With rural Oregon on their mind and wanting to hear from the public, four state legislative members; Sen. Dennis Linthicum, Rep. Vicki Breese-Iverson, Rep. Lynn Findley and Rep. E. Werner Reschke visited with Lake County residents on Tuesday, Sept. 3 for a special Town Hall meeting and spoke to the Lake County Commissioners on Wednesday, Sept. 4.
Amongst many issues brought forth, the legislators spoke about the most recent legislative session and their concern about the raising of taxes with Oregonians seeing approximately a five billion dollar increase.
Rep. Findley said that in his district alone (he covers parts of Lake County) in Malheur County, he estimated nearly 40 percent of businesses closing shop and moving across the border to Idaho in response to the state of Oregon raising taxes.
“Businesses aren’t able to survive with the new taxes,” Findley said.
“You can see across the Idaho border is a booming economy,” explained Linthicum. “In large towns and in small towns you see construction everywhere, you see prosperity and seeing individuals achieve their goals and their dreams.”
Oregon is seeing prophet in large part due to California’s poor economic standing.
“While they are leaving California and coming to Oregon, it does look good on paper, but they’re just leaving a worse situation and coming to a better situation, which may not be all that good.”
Reschke pointed out that the last three years he’s been in the House, the state has seen record revenue and in response to the revenue comes the five billion dollar increase in taxes. Commissioner Mark Albertson speculated that equated to about $600 per person.
“If you’re a retired family of two, you can expect to pay about $1200 per month in taxes Reschke said.
While most Oregonians may not see the taxes coming out of the paycheck, Reschke pointed out that the taxes are affecting businesses in Oregon, hence why the increase in grocery prices, gas prices, prices at the pharmacy etc.
“The businesses are being taxed and their turning around and passing it down to consumers, it’s not a direct tax, it’s an indirect tax on the people,” he said.
Speaking in regards to the republicans walking out in the middle of the session, Sen. Linthicum said that there was actually two walkouts, not just the one that everyone originally thought.
“It was a very profitable three days and we struck when the iron was hot,” he said.
With the republicans walking out, they were able to stop passage of Senate Bill 978, a gun measure bill that would’ve limited the amount of ammunition that would’ve been purchased.
“The more dangerous part of the bill that you see at the state level and the federal level is there are eight – 12 million firearms in the state and there’s not enough law enforcement officers to confiscate those weapons if necessary.
House Bill 3063 regarding mandatory vaccines was brought to a halt and did not pass this legislative session.
“The mandatory vaccine bill was difficult because what we were doing was denying moms and dads consent on what their child was being vaccinated with,” Linthicum said. “We thought that it needed to be a public choice and you can’t just say that everyone has to line up and get the vaccine on a certain day.”
The Cap and Trade Bill, well known as House Bill 2020, the state legislatures asked for a delay in the bill.
“The bill was just plain unfair to rural Oregonians,” Linthicum said. “We had 67 or 68 amendments to the bill and none of them got heard. We asked for a reset and for Sen. Bentz to be a part of the discussion. We never got the reset and at the end of the day, we ended up with 118 amendments in which none of them got heard.”
Linthicum said that republicans finally stood up and said that they couldn’t take it anymore and couldn’t bear to watch this get “hammered down the throats of rural Oregonians” and left.
“What you’ll hear is that republican senators abandoned their jobs and didn’t do our business,” Linthicum said. “I think we did the complete opposite. We did our jobs and served the communities we represent well. 128 out of the 136 bills that were brought forth were passed, so I think we did our job.”
The bill is expected to be brought up again, either in this short legislative session upcoming or in the next long session.
For more information, contact the Commissioners at 541-947-6003.