Letters to the editor
Guest opinion had errors and half-truths throughout
2020 New Year's resolution for the editors:
We will no longer publish letters to the editor and op-eds that contain factual errors, half-truths or critical omissions until they have been corrected.
Example: Oregon Center for Public Policy sent an editorial you published, "We need bottom-up, not trickle-down tax Policy" in the Dec. 3 Opinion & Letters page. The article argued for "substantial expansion of these two tax credits…Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit," arguing that the rich and corporations got everything in the 2017 tax law rewrite and the little guy (working families) got nothing.
Critical Omission: every individual exemption was nearly doubled to $12,200 or $24,400 for couples. That is progressive tax reform at the lowest level. If your median income is $46,000, half or more of your income was suddenly tax exempt. The little guy got a lot.
Factual Errors: The authors wrote, "Aside from the question of fairness, the 2017 tax law has been a bust from an economic standpoint. A short-lived economic burst has petered out. The economy has been slowing and the federal deficit has soared."
Actually, the rate of growth of the economy has slowed…not the same thing as "slowing". From an economic stand-point the state tax collection based on economic activity exceeded all expectations, hence the kicker. Unemployment is at historic lows and still dropping.
Half-Truth: Congress should increase the EITC and the Child Tax Credit. They did in the 2017, just not enough for the authors.
The entire argument for raising the EITC and Child Tax Credit for working families was based on false and misleading statements. A good editor should have seen these obvious errors and pulled the article for re-write. There are better arguments for increasing these credits but they pale in light of the new exemptions.
County planning commission should reject hemp oil extraction proposal
Tomorrow the Crook County Planning Committee will make a precedent-setting decision. They can decide to fragment Exclusive Farm Use conventions by allowing introduction of industrial activities on Powell Butte farm ground — the same property which required removal of more than 3,500 tons of soil contaminated with toxic waste about 10 years ago. Or, they can honor existing long term land use understandings shared by most rural Crook County residents.
Consideration to allow commercial processing of industrial hemp on farm ground highlights the clear distinctions between industrial and farm activities. Industrial operations pour concrete, bring in tanks of hazardous chemicals, import feed stock from all over the state, increase heavy truck traffic, bring in hourly workers for shift work, turn on the bright lights, start the motors, and perform mechanical processes around the clock throughout the whole year. How can that be confused with agriculture? This is nothing like mint distillation.
There is no confusion among community members who will suffer degradation of hard earned livability factors while not realizing one bit of benefit. All rewards would go to wealthy absentee owners who won't suffer any of the environmental and social insults they inflict.
Should the Committee condone such disruptions as proposed, everyone should ask why they just didn't recommend use of properly zoned industrial capability that already exists in nearby Prineville. The infrastructure is already in place. Why is it necessary to disrupt the valued environmental and social fabric that so many people worked so hard to create?
If the application is approved as submitted, then all farm segments in the county will be at risk from intrusion by operators only interested in seeking profit advantages. How could future proposals be denied after the precedent is set? The stakes are high. May the conscience and intelligence of the committee prevail.
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