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45 years is enough

Quite a lot has changed since 1964, even if you don’t account for the Beatles, the moon landing and the Internet.

Yet after four and a half decades, by one measure not so much as a tree has fallen nor a patch of sagebrush been scorched in Baker County.

This oversight is to be rectified finally.

The measure in question is how the Oregon Department of Forestry defines which private lands in Baker County are forested and which are for grazing.


No need to tinker with the tax kicker

Even while they fret about the state having too little money, some Oregon legislators envision a time when the state will have more than it needs.

That’s optimism, we suppose.

But this is not the proper time for lawmakers to propose a bill that would ensure Oregon residents and businesses would keep less of the money they earn once the economy rebounds.

The legislation is Senate Joint Resolution 29. It was introduced last week.

The bill’s target is Oregon’s famous income tax “kicker” refund system.


Stop Senate Bill 440

The recession has spurred state lawmakers to new levels of creativity in their quest for money.

Among the more shortsighted of the ideas is Senate Bill 440.

The bill would overturn a 2003 state law that mandates that government agencies spend at least 70 percent of money they collect from lodging taxes to promote tourism.

SB 440 would allow cities and counties to spend lodging taxes any way they see fit.

That’s appropriate for, say, property taxes.


Not so fast, says Ferrioli

Baker County residents won’t go it alone in their campaign to convince Idaho Power Co. to build a power line somewhere else.

State Sen. Ted Ferrioli, the John Day Republican who represents Baker County, introduced a bill that would prevent Idaho Power from constructing the proposed 500-kilovolt transmission line on the company’s preferred route through Baker and Malheur counties.


Signs span the ages

Baker City’s ordinance regulating business signs dates to 1921.

What surprises us most about this fact is not that four generations of city councils haven’t tinkered much with the rules.

Rather, we were shocked to hear the city had a sign ordinance in place just three years after World War I ended.


Discussion needed

We figured the recent report showing that Baker City’s streets are in worse shape than they’ve been in almost 20 years would have prompted a lengthy discussion among city councilors.

And so we were surprised when councilors accepted the annual pavement management plan last week without debate.

We hope councilors devote a bit more time to the matter this spring.

This year’s report, prepared by the city’s Technical Services Department, is familiar reading for anyone who has perused reports from the past several years.


Thanks for pep talk

We’d urge President Obama to delete “catastrophe” from his vocabulary.

Unless there really is one.

Which isn’t to say that this recession, which Obama has referred to repeatedly as a crisis that could become irreversible, is just a statistical blip.

It’s pretty bad.


Save our SRO

Baker City and the Baker School District should not sacrifice the city’s school resource officer to the budget crisis.

Fortunately, with some help from Baker County, they won’t have to.

The opinions seems to be universal that the SRO does great work at Baker High School and Baker Middle School.

Police Chief Wyn Lohner believes that’s the case. So do District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff and Baker Schools Superintendent Don Ulrey.


Baker project more than a stimulus

This isn’t the best time to go to Salem asking for money.

Still, we were disappointed by the reception a pair of Baker City residents received when they traveled west earlier this month to pitch an important local project.

Jake Jacobs, who’s the Baker City/County economic development manager, and Andrew Bryan, a Baker City councilor and director of the county’s marketing, promoted the proposed Baker County Higher Education Center.


Heading off Oregon beer tax proposal

We’re mystified as to why certain Oregon legislators believe it’s a reasonable proposition to make up for 32 years of inactivity with a single bill.

A tax increase of 1,900 percent?

That legislation is destined to fail no matter what’s being taxed and what the money would be used for.


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