fb pixel

Log In


Reset Password

Voices of the Vote: Survey Response

Local leaders who completed a Mail Tribune e-mail survey of voting values in December 2003. Questions were compiled by reporter JoNel Aleccia. Questions and responses from each participant are recorded below.

Participants included:

Judy Barr, 62, of Medford, former executive with Asante Health System.

Kathy Bryon, 48, of Medford, director of the Gordon Elwood Foundation. Resident of Oregon for 14 years.

Jeff Golden, 53, of Ashland, radio personality and former Jackson County Commissioner;

Lyn Hennion, 60, of Jacksonville, vice president for Strand, Atkinson, Williams & York;

Bryan Platt, 50, of Eagle Point, an upholstery store owner and chairman of the Jackson County Republican party;

Steve Plunk, 43, Medford, owner of Plunk Transportation.

Bill Thorndike, 50, of rural Jackson County, president of Medford Fabrication, president of the Oregon Community Foundation board of directors.

SURVEY: JUDY BARR

I. Background

Name

: Judith A. Barr (Judy)

Age:

62

City of residence

: Medford

How long have you lived in

Oregon?

61 years

What do you like best about living here?

It's home! The Valley is beautiful, with seasons and a moderate climate. It is small enough for enhanced livability, yet is within close proximity to metropolitan areas and numerous recreational sites.

Political affiliation:

registered democrat

II. Taxes

1. What do you think of Oregon's taxation system? Does it adequately serve the individual needs of residents and the collective needs of the state?

Oregon's tax system, like many other states, is in need of reform. When school districts must reduce days of instruction, needy senior citizens are denied health services and the court system is forced to reduce its schedule, allowing critical delays in justice, it is obvious that the state's tax system is not adequately serving the needs of its citizens and the collective needs of the state.

2. What positive improvements could you suggest for collection and distribution of tax dollars?

After years of objecting to a state sales tax, I have come to the conclusion that an innovative, out of the box, approach to a sales tax may be a positive improvement for Oregon's tax system. It should not be thought of as a cure-all, rather one step of a tax overhaul. Questions I ask myself: Should a sales tax on across the board services (excluding health care services and products) offset the State's income and property taxes? Should the State's poorest families receive a rebate on the sales tax they pay out annually? And should Measures 5 and 47 be reviewed for possible repeal and replaced with measures more reflective of the difficulties facing Oregon today? Should Oregon's tax code focus on courting large corporations to Oregon?

III. Predictions

1. Based on your circle of associates, do you believe that Ballot Measure 30 will pass or fail?

At this point, December 2003, I feel it will fail. However, with a strong state-wide educational approach detailing the critical effects of its failure, I feel it has a chance of passing.

2. What would be the most obvious effect of the passage of the measure? What would be the most obvious effect of its failure?

Passage of the measure would provide the State with a breather, as the Legislature still would need to address the over-haul of the tax code. But passage would allow Oregon's schools to operate uninterrupted for the school year without a reduction in days or programs; social service/health programs for our neediest citizens would be restored and/or continued; the court system would maintain a full schedule, expediting justice for an over-extended court docket and law enforcement patrols would be maintained. Failure of the measure would impact negatively on all of the above-mentioned services.

3. Do you personally support the passage of Measure 30?

Yes

Briefly, why or why not?

I am for a strong Oregon. I want to live and have my family live in a State that displays the highest aspirations for its citizenry through judicious planning by its elected officials, and realistic sacrifices by the voters.

4. Do you understand the arguments of people who don't share your view?

I understand that people are distrusting of government, tainted by the greed of corporate leaders, and strained financially by a poor economy.

III. Values

1. In your opinion, what is the public emotion that prompted the placement of Measure 30 on the ballot?

Citizen initiative power gives the voter a voice, however, its over use can have crippling effects on the welfare of a state.

2. How would you describe the public debate that this ballot measure represents?

Generally, I see it as a polarizing one, between those labeled liberal and those tagged as conservatives; Republicans vs. Democrats; conservative radio listeners vs. PBS advocates.

3. If you support the ballot measure, how would you accommodate the views, fears and arguments of those who oppose it?

The national economy is showing improvements and Oregon's job outlook is more positive. The economic climate is brighter now than it was when signatures for the repeal were gathered. Isn't this the time to encourage our legislators to tackle the over haul of Oregon's tax code rather than turning to the initiative process after the fact.

4. What common ground do supporters and opponents of Ballot Measure 30 share?

We all share the same address: Oregon.

SURVEY: KATHY BRYON

Name:

Kathy Bryon

Age:

48

City of residence

:Medford

How long have you lived in

Oregon

? 14 years

What do you like best about living here?

My children are happy in their schools and have strong relationships and access to both parents who do not live in the same house. Open space is close by and we enjoy exploring the natural wonders of the area. There is a sense of an ability to get your arms around our community issues vs. an urban center where total numbers make that feeling difficult. I know and work among some of the most dedicated community minded people.

Political affiliation:

Democrat

II. Taxes

1. What do you think of Oregon's taxation system? Does it adequately serve the individual needs of residents and the collective needs of the state?

I believe that we are currently out of alignment with our needs, values and structures for meeting those needs and values.

I believe that all our systems should reflect what we are wanting as a community and state. To meet this ideal, we must have tools for listening to all people in coming up with a shared understanding and agreement about the role of government NOW while looking at the long and short term big pictures. Our communities and our families have changed so much since the governmental systems we created were created. Almost everything has changed. So why do we think that what we created with a different set of circumstances in mind should continue to work when everything else in the environment has changed? Businesses deal with this dilemma daily, or not, and that is what determines their survival and profitability. Looking at community there are the same and very different realities involved as in business. In community we need to have a cooperative approach to shared issues and resources vs. a competitive approach. This is one of our dilemmas. We are encouraged to be competitive to grow the business values of the free enterprise system, yet we need other skills to come together on the issues that we share in common- representative government, healthy families, healthy and able employees, strong neighborhoods etc.

2. What positive improvements could you suggest for collection and distribution of tax dollars?

In the short run we need to have more dollars in areas of social services and education to keep people from falling into worse situations. At the same time, I believe that we can look at how we address public issues and needs with a more systems based perspective and come up with some different ways of taking care of our community that are very different than how we do it now. What if we merged the public health goals with the goals for public safety and we decided to reduce crime by addressing the mental health needs of our community that creates crime. That would be a very different approach, requiring different training for everyone, address the underlying issues of crime rather than addressing the same crimes over and over. We would need less policing in the way police are required to police now.

We would look collectively at issues and find a new way through. Our taxes would then be spent in a new way, which is what many people are wanting.

III. Predictions

1. Based on your circle of associates, do you believe that Ballot Measure 30 will pass or fail?

I do not want to predict the future or what people will do. I think the more involved we ask people to be in understanding that they are the government, then the greater the likelihood that people will be engaged. We have to make the connection between people and the structures we create to help us as a community. I think that we have the capacity of doing things better and taking responsibility for what needs to happen. I think it is complex and people in general feel unprepared for how to think about doing things differently. We need new thinking and ways to come together.

I spend time with optimists and at the same time I know that most people act in a reactionary way when they feel they don't have power or understanding. I think the hardest thing will be getting people to vote. We have become apathetic and feel powerless. This is not helpful to Measure 30 or to us as a community.

2. What would be the most obvious effect of the passage of the measure?

We would have a brief window for breathing through the current crisis, BUT we would not be out of the fire.

What would be the most obvious effect of its failure?

We would have no window to breathe through and we would act and react in a crisis mode to find these new ways or just continue to dismantle what has been created to serve community. I don't know if in the dismantling there would be the ability to recreate something better or if the dismantling would just be about creating new problems that will show up somewhere sooner or later.

Taking chronically ill, low income, non-insured patients off medications will not ultimately reduce costs. They will be in the ER or in the hospital or die. Those are costly consequences to a short term issue.

Increasing the number of children in the classroom will not increase their learning which is now compromised by the learning disabilities that are identified in a growing number of school children.

Instead we will create more drop outs and more people with limited skills and in need of assistance for life.

Education changes lives. We may need to reorganize our educational structures differently to really meet the needs of those with the greatest barriers to learning and attending, but taking away the programs that allow everyone to participate and succeed is such a foolish move.

3. Do you personally support the passage of Measure 30? Briefly, why or why not?

Yes, because our state leaders took lots of time to sort through the current realities and suggested this intervention. It is ridiculous that we have to have this vote if we have agreed to have a representative government. We have to get over some of our distrust of people we elect and at the same time we have to build greater respect and understanding of what it takes for a community to function. No man is an island.

4. Do you understand the arguments of people who don't share your view?

I think so.

III. Values

1. In your opinion, what is the public emotion that prompted the placement of Measure 30 on the ballot?

Fear, and thinking that there is one right way. distrust of the democratic process of representation.

2. How would you describe the public debate that this ballot measure represents?

Same as above

3. If you support the ballot measure, how would you accommodate the views, fears and arguments of those who oppose it?

By engaging them in dialogue and processes for looking at public issues and how to address them.

4. What common ground do supporters and opponents of Ballot Measure 30 share?

Strong will and conviction.

SURVEY: JEFF GOLDEN

I. Background:

Name:

Jeff Golden

Age:

53

City of residence:

Ashland

How long have you lived in Oregon?

31

What do you like best about living here?

Great recreational and wilderness activities, good mix of working class and academic kinds of people, politics at a scale where personal involvement can still make a difference, small towns that feel like communities.

Political affiliation:

Democratic

II. Taxes

1. What do you think of Oregon's taxation system? Does it adequately serve the individual needs of residents and the collective needs of the state?

No. It has steadily become more regressive and shaped by corporate interest.

2. What positive improvements could you suggest for collection and distribution of tax dollars?

Repeal Measure 5 and replace it with property tax relief in the form of homestead exemptions with associated revenue relief. Stair-step income tax rates to make them more progressive, with the top bracket (say 10%) not kicking in until over &

36;100,000 taxable income. Restore local option for communities to tax themselves.

Distribution would be more in the public interest if the Salem lobby were less powerful, which will take significant campaign finance reform.

III. Predictions

1. Based on your circle of associates, do you believe that Ballot Measure 30 will pass or fail?

Fail narrowly

2. What would be the most obvious effect of the passage of the measure? What would be the most obvious effect of its failure?

Passage: a re-energizing morale boost for civic-minded Oregonians, little or nothing in changed level of service. Failure: more school lay-offs fewer school days, less responsive and effective police, planning, social service.

3. Do you personally support the passage of Measure 30?

Yep.

Briefly, why or why not? It's a minor expenditure, progressively applied, to staunch the flow of blood from core civic institutions, and it makes a step towards reversing the special corporate tax treatment that started accelerating with Ballot Measure 5.

4. Do you understand the arguments of people who don't share your view?

Yes, but I understand their FEELINGS even more. They resent the perks of what they see as a pampered government class, and they don't believe that government at all levels (very much including the federal, which they have no way to slap) serves them.

III. Values

1. In your opinion, what is the public emotion that prompted the placement of Measure 30 on the ballot?

Resentment that Government doesn't represent or care about real people. I think people would take virtually any opportunity offered to vote against Government these days, and the raw material of that unhappiness is harnessed by corporate-sponsored entities with a very specific and rational interest in rolling back their taxation.

2. How would you describe the public debate that this ballot measure represents?

Inadequate. It should focus more on service realities than taxes per se, and should carefully examine the main players and any financial interests they have in the outcome.

3. If you support the ballot measure, how would you accommodate the views, fears and arguments of those who oppose it?

If you oppose the measure, how would you accommodate the views, fears and arguments of those who oppose it?

The sense of inequity that opponents have is well-founded. Let's really follow the money and look at the roughly &

36;3 billion in tax expenditures (mostly tax code provisions and incentives for large business) and see how much of that can be recovered to carry more of Oregon's water. Let's identify states with some similarity to Oregon where citizens and voters have a more positive view of taxation and government services and hear what they can teach us. Let's hear from executives of more visionary companies --- the kind that commit to a community for the longer haul-- to find out whether they think high taxes or failing education/public services are a bigger obstacle to siting in Oregon.

4. What common ground do supporters and opponents of Ballot Measure 30 share?

A sense that special interests are running the state for their own, not the public interest. Pride in heritage and identity.

SURVEY: LYN HENNION

I. Background

Name:

Lyn Hennion

Age:

60

City of residence:

Jacksonville (well, really Buncom!)

How long have you lived in Oregon?

Close to 20 years

What do you like best about living here?

The people, the small town feel, the best climate one can have and still have seasons!

Political affiliation:

Registered Republican, though I don't always stick by party lines.

II. Taxes

1. What do you think of Oregon's taxation system? Does it adequately serve the indivdual needs of residents and the collective needs of the state?

(A) not much and (B) no. Puts too much pressure on too few sources of income.

2. What positive improvements could you suggest for collection and distribution of tax dollars?

I think the legislature needs to examine just what responsibilities really belong to the state and which would be handled better at the federal or local levels (not that they have money, either!) or by private business or non-profits. This would require putting aside special interests completely, making some extremely tough calls, and a whole lot of time -- so what are the chances?

There's a new task force at work in the state -- Foundations for a Better Oregon. Five of the largest public and private charitable foundations have allocated major resources to a grass roots project which will try to find a way to provide stable funding for public schools. Efforts like this, if they get the support of people throughout the state, can be critical to the long-term financial health of the state. I hope we can all get behind working toward building consensus and trust and I hope some true leadership will evolve. We MUST get some ideas and workable plans!

III. Predictions

1. Based on your circle of associates, do you believe that Ballot Measure 30 will pass or fail?

That is, will voters uphold the 2003 Legislature's tax increases that include an income tax surcharge and other increases in corporate, property and cigarette taxes as well as changes in senior medical expense deductions?

Probably not.

2. What would be the most obvious effect of the passage of the measure?

It'll buy some time to try to find longer-term solutions. It will, for example, all time for the Foundations for a Better Oregon (above) to come up with some answers or, at least, suggestions.

What would be the most obvious effect of its failure?

Sharp cut-backs in schools and services, which will make the state less attractive to individuals and businesses, which will mean even further revenue declines, and so the spiral goes....

3. Do you personally support the passage of Measure 30?

Yes, but only because these increases, as I understand them, are temporary.

Briefly, why or why not?

As above, because it'll buy time to work out longer-term solutions.

4. Do you understand the arguments of people who don't share your view?

Absolutely....and I waffle myself. Will the legislators really work to come up with these other solutions? Will what is designed as a temporary solution become permanent?

III. Values

1. In your opinion, what is the public emotion that prompted the placement of Measure 30 on the ballot?

Lack of trust of the legislators and state officials. Lack of a belief that they've really done all they can to cut fat. Lack of a determination on what, exactly, is fat.

2. How would you describe the public debate that this ballot measure represents?

Don't understand the question.

3. If you support the ballot measure, how would you accommodate the views, fears and arguments of those who oppose it?

See above.

4. What common ground do supporters and opponents of Ballot Measure 30 share

A love of our state. A strong desire to see good business practices put into effect to make sure that our dollars are well-allocated and well-spent.

SURVEY: Bryan Platt

Name:

Bryan Platt

Age:

50

City of residence:

Eagle Point,

How long have you lived in Oregon

: 25 years.

What do you like most about it here?

The small town environment and recreational opportunities.

Political affiliation:

Republican.

I. TAXES:

Income tax is great when the economy is great. It is terrible, likewise. I would prefer a sales (consumption) tax, but I am not willing to have the sales tax added to our tax burden. It would have to be an instead of situation. We have two problems with the current system: 1) Salem has not planned for any downturns, and continues to increase spending regardless of the fact that we are not a socialist state; 2) We are at the mercy of the economy more with an income tax based structure that we would with a sales tax ' understanding that we would be in trouble with either system with our current tax and spend philosophy in Salem.

Sales tax helps close loopholes the income tax and tax cheaters create. It would tax everyone equally if they chose to spend money. It would generate revenues from our tourist industry we are currently losing. But before any meaningful reform, such as sales tax, could possibly be successfully brought before the public, Salem D's and R's, and the Governor, MUST recognize that there are limits to what state govt. can fund, just as each of us have a limit on what we as individuals can buy.

There are no easy answers to rolling back social services, in particular, but this biennium budget could be balanced by: 1) Eliminating all NEW programs created inside this budget; 2) Rolling back across the board, funding to a level equal to revenue. There, instant budget balance. After the smoke settles, the legislature needs to create a constitutionally protected list of priority spending, and the percentage of the states budget that each category inside that budget will receive.

Then, every biennium, we can project revenues, project the dollar amounts dedicated, by the constitution to each area receiving funding, and be balanced from there. Within that budget, Oregon should insist that each agency Zero-budget. No budget based on the previous year, everyone starts at zero when they prepare their budget; that we privatize as much of govt. as possible, for competition lowers prices, and that our state govt. be run like private industry.

3. I believe BM

30 will fail. If it passes, we move farther away from a solution than ever before, and the cuts necessary to balance the budget will hurt more deeply then ever. No lesson in economics 101 will have been learned by the legislature or the gov. BM

30's failure will hurt.

Unfortunately the legislature has made it so, by using the most base scare tactics, writing in of cuts to essential services, police, elderly, schools. etc. This kind of punishment of the public because we refuse to go along with the tax and spenders is infantile. When the smoke clears, maybe after the November elections, and the legislators responsible for this type of ridiculous and malicious method of coercion have been booted out of office, the remaining legislators might get the message.

BM

30 is a last ditch kind of response to years of overspending irresponsibly. It is the civil version of a tax payer revolt.

Business is moving out of this state, business and individuals are cheating on their taxes like never before, lottery revenues are being looked at for essential service funding ' a sure sign of economic desperation for many lower income folks ' and our legislature continues to increase spending! When will we learn?

The arguments of people who want BM

30 to pass usually fall under what I call the do - gouda mentality. They are emotional and hard to deal with because we all get our heart strings pulled. No one wants the kids not to go to school, no one wants the elderly to lack care, no one wants prisoners set free. I believe this state has the money necessary for these things to be done, we just aren't allocating what we do have wisely.

4. More or less, I covered that above, a type of civil tax revolt, using the referendum process available to citizens of Oregon for this very thing. It is anger, fear, and resentment. Anger because the implications of Oregon's economy failing are huge and economic principles can only be held back for a certain amount of time before they crush us. Fear because most of us don't have unlimited resources to just pay the small additional tax that the surcharge represents ' we just don't have the money. Resentment ' It is hard not to feel that the little guy is not being heard in this debate.

The wealthy have enough to cover additional costs, and seem to have the clout to be heard on capitol hill, while the little guy seems to get no where. This unequal representation creates a type of class warfare, and there seems to be data supporting the fact that our society is becoming more split in this regard.

If everyone simply paid their fair share, and the state lived within it's means, we could get on with the business of life. I have no doubt that this will be a divisive debate. It is not going to be possible to get past this without trouble. At the same time, its defeat will open up new doors of opportunity ' out of sheer need ' which I expect responsible people form both sides of the aisle will work together on.

Dialogue after the election must be channeled towards a long-term strategy, not another short term patch work fix.

I do not think it would be that difficult to agree on funding priorities for the big ticket items, as a percentage of the annual budget. I think the both sides could come to some agreement there. But on the peripheral budget items, those things not found in our Constitution as requiring state support, it will be tough.

SURVEY: STEVE PLUNK

I. Background

Name:

Steven Plunk

Age:

43

City of residence:

Medford

How long have you lived in Oregon?

Born in Portland 1960, public schools in Central Point, college at SOU (SOSC), I lived in California for two and a half years after college graduation. I am married and have a son who is 12 attending public schools. I am a member of TRADCO a local transportation group composed of private and public sector individuals. I have served on the Medford Parks Commission and the Citizen Planning Advisory Committee for the city of Medford. I was a member of 20/20 Commitment, a local land use planning group dedicated to commonsense and free market ideas in land use planning

What do you like best about living here?

It has always been home to me. What's not to like?

Political affiliation:

Registered republican with libertarian beliefs.

II. Taxes

1. What do you think of Oregon's taxation system? Does it adequately serve the individual needs of residents and the collective needs of the state?

Oregon's taxation system is as fair as any other system. A sales tax would hit the poor disproportionately so an income tax seems fair. A sales tax also hits business whether or not a profit is made. The question of how it serves the residents, individually and collectively, I'm a bit confused on that. Do you mean the spending distribution or the actual tax collection system? The actual collection of taxes is immaterial so I will assume we are talking about the spending of state revenue and how it meets the needs of the citizens. I believe the current level of spending goes well beyond what the average citizen would consider adequate in serving both the individuals and the collective. The public has some sort of general idea about what is spent but no detailed knowledge of where it goes or how much it really is. I would guarantee that less than 1/5 of one percent of the state citizens have ever looked at the published financial statements of the state. The average citizen would not know how many boards and commissions the state has authorized and funds. Opening up the Oregon Blue book I see The Board of Direct Entry Midwifery, The Council of Electrologists, Permanent Color Technicians and Tattoo Artists, The Advisory Council for Hearing Aid Dealers, The Sanitarians Registration Board, and Commission on Hispanic Affairs. That is only two pages of many and each of these cost taxpayers money. We pay for things we don't even know about, not just police, fire protection and schools.

If anything Oregon government has assumed the responsibility for anything that ails us whether we want the help or not. Any group (sometimes called special interests) can pressure the legislature and get something out of them. Cash grants, commissions, special status, it's all there for the asking.

Our legislative system also allows the executive branch to introduce an unlimited number of bills for consideration. Rather than consider the requests of the citizens the legislative branch finds itself serving the various state agencies. Most of the bills dealing with trucking issues (my business) were introduced by ODOT. This arrangement has resulted in the rapid growth of government. The bureaucracy wants most of all to ensure its own growth and power and it is through the legislative branch that this is achieved. The voters are unaware of this and pay the price for expansions they didn't ask for.

2. What positive improvements could you suggest for collection and distribution of tax dollars?

I would not change the present system of taxes. It seems silly to talk about tax reform when the problem is spending. As far as the distribution of the revenue I would suggest limiting the ability of the executive branch to introduce and lobby for bills in the legislature.

Talk about a special interest, the state government itself is the largest special interest group in Salem.

Something that is not spoken of but would be a responsible change is a constitutional cap on spending growth. Limit growth in government spending to no more than the combination of population growth and inflation. I'd like to hear argument against that. Colorado has had one for some time and is one of the only states not facing a severe fiscal crisis like many other states.

III. Predictions

1. Based on your circle of associates, do you believe that Ballot Measure 30 will pass or fail?

Fail. The polls, the mood, the fact that the last tax vote failed. It is hard to believe the legislature wasted so much time and energy on this. Not just the time and energy of the legislature but also the time, energy and money of Oregonians who put this on the ballot and will campaign before the election.

2. What would be the most obvious effect of the passage of the measure?

What would be the most obvious effect of its failure?

The most obvious effect of passage will be a state government that does not recognize it's duty to limit spending and growth. We can expect further double digit growth until we again find ourselves facing budget shortfalls and more tax increases. State representatives and senators will read the support as a mandate for more spending and bigger government.

Failure will have little impact other than a gnashing of teeth coupled with doomsday predictions for the schools, the poor, and the ill. Sort of like last year. The predictions didn't come true. Sure you can find a few cases here and there of someone losing some benefits but overall the dark cloud didn't materialize over Oregon. Less money will result in a reassessment of priorities and a more responsible set of those spending priorities.

3. Do you personally support the passage of Measure 30?

No.

Briefly, why or why not?

The state must learn to control its spending. I do not

believe the threatened cuts will be as harsh as predicted.

4. Do you understand the arguments of people who don't share your view?

The arguments in favor of the tax increase are valid

arguments. Disagreement begins first with what role government should have in society, I believe in a more limited role while proponents believe in a larger role. Opponents and proponents also disagree with the effects of the threatened cuts and they disagree with the assumption that there is no more fat to be trimmed from the bureaucracies.

Many individual questions arise when assessing whether to support or not support this tax increase. At some steps the individual voter must choose to believe or disbelieve what is presented and at other steps the voter much apply his or her own value judgments to the question. At the end rational people can reach different conclusions. My research showed me an inherent self interest in what the government and those who benefit from it were telling us. This forced me to discount the veracity of those statements.

I don't want to call people liars but when we try to predict the future our own interests will color what we predict. After reviewing all the information available (including the financial statements) I reached my conclusion to not support the increase.

It is sometimes difficult to take a position against tax increases such as this. Many look at you as non-caring, callous, ill-informed, even uneducated. I see it as a citizens duty to oppose the things that are not good for the long run. Anti-tax people are not mean spirited, on the contrary they are very civic minded people who see themselves as guardians of commonsense and caution. Many see the excess spending as the road to ruin for them and the children to come. We are spending away the future of those children not only with current expenditures but also with the statutory mandates and entitlements we leave as a legacy.

III. Values

1. In your opinion, what is the public emotion that prompted the placement of Measure 30 on the ballot?

I see the placement on the ballot as less emotional and more of a reasoned mature approach to a legislature that failed to do its job. While the campaign may contain emotional pleas to repeal the tax increase it does not lessen the fact that this was a very business like approach to gathering signatures and placing the issue on the ballot as prescribed by the legislature. Sometimes a representative democracy fails and this is one such time where the citizens take responsibility away from the elected representatives and do what is necessary.

2. How would you describe the public debate that this ballot measure represents?

It's kind of funny but I haven't heard a great deal of debate. I don't know if it's because of a sort of resignation that the tax will fail or if people are simply tired of the same old back and forth on this type of issue. Oregon is divided, but not evenly divided, on tax and spending issues and I don't see anyone changing a great deal in the position they are in.

As the election approaches we will see letters to the editor with one side complaining about government waste and abuse and the other side pleading for the sake of the children. I see it as the fiscally responsible opposed to the mistakenly overly compassionate. Some facts and figures need to be put into the debate so people can draw reasoned conclusions. Those facts and figures should be hard numbers, not the usual as much as, could be, as many as, you know the sort of speculative numbers meant to give a worse case scenario in order to frighten voters. We're grownups, let us make our own decisions on the likelihood of issues and just get the facts out.

3. If you support the ballot measure, how would you accommodate the views, fears and arguments of those who oppose it? If you oppose the measure, how would you accommodate the views, fears and arguments of those who support it?

Okay, this is harsh but, this is a public debate not a cocktail party. Neither side has any obligation to the other side except to keep things civil, listen attentively, tell the truth and move on when it's over. I see the views of the tax supporters as misguided based upon the falsehoods propagated by the agencies that will lose money (more likely not lose money just not get as much of an increase). How can you accommodate what you believe is wrong?

4. What common ground do supporters and opponents of Ballot Measure 30 share?

Even though misguided and gullible I believe the tax supporters do want what is best for Oregon and the children of Oregon. As an opponent of the tax increase I also believe that defeating tax will be good for Oregon and even more good for the children of Oregon by injecting fiscal discipline into an unwilling state government. Our desire to see the state do well and our love of our children is common ground. How to accomplish that is where we fight like cats and dogs.

SURVEY: BILL THORNDIKE

I.

Name:

William D. Bill Thorndike, Jr.

Age:

50 years old

City of residence:

Rural Jackson County

How long have you lived in Oregon?

50 years...native

What do you like best about living here?

The blend of people and place.

Political affiliation:

Independent

II. TAXES

1. What do you think of Oregon's taxation system? Does it adequately serve the individual and the collective needs of the state?

Oregon's current taxation system is the evolving tale of raising the resources required to meet the agreed upon public needs. As the economic landscape changes, different tax payers are more or less responsible to provide their share of the resources to meet those needs.

The current income tax weighted system results in all taxpayers paying too much in good times and in my opinion too little in poor times.

2. What positive improvements could you suggest for collection and distribution of tax dollars?

Oregon can be proud of having an efficient tax collection system for both income and property tax collection. Our citizen based budget committees and procedures allow for active involvement by citizens with the allocation of dollars. Government budgeting is different then business or home planning but with a little time it is quite understandable. A disconnect comes from the anticipated income tax payable that the state enjoys in good times and the reduction that a downturn results in. Perhaps we can develop improved estimating models for budgets to be based on or tax the more stable streams of income.

PREDICITONS:

1. Based on your circle of associates, do you believe that Ballot Measure 30 will pass or fail?

Most of my circle of associates are willing to pass Measure 30. It is doubtful that it will pass though until the fractured middle of Oregon realigns itself. My view is there is a three-way split in the middle that must be overcome by better understanding the public needs to be met with tax revenue and a coalescing around solutions that a majority of Oregonians are willing to accept.

2. Passage would reflect the awareness that the services that would be cut with failure are unacceptable and that the tax adjustment is acceptable in the short term.

Failure would create a range of effects across our diverse state, many dire and others unfortunate, particularly around education and basic human services.

3. Do you personally support the passage of Measure 30?

I support Measure 30. I believe the Legislature did its best to create a budget plan we could afford and need for this biennium. The tax increases are modest and spread the costs as widely as possible with our current revenue system. The effect of a decade of voter initiatives and referendums has come home to roost and we now must work through our priorities and funding choices.

4. Do you understand the arguments of people who don't share your view?

While I understand some of the arguments that opponents have, I do not understand all of them. Putting as complex a system as state government at risk with this referral is tricky business and I hope will not lead to a crisis that we will regret getting into later. It seems with a dependency ratio of close to one fully employed Oregonian to one child, senior or unemployable Oregonian that we need a system that is very much in balance to support all of our needs.

VALUES:

1. In your opinion, what is the public emotion that prompted the placement of Measure 30 on the ballot?

The rhetoric on both sides of the issue is so loud and the voters of Oregon have become so used to voting on more services for less taxes it comes as no surprise that with about five dollars per signature that it was quite easy to get the issue placed on the ballot.

2. How would you describe the public debate that this ballot measure represents?

We have become more polarized around such issues so I would expect on the extremes that the rhetoric will be thick. My hope is that it will create cohesion amongst groups in the middle that will ultimately help with a long term solution supported by a majority of Oregonians.

3. If you support the ballot measure, how would you accommodate the views, fears and arguments of those who oppose it? If you oppose the measure, how would you accommodate the views, fears and arguments of those who support it?

I hope we can better develop an understanding of the quality, accountability and available resources that are required to produce the type of government a majority of Oregonians are willing to support. Hopefully we will elect a range of public policy leaders and have an educated voting public to debate and decide on our issues.

4. What common ground do supporters and opponents of Ballot Measure 30 share?

I guess I go back to the dependency ratio as the cornerstone that we all are a party to. Hopefully, we want the best for the children, seniors and those who can not actively take part in the economy that supports working Oregonians and their ability to provide the resources to meet our needs. We have a shared destiny.