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TAXPAYERS IN MULTNOMAH COUNTY NEVER HAD A CHANCE
By Bill Sizemore
May 25, 2003
Supporters of the new county personal income tax outspent opponents by a margin of about seventy-to-one. Add in a few million bucks in biased �news� coverage of the plight of our schools, provided free of charge by The Oregonian and the network television affiliates. Add in the threat by the county sheriff, who ought to be fired for threatening to let murderers and rapists out of jail if the measure failed, and it�s a wonder the measure only garnered 57 percent of the vote.
What does this election mean? Nothing, really. It was entirely predictable that voters in a county that gets its news from The Oregonian and Channel Two (KATU) would vote with their emotions, not their brains. The guilt trip gets laid on pretty thick in Multnomah County.
Oregon voters sent no new message in this election, except that the liberal Democrats in Multnomah County still think that what the schools need is more money. Not more discipline. Not a wholesale return to phonics. Not back to the basics and away from the multiculturalism and radical environmentalism. Not merit pay for teachers, who are currently paid based almost entirely on seniority, and earn more every year regardless of job performance, or student performance for that matter. Just more money.
Multnomah County voters continue to see the school problem as merely a money problem. Maybe someone should have told them that Oregon already spends more per student on education than our neighbors, California and Washington and more than the national average; or that our teachers already are the 13th highest paid in the nation, and have a pension plan that is bankrupting the state.
The Doonesbury comic guy forgot to mention those little facts, too. Maybe those stubborn little facts just aren�t as �funny.� The New York Times columnist that has been beating up on Oregon of late because of our short school year, also failed to mention how much we spend on education in this state. After all, people might infer from the facts that the money problem is on the spending side, not on the taxpaying side.
Eight out of the ten property tax measures benefiting schools around the state failed in the same election that Multnomah County voters gave themselves the state�s first county personal income tax, so this was not a statewide phenomenon. This was just Portland area voters doing what they do, voting for higher taxes.
I can�t help but wonder how many of those Multnomah County �Yes� voters work for government, or have spouses or immediate family members who do. I wonder how many of them are on welfare or benefit from some other government handout program, and pay little or no taxes.
Like I said, Multnomah County taxpayers never had a chance.
� 2003 Bill Sizemore - All Rights Reserved
Bill Sizemore is a registered Independent who
works as executive director of the Oregon Taxpayers Union, a statewide
taxpayer organization. Bill was the Republican candidate for governor
in 1998. He and his wife Cindy have four children, ages eight to thirteen,
and live on 36 acres in Beavercreek, just southeast of Oregon City, Oregon.
"Multnomah County voters continue to see the school problem as merely a money problem. Maybe someone should have told them that Oregon already spends more per student on education than our neighbors, California and Washington and more than the national average"