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We don’t as a rule subscribe to the notion that a nation or a state can tax itself out of recession and into prosperity.
But we think Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski is onto something with the tax-hike proposal he unveiled last week.
We endorse much of Kulongoski’s plan because he wants to use the extra
money for a specific, and necessary, purpose: Replacing dilapidated
bridges and repairing rough highways.
And unlike many tax-raising schemes that politicians devise,
Kulongoski’s concept would benefit private businesses far more than it
would enrich state bureaucracies.
The governor told legislators last week that his plan would put almost
$500 million per year into the state’s coffers, and result in about
2,100 new jobs per year over the next five years.
Most of those jobs would be in the construction sector.
The tax and fee increases Kulongoski proposes are modest.
“Baker County votes don’t matter — Portland decides every election.”
This lament is one we hear often.
And it’s not without merit.
Consider, for instance, that President-elect Barack Obama received 57
percent of the votes cast in Oregon, and John McCain 41 percent.
Obama did exceptionally well in Multnomah County, Oregon’s most
populous, where he got 77 percent of the votes to McCain’s 21 percent.
Yet in Baker County Obama polled just 32 percent to McCain’s 64 percent.
The returns are similarly reversed in the U.S. Senate race.
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