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Listen to what he doesn't say

Local editorial

Mannix says now is not the timefor taxes. He offers no alternative

Kevin Mannix has come to town to tell us why he and the Republican Party want to put our schools and social services into an even deeper crisis than they're already experiencing.

Mannix and the Republican Party have taken on the role of spoiler in plans for an &

36;800 million surtax approved by the Legislature. They hope to gather enough signatures to refer the tax to a statewide vote.

Mannix, who was defeated in the race for governor by Ted Kulongoski and then named chairman of the state Republican Party, says it is not the time to ask Oregonians to pay for essential services.

He says we should not worry about the consequences of overturning the surtax, because he will have a plan to solve the state's budget woes. He neglects to tell us, however, that he doesn't actually have a plan yet.

He is quick to say that now is not the time to grow government. He neglects to say that, even with the surtax, the state budget would be only 3.5 percent higher than the last biennium, a figure that doesn't even keep up with inflation. And remember, that's 3.5 percent higher than a budget that produced social service cuts, state trooper layoffs and early school closures.

— Mannix is quick to say that Oregonians who have lost their jobs can't afford another tax. He neglects to say that if you've lost your job, the surtax will cost you nothing, because it is an income tax. He neglects to say that a family making &

36;45,000 a year would have an annual tax increase of &

36;36, or &

36;3 a month.

He says state-supported agencies have to tighten their belts. He neglects to say that, even with the surtax, the amount of money budgeted for human services is &

36;200 million less than the budget the agencies started with in the 2001-03 biennium.

He says schools must tighten their belts. He neglects to mention the Hillsboro teacher who has not one, but two math classes with 54 students. He neglects to mention the many elementary-school classes in Jackson County with 35 or more students. He neglects to mention the 40 teaching positions cut in the Central Point School District or the 33 positions cut in Medford.

He says defeating the surtax would not hurt schools. He neglects to mention that state budget experts say schools would lose &

36;400 million if the surtax is rejected.

He says he is opposed to raising taxes. He neglects to mention that legislative members of both parties and the governor recall having conversations with him in which he suggested a temporary surtax, which is exactly what the Legislature approved.

Given a statewide platform that he could not earn from the voters, Kevin Mannix now has many things to say as he tries to lead Oregon Republicans on a path that will result in more damage to their state.

But when you listen to what he says, just remember the many things he hasn't said.