Letters, May 3
Key to finance reform
Sunday’s op-ed “Small-donor elections offer a better way” was exactly right: The blueprint for the people-powered politics we need to tackle Oregon’s problems is the trio of contribution limits, transparency for dark money (and all other contributions) and small-donor matching funds. My Senate Campaign Finance Committee is focusing on all three. We have a shot at passing good laws on the first two this session.
The third, a system to match small donations with public funds, will take longer. But it’s really the gold standard for anyone who wants elected officials 100% focused on what’s best for all the people they represent. Ask people living in one of the many democracies with public campaign financing about their confidence in government and you’ll get far more thumbs up than a group of Americans will give you.
Support for public financing is growing, but we still don’t know where the dollars will come from. Most people are understandably unexcited about directing general tax dollars to political campaigns when so many survival-level needs are going unmet. After this session ends I’ll be scanning dozens of existing programs for the best ideas. My perfect-world choice would be a 1% tax on all political advertising, with the possible side benefit of reducing it from a deluge to a tolerable flood.
This much is clear, borne out by the experience of decades: The funders of campaigns end up with decisive governing power. Shouldn’t that be us?
Jeff Golden, Oregon State Senate, District 3
Oregon, come back!
What do you believe is Oregon’s financial backbone? Well, it is logging, fishing, mining and great people.
I have the solution and I thought I would run it by you and all your friends. How would you like to see most all of the forest fires stopped?
Here is my solution. We need to start logging all over the state of Oregon, now!
Now, when logging occurs, there is a tax on every tree cut called a severance tax. There isn’t any reason that this severance tax shouldn’t be paid to PERS. PERS needs help.
So when the logging starts, this will help everyone. This will generate thousands of jobs and taxes for all of the counties and money for PERS. And, possibly, no more forest fires!