term unemployed inner city Chicago resident is going to hitchhike across the country to Oregon to work in the apple orchards of Milton-Freewater or potato fields in Hermiston.

With the majority of cell phones being smartphones, why don't the immigration and Social Security departments develop a smartphone application for guest workers? At least it would be a way to know who is living and working within our country's borders.

Joseph Turner

Columbia City

Should PERS invest in need or greed?

When public employees were given the option to invest in the "profitable" stock market, I told my husband not to. That year the stock market lost money, and his bank savings were used anyway, to reduce the loss of those who did invest. 

The stock market is a gamble, not a guarantee to have money when retiring. The only ones sure to make money are the stockbrokers and the companies they invest in, and that is immediately.

If you know a company you want to help succeed enough to give them a loan and hope your money will be returned with interest when you retire, do it. Otherwise a safer gamble is to buy a lottery ticket, because then if you lose your money, at least Oregon will benefit. 

If PERS had invested in retirement housing, that property naturally would be inclined to increase in value, and if not, the retirees would still have a place to live. And if designed right, residents could have an appropriate place to work part time, applying their experience, if they want to augment their retirement income. 

Surely it can be profitable to invest in our principles and interests.

Sharon Joy

Southeast Portland