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As a laid-off county employee and former president of the employees union (SEIU 497), I rise in support of the salary increases for the elected officials for several reasons.

My layoff was due to the downturn in construction, not in order to grant commissioners raises.

An independent, market-based study found their earnings below market for comparable counties.

The administrator and commissioners have done exemplary work in re-balancing the budget with minimal impacts on service delivery.

I reviewed MT archives and found that when commissioners took a raise back in 2000, they were inundated with complaints then, too. The timing wasn't right in 2000, they said.

Just when is the timing right? Could "never" be the answer for some?

Wages have been below market across the board in Jackson County forever, and it's hurt recruitment and retention of good workers, kept good candidates from seeking office and kept our local economy on the ropes, even in the best of times.

Let's look at the details and the big picture, and work together toward lasting economic solutions. Let's not make Jackson County a place for only the ultra-rich and Third World-waged service workers.

Market-based wage parity will help, not hurt us. — Buck Eichler, Medford

The county administration has had mixed reviews lately, receiving kudos from the MT for cost-cutting measures, along with major groans from the folks due to two of the commissioners accepting fat salary increases in these difficult times.

One crowed-about cost reduction was some $3 million cut from the Historical Societies. While one could argue the Historical Societies' budgets had become overinflated, to zero them out was a shortsighted and pathetic action.

Think about this one a little bit more, commissioners. Consider doing the right thing. — Bob Stevens, Jacksonville

Thanks to State Rep. Dennis Richardson for pointing out in his last e-newsletter that the tax burden in Oregon is actually lower than most other states.

Richardson points out that although Oregon has one of the higher individual tax rates, when compared to states with a sales tax, Oregon taxpayers come out ahead. In fact, Oregon places in the bottom 20 of the states when it comes to overall tax burden.

In addition, Oregon corporations enjoy the third lowest tax burden in the country, important information to remember as the state works through the present fiscal crisis. — Wende Edwards, Central Point

Last week, while eating lunch at a restaurant on West Main, a glance out the window suggested how badly the construction scheduled through May 2010 is going to affect the businesses in that area.

Those of us who have favorite places along that stretch of Main from Columbus to Oak Grove need to continue supporting them through these inconveniences, or they may not survive the months of congestion and delay. Knowing it could take longer to reach your destination and planning accordingly will go a long way toward ensuring that a year from now we can still frequent the many establishments we count on and enjoy. — Cecilia Thorp, Medford