Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Democrats haven't always been for higher taxes

Ever hear of "Beckham's Law?" Probably not, as it is a Spanish law passed in 2005 which allows high-priced athletes, artists and business executives to reside in Spain and pay a low flat tax of just 24 percent; it got its nickname when English soccer star David Beckham was the first to take advantage of the new law. He was joined by enough world class soccer players so that the Spanish soccer team FC Barcelona won the European Champion Clubs' Cup three times in the next six years.

The success of the Spanish tax law led several economists to do a study seeing if there is a connection between tax rates and soccer success. Using data going back to 1980, they explored the extent to which changes in tax rates explained player mobility and athletic success in 14 European countries. Comparing those countries' various tax rates with team rankings by the Union of European Football Associations, they found a strong correlation. Spain, England and Italy have relatively low tax rates, and teams from these countries are perennial contenders in international competitions, while Norway, Sweden and Denmark, high tax countries, languish in the cellar.

Since world class athletes can easily change countries, the connection between low tax rates and success in soccer should come as no surprise. But international corporations can also easily change countries, and you can be sure that our corporate tax rate of 35 percent, the second-highest among developed economies, is something which corporations take into account when planning for the future.

Corporations can even more easily change states within this country; high tax states like California and New Jersey have been hemorrhaging companies (and the jobs they provide) for years. Politicians don't like to admit that the high taxes they enact have a heavy impact on their states' economic health; they also hope that we voters won't notice that effect.

The Democrats haven't always been the party of high taxes. President Kennedy and the Democrats of his generation cut taxes and so ensured economic health for years. Those Democrats knew something which today's Democrats have unfortunately forgotten.

Pete Sundin

Baker City

'Tis the season to give - from the heart

At this time of year, many are considering the various ways available for "end of year" giving. During these difficult times, I would like to encourage you to give within your community/county. Take time to search out those neighbors, acquaintances, organizations, churches and strangers within this area and give freely.... generously blessing them from your heart.

Although I may miss a few, I would suggest: the Compassion Center, Salvation Army, churches, veterans groups, MayDay, the Senior Center, the hospital, various nursing homes, the Lindsey Lou Heart Fund (Bingham family), and many other private and medical needs that have grown within our area this past year. You could even consider paying a family's heating or electrical bill.

I challenge all readers to commit your time or funds to these needs on a regular basis.... throughout the year ahead. Suffering is not seasonal! Every dollar or moment given from an open hand - with an open heart - can be multiplied to meet the needs of others. Imagine the possibilities!

Sharla Erickson

Baker City

Local businesses go out of their way to help

In November I had a wonderful experience. I was getting ready to call Eastern Oregon Audiology. Phone rang. Tom was asking me if I wanted to bring in my hearing aids for a free check up before my warranty ran out. Yes! I will be in.

This is why I do business in Baker. Our friends are always going the second mile.

Then I must also compliment our fine medical facilities. This also includes the wonderful fireman and EMTs.

Jackie Piatt

Baker City

Local donations help reduce pet euthanization

Approximately 5 to 6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3-4 million are euthanized. That is one animal euthanized every eight seconds. One out of every 600 pitbull breeds are adopted out of animal shelters; the rest are euthanized.

Maybe someone's dog got out just one time or maybe the litter was intentional, but efforts to find enough good homes failed. The result is that homeless animals are too often euthanized, because there are more pets entering shelters than there are people able to provide them with loving care. By spaying or neutering your pet, you will have peace of mind knowing that his or her offspring won't be put down in a shelter.

The 19th-annual Spay Day USA, or World Spay Day as it is now called, takes place on Feb. 26, 2013. New Hope for Eastern Oregon Animals is raising funds to participate in World Spay Day locally. In the past we have received enough money through donations and fundraisers to spay/neuter 35 animals. This year we would like to earn enough money to spay/neuter 40 animals. We have already held two fundraisers. We would like to thank Del's for letting us use their facilities for pictures with Santa, Brian Watts for representing Santa, Judy, his helper, Sandy Osborne for the wonderful pictures, the generous people who took cash and explained the many different print options, and the wonderful animals who so kindly and gently posed for us. New Hope also had a booth at the 4-H Christmas bazaar. We were able to raise $875 between these two events, which is about one-third of our needed funds. From now through January we will have other events for Baker County's participation in World Spay Day. We invite everyone to participate in this worthwhile project for Baker County's pets.

Karen Skeen

Baker City

The author is chairperson for the Spay/Neuter Committee for New Hope for Eastern Oregon Animals, P.O. Box 146, Baker City, OR 97814.

Say thanks this year to those who protect us

With the holiday season quickly approaching us everyone is scrambling to find just the right gifts for our loved ones. This has been a trying year for so many people and we are blessed to live in this community. That alone is gift enough. We urge everyone to rethink your gift-giving, use common sense and, especially, think of those less fortunate.

We would like to encourage you to give to your local food bank, Salvation Army or Red Cross. We are especially encouraging you to give to the Wounded Warrior Project. Your tax-deductible donation will enable this entity to help injured warriors returning from the battlefield, and their families, by providing assistance to them. Even better, make this a monthly donation of whatever you can afford. Our military needs our support more than ever and it's the least we can do for them as they have so much for us.

You can mail your donation to: Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 75817, Topeka, KN, 66675. Make a difference this year.

Dan and Renece Forsea