Justice demands that corporations pay their fair share of the tax burden. Working people have been shouldering higher taxes over the past two decades to give breaks to the wealthy. The few percent at the top have garnered most of the benefits from America’s recent economic growth. It’s time to start building a quality society that’s there for all to enjoy and share, and the first step is a revamping of the tax code to establish equity between individual and corporate taxpayers.

If we do use public money to support private business we should demand a stake in the business. Our subsidies should be seen as venture capital. Why shouldn’t society as a whole share the economic benefits of industrial subsidies rather than just a few bigtimers at the top?

HOMESTEAD TAX EXEMPTION for fair, targeted, property tax relief. Give relief to the people, not downtown high-rises.

The antecedent cause of the tax limitation measures that have caused our school funding problems was the failure of the state legislature in the eighties to come up with a reasonable tax relief plan to protect low and moderate income homeowners.

In fact we did have a tax relief plan in the late seventies called the Homeowners and Renters Refund Program, which was essentially a homestead exemption. That plan gave every homeowner a $170 reduction in the real estate taxes paid on a primary residence and provided an equivalent rebate for renters. It was instituted by the state legislature during the boom of the late seventies, then axed very callously and unceremoniously when the economy took a downturn around 1980.

During the next decade the Oregon state legislature's leadership concentrated it's efforts on passing a sales tax and fighting against a homestead exemption. The legislature's failure to pass targeted tax relief led to the passage, after several tries, of tax limitation measures with the end result that a disproportionate amount of relief is now going to large corporations and wealthy homeowners.

Time for Oregon to turn to the homestead exemption for property tax relief. I propose that taxes on the first $50,000 of valuation or fifty percent, whichever is lower, of a homeowner’s taxes be paid by the state, and an equivalent reduction be provided to renters. The owners of downtown high- rises do not need tax relief. The important goal is to ease the burden on average people, including the elderly who are having a difficult time paying their taxes and might otherwise be forced out of their homes. The homestead exemption should supplant current tax limitation measures so we can get back to a simpler tax system.

REPLACE current income, payroll and property taxes with POLLUTION TAXES. Let's tax what's bad and make polluters pay for the true cost of their actions. Tax non-renewable resources, excessive packaging, air pollution, water pollution, garbage, hazardous waste production, advertising and anything that harms our selves or our environment. A twenty year transition would minimize changeover costs both social and economic . Pollution taxes, also referred to as Green taxes will bring us far on the road to a sustainable society.

The ‘grow or die’ philosophy that rules our economic thinking should rather be called ‘grow and die’. It is simply not possible for America or the world to grow ad infinitum. Just as it is unthinkable for an individual to add weight without end, it is unthinkable for the world to add people or those people to increase their consumption indefinitely. Everything has it’s limits and the sooner we begin to think and act sustainably, the easier the transition will be from our present consumerist obsession. Our mania for growth at all costs has blinded us to the benefits of far healthier and more satisfying lifestyles based on respect for the earth and harmony with it’s needs and changes.

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