Sunday, October 14, 2012

Does the 1 percent need a tax break?

Obviously not.

But, that is what Oregonians must face on Nov. 6, when out-of-state interests believe they know what's best for Oregonians in pushing an initiative that further enriches the few at the expense of the many.

Clearly, out-of-state interests do not know what's best for Oregonians.

Measure 84, which repeals the state inheritance tax that targets less than 1 percent of Oregonians but negatively affects 99 percent of Oregonians, faces voters next month.

Like many states, Oregon is broke. It's contribution to public higher education has plummeted from around 70 percent 30 years ago to less than 10 percent today. Consequently, higher education is becoming out of reach for many middle class families let alone lower class families.

Repealing the inheritance tax, which only affects estates worth more than $1 million, would only make this trend worse. It would also imperil the nascent OSU-Cascades.

Plus, the idea that any American would prefer a long-discredited, European-style feudal state is ridiculous.

One of the founding principles of our nation was to reject the practice of wealth transference to relatives who have not earned it.

Why would we want to return to an era that produced revolutions upon revolutions?

The local daily paper, naturally, came out in favor of rewarding the 1 percent at the expense of basic services to 99 percent of Oregonians.

The daily has long argued that reducing revenue leads to growth. Well, the daily now must lay off more than 10 percent of its workforce because it no longer has the cash cow of government-mandated foreclosure notices to balance its books. Clearly, reducing revenues or income does not lead to growth.

The main argument against the inheritance tax, which affects less than 1 percent of Oregonians, is that it taxes income twice.

That is complete horse-pucky.

For those rare few who have inherited mega-millions from their parents, you have not paid 1 cent of taxes on those millions. Your parents did.

There is no documented case anywhere in the country where a family farm was lost due to the inheritance tax.

As Mimi Dudley Casteel, a second-generation family farmer, writes in the Voters' Pamphlet about Measure 84:

"It won't do anything to benefit family farms. Family farms worth up to $7.5 million are already exempt from the estate tax. The average farm in Oregon is worth less than $900,000 (including equipment) -- which is far below the threshold."

If Oregon is prevented, by passage of this measure, to collect taxes on unearned mega-income, then all Oregonians lose.

There will be less money for education at all grade levels, there will be less money for health care for all Oregonians, and there will be less money for public safety for all Oregonians.

Do Oregonians want to enrich the 1 percent at the expense of everyone else?

I hope not.

Let's ensure that the inheritance tax for the super-wealthy stays intact.

Let's ensure that all Oregonians have a shot at higher education, health care and a better way of life.

Vote No on Measure 84, which rewards the wealthy at the expense of everyone else.

Don't they have enough already?

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