Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 09:00AM
Monday, August 25, 2014 at 08:29AM
A TV reporter from one of Portland's stations talked with me for 2 hours on Saturday asking lots of questions why the Intel SIP new giveaway is bad for Oregon.
The reporter than asked if I knew any business person in the Hillsboro area who would be willing to go on camera explaining why they thought the 30 year deal was a bad.
One business person who I know well would not go on record and so I reached out to another friend whose spouse owns a small business in the area and who opposes the Intel deal.
After thought the decision was not to contact the TV reporter because of the fear of retribution by Intel employees who are customers. I find this truly outrageous. When people are silenced in this way it marginalizes the democratic process.
What happened to FDR's wisdom in the height of the Depression of '29 - "that the only fear we have to fear is fear itself."
DON'T BE SILENCED BY "BIG BROTHER" INTEL - attend the public hearing on the "30 year deal" - tomorrow - Tuesday August 26th, Washington County Public Service Building, Hillsboro - doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 10:26PM
EDITOR'S NOTE: I participated in a debate on Ballot Measure 90, the top two primary initiative which will be on Oregon's ballot in November. The debate was hosted by the residents of the Terwilliger Plaza retirement complex in Portland. The major proponents and opponents spoke, RAD was there to offer a political scientist's view not to take sides with either side.
"When Edna Campbell of Jefferson joined 19 other voters for a study this week, she had a definite opinion on Measure 90, which would change Oregon’s 110-year-old primary election system. “I came in all for it,” she said. “Why not? It sounds like a good idea.”
Measure 90 on the Nov. 4 ballot would allow the top two finishers in a primary, regardless of party affiliation, to advance to the general election. Under the current system, only registered Democrats can choose Democratic nominees, and registered Republicans the same.
Unaffiliated voters, who have been growing as a share of Oregon’s electorate, can cast ballots only if they affiliate with parties or if the parties open their primaries — which has been rare in the past 25 years.
But after intensive study during the past few days — conducted as part of the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review — Campbell was among the 14 who sided with the opposition to Measure 90.
Citizen reviews of selected ballot measures date back to 2010. Panels are chosen at random to reflect the diversity of Oregon voters. In addition to taking sides, panels come up with findings that are listed in the state voters pamphlet and online voter guide."
The role of political parties is to recruit candidates for public office. Parties also establish ideological cues for candidates and voters.
Without parties playing this role – how will candidates be recruited under a top two system? Is this really a move to a non-partisan or independent candidate system?
Without political parties recruiting candidates, it leaves the process of candidate recruitment up to self-starter candidates with access to big money.
The proponents of Measure 90 want to enable more moderate candidates to have a chance to be elected rather than extreme candidates from either party.
Granted hyper partisanship is a major issue today, especially in Congress, but from my experience in the Salem Puzzle Palace this is much less so.
A top two primary will favor candidates with name recognition and access big money funders. This will not guarantee moderates will emerge in November.
When people find out their choices are between two Ds or two Rs – what incentive is there to vote when one party is locked out, along with minority parties?
Past reforms have had the consequence of lowering voter turnout among minority, working class and other economically marginalized voters. Is this good?
The opponents of Measure 90 feel that parties play a necessary role in our political system. By diminishing them voter have less information to assess candidates.
But in today’s hyper-consultant and media driven campaigns – do candidates state the issues clearly or do they offer up stale platitudes rather than address major issues?
It’s my experience as a citizen lobbyist that most issues are really non-partisan not driven by strong ideological divisions between office holders.
How can we move from a Republican party dominated by Tea Party radicals and a Democratic party which has no commitment to its New Deal roots?
Does the Top Two primary system solve the problem of low voter turnout in primary elections? If not then why go down this road with possible unintended consequences?
Options to a Top Two Primary system:
Same day registration
Motor Voter registration
Declaring voter suppression is a civil rights violation
Making vote by mail a national practice
Reversing Citizen’s United
Requiring full disclosure of campaign contributions
TV and radio stations giving free airtime to candidates
Schools doing a better job of educating future citizens on democratic politics
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at 08:19PM
EDITOR'S NOTE: As the Intel SIP decision comes down the pike next Tuesday - you might want to keep this OCPP report in mind as the Guv, local officials in Washington County and now both major newspapers - The unOregonian and the Pamplin Papers spin you like a top to get you to believe Intel pays their fair share of taxes:
Saturday, August 16, 2014 at 10:30PM
I testified against the "Intel SIP deal" before the Washington County Board and the Hillsboro City Council. So did Jody Wiser of Tax Fairness Oregon and my friend Dale Feik, WC CAN's emissions committee chair.
What's most disappointing is that the process by which the deal came down was a closed door process from March to just a week ago, driven by "non-disclosure" agreements signed by local government officials at Intel's demand. Transparency is out, open meeting laws are out and accountability is out - the "deal" is virtually signed sealed and delivered.
Intel's tax breaks: Hillsboro City Council hears support and opposition to deal
If you want to speak out against this violation of open government attend next Tuesday's public hearing August 26th at 6:30 p.m. before a joint session of the county board and Hillsboro city council in the Public Services Building in Hillsboro. It will be your last chance to speak out before the skids are greased for Intel for the next 30 years!
Welcome to the "new" Oregon, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel.
In the wake of the Intel deal for more SIP money, the editors of the Oregonian have the audacity to admit Oregon needs an additional revenue source - their favorite tax - a sales tax. Now Oregonians have voted down a sales tax 9 times, how clearer could it be that this is a road nowhere? This is merely the Oregonian's way of hiding behind the fact that the negotiated Intel deal - which is not consummated yet - is an outrageous shakedown of Oregon and it's voters.
Giving Intel a 30 year deal which relieves them of property taxes by only taxing the first $100 million of the value of what's reported to be over 2 billion in new machinery is a rip off of gargantuan proportions. It will continue to place an unfair burden on those who get no 30 year breaks on their property taxes - renters, home owners and small business. And it will mean over the 30 years there will be less money for schools and other public services but of course not for the TROIKA's pork project - a community center!
This get worse the more you learn about it - check out Mike Rogoway's latest analysis:
As Washington County and Hillsboro officials prepare to vote on that deal late this month, the remarkable duration of Intel's new tax package has become a focal point for those weighing the agreement. The pact, announced last week, would exempt up to $100 billion in equipment from the property taxes that other businesses pay.
The agreement would save Intel something like $2 billion over the life of the deal and effectively lock in the company's tax structure through Super Bowl LXXX. Compensatory payments – minimums Intel agrees to pay to compensate local taxing authorities for the foregone revenue – aren't indexed for inflation, so their value will drop substantially over the years.
When Rogoway, touting the editorial board line, after all they pay his salary - claims that "even critics of this deal are broadly supportive of tax breaks on the monstrously expensive equipment that outfits the chipmaker's multibillion-dollar Washington County factories" who is he talking about? He never asked for my take as WC CAN's VP and Senior Policy Analyst. His reference to Tax Fairness Oregon's position is a slight of hand comment.
"As with previous SIPs, Intel agrees to make an annual payment of $2.87 million, pay a $2 million community service fee and donate $100,000 year to charities selected by local elected officials. The abatements apply only to the value of equipment and machinery beyond $100 million, and will not affect taxes on land and buildings. According to a report by ECONorthwest on Intel's economic impact in Oregon, the company paid $20.8 million in property taxes in 2012 on land and buildings."
Notice the "framing" of the property abatement reference above - "apply only to the value of equipment and machinery beyond $100 million...? Such a deal, Intel is taxed only on the first $100 million but not the rest of the $2 billion.
For a multi-national corporation with a over $9 billion dollar revenue stream this year, the annual payments, community service fee and donations to charities are "chump change" - the latter a slush fund for local officials to divy out - what is termed "pork" in DC. While Intel paid $20.8 million in property taxes - it paid no state income taxes. Forest Grove's School District #15 has a current general fund for 2013-14 of $54.1 million dollars.
What's Intel's contribution to our schools? Oh yeah, Gains Share money which comes from income taxes on their employees... What a trick, Intel pays the $150 minimum state income tax, their employees pay income and property taxes and Intel gets huge property tax breaks.
In 2013-14 Washington County's total budget was over $737 million. If one adds the total budgets of Beaverton and Hillsboro, these local governments added to the county budget come to $1.3 billion. Intel's $20.8 million in property taxes equals 1.6% of these three local governments most impacted by Intel.
This does not factor in the budgets of other local districts to which property tax payers support - local school districts, special districts, Metro, PCC et al. Factoring these into the budget equation lowers Intel's contribution even lower than it's 1.6%.
According to an EcoNorthwest report, the last year Intel paid state income taxes in the mid-90s the price tag was $50 million. Those were the days! Those records are no longer available to the public! Intel's motto - "transparency is not us!" They lie about emissions and they hide what they used to pay in taxes!
If one adds up the school budgets of Washington County's other local school districts - Beaverton, Tigard, Hillsboro, Gaston, Banks, North Plains and Sherwood an additional $20.8 million is a drop in the bucket. Then consider the budget challenges of local cities which are impacted by infrastructure demands placed on them by Intel's 17,000 employees (not to mention NIKE) - it doesn't add up. Intel is not paying its fair share nor is NIKE,
When one looks at the Oregonian editorial board's list of things we need to do to keep Intel and NIKE in Oregon the future demands over the 30 years of this "deal" just zooms like a rocket.
"In Hillsboro, that means continuing to increase the housing and civic options for employees at Intel and other companies who would live closer to work if the amenities they desired were available."
RAD: In Washington County apparently Intel employees are more equal than other employees!
I pay property taxes to support my local schools, my city government, METRO, the county, PCC, the ESD, Clean Water Services, the Port Authority of Portland and special levies for school construction, county roads, public safety, libraries, parks and green spaces. What's Intel's contribution to these taxpayer supported programs? After all "corporations" are legally persons, right, so they should pay like you and I do, right?
We know what happened to the economy when "banks too big to fail" got fat and sassy. As US Senator Elizabeth Warren says "the system is rigged."