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between a rock and a hard place, part deux

January 12, 2010

I posted an earlier version of my blog about Measures 66 and 67 on My Oregon yesterday, and as expected, I’ve gotten a lot of responses from opponents of 66 and 67. Unfortunately, most of them don’t seem to know what they’re talking about. For example, someone calling themselves myearth wrote:

My husband and I have an LLC and run a small business. Our income dropped 25% in 2008 and we estimate a 35 to 40% drop in 2009. That is a LOT more than the percentage public employees are losing. So why do you think it is fair to take my money to pay them? I made $39K in 2008 and worked 55 to 60 hours a week to get it. I have no dental or vision insurance and my health insurance costs $6K a year and is far worst than they get. Explain why it’s fair for this to come out of my hide! Since you care so much, hy don’t you volunteer some of your hide? This is a tax on gross business income NOT on profit.

To which I responded:

A.) The main reason I’m leaning towards a yes vote on both measures is that it’s not just public employees who’ll be hurt by the $4 billion hole, but also kids, the elderly, and everyone else who depends on these social services. The percentage [of] people who may be negatively impacted be these measures if they fail is far greater than the [percentage of] people who’ll be negatively impacted if these measures pass.

B.) I think you should reread both measures. Unless your personal income is over $125,000, I don’t think you’ll be affected by Measure 66. And unless you own a C-corporation with over $500,000 in sales, I don’t think you’ll be affected by the tax on gross sales either. From what I understand, LLCs (along with LLPs, partnerships and S-corporations) will simply have to pay the corporate minimum of $150.

C.) I never said it was fair, and I expressly state that I’m not happy about either choice, but I do think the money has to come from somewhere, and the Oregon Legislature has decided that the needed revenue should come from the people who they think can most likely afford it while so many other Oregonians are out of work or underemployed. If you disagree, vote no. But if I made more than $125,000 a year or owned my own business, I’d gladly pay a little more.

A person going by the name of wurzburg offered this little gem:

NO ROCK! NO HARD PLACE!
They did the crime now they can do the time(As they say)!!!!
The only reason the school year or our children would be shorted in any way would be due to the public sector wanting to hurt those that insisted on fair and equitable spending. It’s there way of getting even if they don’t get their way. Nothing would be worse than attacking our children. That is why they are threatning us with #66 & #67.
WE NEED TO LET THE EXTORTIONISTS KNOW THAT WILL NOT BE TOLERATED!!! Just look around and think for example, “Do we really need what DEQ provides or could the money better be used for schools? If you look at the matter with an open mind I’m sure you can think of at least a dozen other depts that could use a haircut other than schools…. DON”T FEEL THREATENED!

To which I replied:

Actually, wurzburg, I think the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is important. Not only do they help protect the quality of Oregon’s environment, but as part of my company’s safety committee, I can tell you that my workplace is a lot safer due to their inspections and recommendations.

After thinking long and hard (or maybe not at all), wurzburg came back with:

OK,jmerritt I quess you are the typical public employee(You got yours, the heck with education). I just don’t know what got into me thinking the DEQ was less vital than education.

P.S. After reading some of your earlier post, I believe your Co. is the State of Oregon… Imagine That!

But you know what they say about assuming:

Actually, wurzburg, I work in the private sector for a local manufacturer. And for the record, I’ve never been a public employee.

As for the DEQ, I never said it was more important than education, I simply said that I think it’s important. I’m very concerned about working-class issues, and working in factories most of my life, environmental quality and workplace safety are important issue to me. I think the DEQ provides a valuable service to the community, as well as working-class people who deal with hazardous materials.

VastRightWing, on the other hand, actually attempted to make a decent point:

Before you accept Jeff Mape’s math, you might want to remember that he wasn’t a math major. Nor apparently a journalism major but that is a story for another day.

The public employees that he tells us are taking a PAY cut, are also going to get a WORK cut.

As in they won’t be paid ten days wages for the ten days they won’t be working. And this, in the minds of the mathematically challenged, is a pay cut.

If they make $50k per year for 50 weeks of work, they make $1K per week. If they work two weeks less, they will make $48K for 48 weeks of work, or $1K per week.

There are many private sector workers who have taken actual 10% or more $$$/Hr pay cuts, and are still working the same number of hours or possibly more to take up the slack for the other workers who have lost their jobs completely.

That is a pay cut. To claim the public employees are taking a pay cut, one must completely discount the two weeks or more that they are not working. Of course, dealing with facts and reality isn’t a popular activity among the left.

But the point was fairly irrelevant:

VastRightWing, I think I agree with you about the pay cut thing (I think it was kind of silly for him to say that), but whether not receiving any cost-of-living increase and having to take 10-14 unpaid furlough days constitutes a “pay cut” is beside the point I was trying to make. The point was that public employees aren’t getting a pay raise as the Oregonians Against Job-Killing Taxes ad claims.

My hours have been cut from 40 to 24-32 a week, and my company has instituted a pay freeze. I haven’t had a raise in a year, and I’m not eligible for another one until December of 2010. On top of that, they’ve had two rounds of layoffs and I’m forced to do the same thing I used to do with less people. Is that a pay cut? I don’t know, but I’m definitely not getting a salary increase. And as far as I know, the same applies to public employees, i.e., they’re not getting raises either.

What I don’t understand is, there are a lot of legitimate arguments against these measures, as well as taxes in general, but opponents of 66 and 67 don’t seem to be using any of them. Instead, they act as if teachers and social workers are blood sucking fiscal vampires trying to bleed taxpayers to death. And I thought I hated talking about taxes before…

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