Sockeye Blog Archives

Let’s face it, the news today can be downright depressing. It’s important to remember that things aren’t all bad — in fact, there are some really great things happening around us all the time. Introducing, The Bright Side of Life!

 

Let’s face it, the news today can be downright depressing. It’s important to remember that things aren’t all bad — in fact, there are some really great things happening around us all the time. Introducing, The Bright Side of Life!

 

Happy Friday, folks! Here are a few stories that brightened things up around the OO office this week:

A new report shows that anti-poverty measures are working to improve the lives of families, though in ways researchers don't normally measure: happiness!

Oregon pride! Moranda Rasmussen, Sheldon High student, won a national songwriting contest and opportunity to record with country music star Ansel Brown. Her school celebrated her this week.

Sharks get a bad rep. But here's a story of one shark who aided a fisherman adrift at sea for more than 100 days! Take that dolphins!

And hey! Check out our latest National Monument, Colorado's Chimney Rock:

Kevin Mannix's latest bad idea, Measure 84, would only benefit 2% of Oregonians. Literally only millionaires would benefit if Measure 84 passes. The rest of us -- 98% -- would suffer cuts to schools, healthcare and public safety.

Kevin Mannix's latest bad idea, Measure 84, would only benefit 2% of Oregonians. Literally only millionaires would benefit if Measure 84 passes. The rest of us -- 98% -- would suffer cuts to schools, healthcare and public safety.

Eliminating Oregon’s estate tax would cost our schools, senior care, public safety, and other priority services more than $240 million every budget cycle. That’s the equivalent of laying off 1,200 teachers or eliminating in-home care for thousands of seniors. And we all know things aren't great right now, without this tax break.

Share this infographic to make sure your friends know what the consequences of voting yes would be. And Vote No on Measure 84 to protect Oregon's priorities!

Last night, we learned that Clackamas County’s controversial light rail ballot measure (3-401) passed. This measure has, in effect, prohibited county commissioners from doing the job that they have been elected to do – to make decisions on behalf of the community they represent.

Last night, we learned that Clackamas County’s controversial light rail ballot measure (3-401) passed. This measure has, in effect, prohibited county commissioners from doing the job that they have been elected to do – to make decisions on behalf of the community they represent.

Opponents rightly identified the measure as an attempt to limit government’s ability to do its job. Eleanor Hunter told the Oregonian, “"The measure is unconstitutional because it's an administrative rather than a legislative measure... I feel the county commissioners deserve our full support to be able to do their full job." (And with those questions of constitutionality may come legal challenges.)

Now, would it surprise you to learn that most of the campaign’s funds came from well-known conservative backer (and completely batty multi-millionaire) Loren Parks and the Oregon Transformation Project PAC.

Parks donated $15,000 to the campaign in March and then again – by terribly, misleading way of the Oregon Family Farm Association – in August. (See if you can catch how he’s tried to distance his connection.) Oregon Transformation Project, directed by GOP leader Allen Alley and Rep. Dennis Richardson, contributed over $10,000 throughout the campaign.

These are the same big funders that have been written about at length, in their quest to take over Clackamas County as a base camp for their conservative political strategy. So while they may claim that they are “giving voice to voters,” it appears as though they are actually working to cripple current government to pave way for their attempted takeover. That takeover began with recruiting wacky, Tea Party replacements John Ludlow and Tootie Smith, gained traction when the duo provided them with buckets of money, and now they’ve handed the candidates a “victory” to run on.

Unfortunately, they’re not simply running candidates and issues and hoping that most voters agree with them; instead, they are throwing big money to support dangerous ideas that, as the Oregonian reports, have “effects that will resonate for decades.”

In light of upcoming decisions on important public policy changes, Our Oregon has initiatiated a simple poll in order to ascertain the mood of Oregon voters towards the proposed policy changes in Oregon.

Thank you for filling out this simple, one-question survey.*

In light of upcoming decisions on important public policy changes, Our Oregon has initiatiated a simple poll in order to ascertain the mood of Oregon voters towards the proposed policy changes in Oregon.

Thank you for filling out this simple, one-question survey.*

*Yeah, we know. This question doesn't make any sense. It's meaningless. How would you know what you're voting on? 

Exactly.

SurveyUSA released a poll this morning, which included the worst phrasing of a survey question we've ever seen:

On Measure 85, which is about a corporate tax "kicker," are you ...? Certain to vote yes? Certain to vote no? Or not certain?

If you read about the poll this morning, you'd be led to believe that Oregonians were divided on the measure.

But the truth is, with the wording of the survey question, it's a wonder that anyone polled was able to choose anything other than 'undecided.' Individuals were basically asked to flip a coin.

After all: The question doesn't make sense. It's meaningless. How would you know what you're voting on? (It's about a corporate tax "kicker." Does that mean it creates one? Gets rid of one? Extends one? Wait, what??)

Even Republican pollster Bob Moore agreed that SurveyUSA's poll question was ridiculous:

Portland pollster Bob Moore... said he agreed with the criticism of the SurveyUSA question.

"I'm kind of surprised by the way they handled Measure 85," said Moore, who frequently polls for Republican candidates.

Students, parents, teachers, and other advocates are rallying in Grant Park this Friday.

You should join them.

Why?

See for yourself:

Grant Park in NE Portland
3:30pm this Friday

See you there!

Students, parents, teachers, and other advocates are rallying in Grant Park this Friday.

You should join them.

Why?

See for yourself:

Grant Park in NE Portland
3:30pm this Friday

See you there!

In their Sunday editorial, the Oregonian spent more than 700 words to say one thing: We should cut taxes for the rich.

Of course, you won’t see those actual words printed plainly anywhere in their editorial, but there’s no other conclusion to draw from their screed.

Ostensibly, the editorial is about reforming Oregon’s business tax system. To their credit, the writers acknowledge the obvious, that we have low taxes on large corporations.

They fail, however, to point to the findings of a recent, widely cited report from the Council On State Taxation, showing that Oregon is tied for the lowest business taxes in the entire country. Let me say it again: The lowest business taxes in the country. That’s down from our ranking as the 5th lowest just one year ago.

In their Sunday editorial, the Oregonian spent more than 700 words to say one thing: We should cut taxes for the rich.

Of course, you won’t see those actual words printed plainly anywhere in their editorial, but there’s no other conclusion to draw from their screed.

Ostensibly, the editorial is about reforming Oregon’s business tax system. To their credit, the writers acknowledge the obvious, that we have low taxes on large corporations.

They fail, however, to point to the findings of a recent, widely cited report from the Council On State Taxation, showing that Oregon is tied for the lowest business taxes in the entire country. Let me say it again: The lowest business taxes in the country. That’s down from our ranking as the 5th lowest just one year ago.

It’s hard to spin away that simple fact, but it wouldn’t be an Oregonian editorial if they didn’t ignore the obvious in order to support their political agenda. Instead, they argue that we should cut the personal income tax rates for business owners, including capital gains taxes. It’s the same ol’ Trickle Down Economics, repackaged for the 21st century.

Here’s the real story:

It’s true that most small businesses are organized as “S-corporations,” meaning that the business taxes are paid through the owners’ personal income taxes. But those taxes are paid AFTER all business expenses—employee wages, utilities, supplies, inventory, etc.—are paid. Put simply, S-corporation owners pay taxes just on the profit their company generates.

The tax rates on this profit—or income—are exactly the same rates that all of us pay on our income. Just like you and I, they’ll pay about 9% on most of their income (before exemptions and deductions). If they bring home more than a quarter of a million dollars per year (for joint filers), the tax rate is 9.9% on the amount they make above $250,000. That income level represents about the richest 2% of taxpayers. Almost no actual small business owners are in that category. 

But, the Oregonian thinks those at the top should get a tax break, and they’re hiding behind a bogus argument that this will help “small business owners.” They even bring in the National Federation of Independent Businesses, a front group for large corporations that also hides behind “small businesses.”

It should be noted that when the researchers for the Council On State Taxation study looked at business taxes, they included all taxes that businesses pay, including “individual income taxes paid by owners of non-corporate (pass-through) businesses.” They looked at the very taxes the Oregonian wants to cut, and still said, “yep, Oregon has the lowest business taxes.”

Bottom Line: The Oregonian is pushing an agenda of tax cuts for the rich, but they’re apparently too coy to say it explicitly. Instead, they obscure the issue and further spread the lie that Oregon is an unfriendly place to do business.

Oregon has the lowest business taxes in the country, period. And yet the Oregonian and some business lobbyists still think we should cut their taxes further. It’s safe to conclude that they think corporations shouldn’t pay any taxes at all. So why won’t they just come right out and say it?

---------------------------

Also, for the record, the O got this major fact wrong. From the second paragraph of the editorial: “The amount of taxes paid by businesses varies widely, according to circumstances. For example, Oregon's lack of a sales tax improves its score in tax rankings, but sales taxes are a relatively small expense for many businesses.”

Actually, according to the data compiled by Ernst & Young for the Council On State Taxation, sales taxes are the second largest category of taxes that businesses pay on a national average, after property taxes. “General sales taxes on business inputs” make up 20.1% of state and local taxes paid by businesses across the country. To put that into perspective, the next largest category is Corporate Income Taxes, which make up 7.2% of total taxes paid.

It's simply not true to say that "sales taxes are a relatively small expense for many businesses." Sales taxes are actually one of the largest taxes that businesses pay, by a wide margin.

More relevant to the Oregonian's editorial, “individual income tax on business income” is the sixth largest source of business taxes paid, at 5.6%. That’s just a fraction of what businesses in other states pay in sales taxes.

Clearly, the fact that Oregon doesn’t have a sales tax is a big factor in why our corporate taxes are so, so low, coupled with the fact that we have a $150 corporate minimum tax and relatively low tax rates on profits. The Oregonian is just plain wrong about this.

Let’s face it, the news today can be downright depressing. It’s important to remember that things aren’t all bad — in fact, there are some really great things happening around us all the time. Introducing, The Bright Side of Life!

Happy Friday, folks! Here are a few stories that brightened things up around the OO office this week:

Let’s face it, the news today can be downright depressing. It’s important to remember that things aren’t all bad — in fact, there are some really great things happening around us all the time. Introducing, The Bright Side of Life!

Happy Friday, folks! Here are a few stories that brightened things up around the OO office this week:

Finding a way to give back after you're gone: Cheryl Lenhart made sure to look after her local bookstore even after she was gone, by writing them into her will. Now, most of the books Lenhart had bought through St Johns Booksellers will make their way back to the store from whence they came, to find a new life.

Well, this is wild: a slinky knows how to defy gravity.

This Oregon vet is making national news for working with a morbidly obese, 77-pound daschund pup -- most certainly saving his life.

And summer's not over yet! Check out the forecast:

 

Well, here we go again.

Less than a week after endorsing a no vote on Measure 85 (corporate kicker for K-12), the Oregonian Editorial Board doubled down on their position, amplifying just how out of touch they are with Oregonians.

In an editorial about the Governor’s revenue reform process, the editorial board took the weird opportunity to malign Measure 85. (Remember, the Oregonian wrote in favor of corporate kicker reform just a few months ago, before taking a sharper turn to the right.)

Here’s the bottom line: The Oregonian wants to continue sending corporate kicker funds out to large, out-of-state corporations, rather than spending those funds on our K-12 schools (where the money is desperately needed).

Well, here we go again.

Less than a week after endorsing a no vote on Measure 85 (corporate kicker for K-12), the Oregonian Editorial Board doubled down on their position, amplifying just how out of touch they are with Oregonians.

In an editorial about the Governor’s revenue reform process, the editorial board took the weird opportunity to malign Measure 85. (Remember, the Oregonian wrote in favor of corporate kicker reform just a few months ago, before taking a sharper turn to the right.)

Here’s the bottom line: The Oregonian wants to continue sending corporate kicker funds out to large, out-of-state corporations, rather than spending those funds on our K-12 schools (where the money is desperately needed).

Our students are facing a crisis in their schools, and they can’t wait any longer for something to be done.

Want to add your voice to the call to restore school funding? Join us at the Back To School Rally To Restore Funding next Friday, September 21 at 3:30pm.

Rally to Restore School Funding
Friday, September 21
Grant Park, NE Portland (at NE 33rd and Brazee)
Music at 3:30pm, Rally at 4pm

Click here to sign up!

Here's an email that parents of students at Errol Hassell Elementary (Aloha, OR) received just before the start of the school year.

It reads:

As you know, our district faced a $37 million dollar budget reduction this year. As a result, our school will not have as many teachers this year...

Here's an email that parents of students at Errol Hassell Elementary (Aloha, OR) received just before the start of the school year.

It reads:

As you know, our district faced a $37 million dollar budget reduction this year. As a result, our school will not have as many teachers this year...

With fewer teachers in 5th grade, 4th grade and Kindergarten the class sizes are much larger than last year. All of the 5th grade classes will have 38 students. 4th grade will have 35 students in each class (last year there were four 3rd rade teachers so classes were much smaller). Most elementary schools across the district have class sizes of 35-38 students. Some schools are facing even larger class sizes....

As Errol Hassell Principal Ms. Valentine acknowledged, this isn't just one school. Errol Hassel is not alone in budget cuts, staff reductions, and crowded classrooms. Since 2008-09 school year, school classrooms across the state have seen similar changes, with 20% more students yet 16% fewer teachers.

Welcome to the new normal of Oregon K-12 schools! Unless, of course, we do something about it.

In just about 60 seconds, Jamie Zartler (high school English teacher) expresses what Oregon students face on the day-to-day. Check it out:

Can't watch video? Here are a few particularly poignant moments:

"I've had classes over 40, when the first time I taught, I had around 20 sixth-graders."

In just about 60 seconds, Jamie Zartler (high school English teacher) expresses what Oregon students face on the day-to-day. Check it out:

Can't watch video? Here are a few particularly poignant moments:

"I've had classes over 40, when the first time I taught, I had around 20 sixth-graders."

"I think it probably feels like it feels to adults at the end of that really long line at the post office. 'I need something really simple and when I can get this done, I can go on to something more important.' When a student has to wait for a simple question for an inordinately long time, it feels hopeless... that's the opposite of what everyone wants for public education."