Monday, January 25, 2010


The answer is not "133," the answer is "Yes" on both. I just cast my ballot in Oregon's special election. Because of the hair-brained initiative process in this state, voters have to approve any tax increases considered necessary and passed by the legislature. (Should that be "hare-brained?" Hair is less intelligent than most hares, so I'm going with the original spelling.) Measure 66 raises marginal taxes on households earning more than $250K (and single earners of more than $125K), and 67 raises the minimum corporate tax from $10 (yes, ten) to $150 for the vast majority of businesses, and by up to 1.6% of profits for the largest earners.

A number of business leaders have suggested, apparently in all sincerity, that public employees (educators, policemen, firemen and others employed at those facilities, for example) take a voluntary 10% pay cut to help the state through these tough economic times.

You know the story here. Us libs are trying to crush small business. Class warfare. Blah, blah, blah. An article at OregonLive yesterday points out that the wage gap has grown enormously in the last few years.
Inflation-adjusted annual wages for Oregon's top 2 percent of earners hit $153,480 on average in 2008, a 29.5 percent increase from 1990.

Workers at the 50 percentile, meanwhile, earned $32,659 in 2008, an increase of just 2.4 percent over 1990 after adjusting for inflation.
Meanwhile, another article from last week is headlined, "Business coalition: Keep I-5 Columbia River bridge project on schedule."
Two days after four elected leaders of Portland and Vancouver announced their opposition to a plan for a new Interstate 5 Columbia River bridge, a business-backed coalition today pushed for the project to go forward.

The Columbia River Crossing Coalition sent a letter to the governors of Oregon and Washington urging persistence in planning for the wider highway bridge, new light rail connection and series of highway interchange rebuilds.
Among other things, the officials asked the states to pay for independent studies of the project to be performed by experts the local officials select, a reflection of deep distrust of planners who have led bridge studies for more than four years.
From what I've read in the past, the two most important factors in siting a business are infrastructure and a skilled workforce. I presume security (police and fire) is only considered if they are weak to awful. I don't remember where taxes fall, but they're down the list a ways. Macroeconomic analysis is beyond my pay scale, but I'm eager to listen to those for whom it isn't. Via BlueOregon:
Third, the estimates above are for a typical state. But in states with taxes above average, we expect job losses from a tax increase to be higher that this; and for states with public services above average, we expect the job gains from increased public services to be lower than this.

Where does Oregon stand relative to a typical state? Oregon’s state and local taxes as a share of personal income are significantly below the national average. Oregon’s rank is 43rd based on the most recent data. Thus, because Oregon’s taxes are below average, we would expect job losses in Oregon to be lower than 7,000-20,000.

What about public services? Oregon’s teacher-student ratio places Oregon 49th out of 50 states; Oregon’s school year is the second shortest. Oregon’s university faculty salaries and benefits are significantly below the national average. So, with public services below average, we would expect job gains to be higher than 9,000-17,000.

Thus, scholarly research suggests the net change in jobs in Oregon is likely to be positive. However, there is no research on how much the effect for a typical state should be adjusted for Oregon and, indeed, the available research should be viewed as providing only “ball park” estimates. Nevertheless, the research provides no support for the claim that Oregon will lose jobs in the long run.
So on the one hand, we've got the poor getting poorer, and the rich getting richer. We have infrastructure that is in dire need of upgrades and maintenance. We have a once-excellent system of public education falling into a shambles, and other public service systems following suit.

And we have business and wealthy people who howl about these needs, then when the bill comes due, look around in consternation, and say "Who, me?"

Yes, you. Pricks. And if you want to take that as class envy, fine.

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