Friday, April 13, 2012

A question of priorities

According to Politifact, Oregon spends more on tax breaks for businesses and individuals than on public safety, health and education -- combined.

Even with all the tax breaks we dole out, our unemployment is still higher than the national average. Our business climate is tepid, at best.

These facts became more pertinent this week when Prineville and Crook County approved the 15-year exemption from property taxes for a new Apple data center there.

In exchange, Apple may create --- drum roll please --- 35 jobs in the coming years.

In the meantime, Apple's first data building will employ no one.

As Apple maintains, the iPhone/iPad company has no obligation to create any jobs in America.

And they're right.

Conversely, no American has to buy an Apple product.

Facebook has a large data center up and running near the future Apple project.

Two of the richest companies in the world needed tax breaks from one of the poorest counties in Oregon in order to build there.

Meanwhile, cuts to government services such as education, health care and public safety across the state continue apace.

There is always this whining from the tax-cut crowd in Oregon that we desperately need to invest more in higher education.

Obviously, these folks didn't get much of an education.

When you subtract money from higher education, not to mention all other government services, then you have less money to spend on those "vital" services.

Or, maybe those services aren't vital afterall.

What really matters to Oregonians, anyway?

Is there an app for that?

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