Readers' Letters
by: L.E. BASKOW, Multnomah County elections officials clear a street near their offices to collect ballots in Tuesday’s special election.

Prison is not a pretty word, but it is shorter than incarceration. Prison brings to mind chain gangs and 'Shawshank Redemption.' Incarcerated sounds like a church ritual. What both mean is the system - as in 'being in the system.'

Does the system need more money? How does someone end up in the system? It's a trail from arrest, to jail, to court, to prison. Each step of the way takes manpower, from doing the crime to doing the time.

Check the educational requirements for workers in the system. Does a policeman need a college degree? How about a jailer? We already know a lawyer needs a law degree after college. What about the driver of the bus for the guys picking up trash on the side of the road? I'll take a guess and say the education levels of those working in the system are higher than those held by people in the system.

We hear about connecting dots. Connect this dot: Someone with education is less likely to go to prison. Supporting teachers might keep a thief out of your garage. A high school kid with his mind on college might not have his mind on your car. The home invasion/ID theft people might change their ways if they see one of their own doing homework instead of crime.

No teacher is perfect, there is no perfect crime, and I have yet to hear a teacher say his or her main goal is keeping kids out of jail. We have a notion about 'our way of life' in America. We may not be living up to the full potential promised in the American Way of Life, but I have to believe education plays a big part of getting there.

You don't have to be a Rhodes Scholar to learn about the consequences for bad actions - you just need a little more education in the right places. If you think the money from Measures 66 and 67 is going to the right places, vote yes. If you're not sure - vote 'yes' anyway.

David Gillaspie


Keep opinions out of news stories

I am puzzled by something. Steve Law wrote in the Jan. 14 front page story. 'As the gap between haves and have-nots widens, there's more pressure to make Oregon's taxes more 'progressive,' charging people a higher rate as their income and ability to pay rises' (

" target="_blank">Sorting out tax fight myths, Jan. 14).

Why put the word progressive in quotes? Reporter Law is not quoting something another said or wrote. A search of usage on the Internet confirmed my believe that progressive taxation is a well-established concept and that standard usage is without quotes. Even the conservative Heritage Foundation uses the term without the punctuation marks.

Was the reporter suggesting that there is something wrong with progressive taxation, or that progressive taxation is somehow not progressive? This is an opinion that some people hold, but not one that belongs in news analysis without attribution to someone other than the reporter himself.

Tom Civiletti

Oak Grove

Tax analysis shows balance

You have written an exceptionally high quality analysis, Mr. Law (

" target="_blank">Sorting out tax fight myths, Jan. 14). It was useful because it put a number of complicated relationships and facts into a balanced perspective. I liked the summary history of Oregon tax measures.

Marvin Lee McConoughey


Measures' passage will hurt business

I watch the ads urging passage of Measures 66 and 67. I see proponents hiding behind the usual skirts of schools, health care, the PTA and children. Yet the money would not be specifically designated for any of these and would go into the general fund, where it will be used for pay raises for state employees (

" target="_blank">Sorting out tax fight myths, Jan. 14).

These taxes are not small or inconsequential. When added to the stacks of taxes and fee hikes that have already passed in the last state legislative session and that are headed our way from the federal government, they will be a disaster.

These destructive, permanent and retroactive taxes (back to January 2009) mean less business in Oregon, less tax revenue for the state's unsustainable appetite for money and even more people unemployed. They will wipe out many nonprofits and businesses large and very small and would, ultimately, undermine schools, children and health care. The problem isn't with greedy large corporations and wealthy people, who already pay more than their fair share.

The problem is with greedy legislators, greedy unions and way too many tax-and-spend liberals at every level of governance.

As a small-business owner who wants to see Oregon thrive, I urge you to vote 'no' on Measures 66 and 67.

Susie Wilson


Invest in state through taxes

Vote yes on Measures 66 and 67. It is fair, and will produce the necessary revenues needed. All surveys show that these measures will in no way hinder small business and target only by those who have prospered in the past years.

I always say, 'You pay for what you get.'

As a past businessperson with three companies under my belt, I felt it was my obligation to pay my fair share (of taxes) - even if it was higher. I am saddened by those individuals and companies opposing these measures, as I believe they truly only wish to take from Oregon and not give back. It is always the same tax whiners, with the same old doomsday threats.

I am proud to be an Oregonian, I am proud to pay my fair tax burden, I am proud to invest in the welfare of our state. I have done it for nearly 60 years and will continue to do so.

Again, I urge all to vote 'yes' on Measures 66 and 67. This is your state; trust in it, and invest in it.

Don Brubaker

North Portland

No more cheap shots at public employees

In opposing Measures 66 and 67, you took the easy path of public employee bashing, suggesting that it would be 'very fair' to ask those of us who work for the state to 'pay a small portion of their health care insurance' (Reject state tax hikes - fix the system, Jan. 7).

State workers - who are also taxpayers - already have shouldered their fair share … and more. Over this biennium, we are each taking 14 unpaid furlough days, a 2.7 percent cut in pay. The members of my local - who deliver legal services to the state - have seen freezes or reductions in pay in six of the past 10 years. To say our salaries are uncompetitive would be a massive understatement. Our health insurance is part of a complex series of trade-offs to offset that substandard salary.

Whatever your paper's opinions on these measures, please resist the cheap and easy path of pretending you can always chop at public employees and still maintain quality services to the people of Oregon.

Marc Abrams

President, Oregon Association of Justice Attorneys

Northwest Portland

Business taxes also cost consumers

When I saw the 'no' on Measures 66 and 67 ads warning of a hidden sales tax, I was puzzled. Oregonians have rejected a sales tax multiple times (

" target="_blank">Sorting out tax fight myths, Jan. 14).

Then, someone explained. The farmer selling wheat to a miller - taxed. The miller selling flour to a baker - taxed. The baker selling bread to the grocer - taxed. The grocer selling bread to you - taxed. All of these taxes add up to higher bread prices for you and me. But you won't see these taxes on your receipt.

These taxes are on their sales - not their business income, which will also have a tax increase of 20 percent in many cases. If they don't pass on the taxes to you, their only options may be to lay off an employee, go out of business or move to Washington, where at least the sales tax is transparent.

How will you pay for bread if you are that employee?

Hugo Schulz

Southeast Portland

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