Letters to the Editor: June 12, 2019
Oregon needs the Electoral College
It is outrageous that the governor and state Legislature have opted to subvert the Electoral College. Shame on them! The Electoral College was crafted by the nation's Founders as a way to prevent the more populous states from having too much influence in national politics. Now our "leaders" are audacious enough to think they know better than the Founders, and apparently they want Oregon to have absolutely no say in national elections.
I've said it before, but it is worth repeating: Let's award Oregon's electors according to congressional district popular vote. The winner of a district gets that district's vote, the statewide popular vote winner gets the two electors that coincide with those apportioned for the senators.
In the last election, this would have been six for Hillary Clinton, one for Donald Trump (instead of all seven going to Clinton as it was).
Harold Hutchison, Forest Grove
Public employee unions perpetuate bad cycle
A 60% majority in the Oregon Legislature is probably the worst ever for current taxpayers. The problem started just before it convened when the state and most schools gave employees big raises. For example, Portland schools gave a 3% cost of living raise, a 3.5% seniority raise, a similar increase in health insurance, an even bigger increase in PERS payments. Lawmakers failed to mention these are really increases in compensation and that those big PERS costs benefit the more senior teachers the most.
Despite record revenues the state faces a "budget shortfall." Blame it on PERS, blame it on increased employee costs, blame it on the weather but the legislators are on their way to pass the biggest tax increases the state has ever suffered. They did the same thing 2017. Some taxes were also raised to cover a shortfall but now the revenues are coming in much bigger than expected — just not big enough to cover the employee wage increases. They overdid it so the over-budget kicker, "kicks," but they want this excess money, too.
Why? An over-simplified answer is so the money is there next time for public union raises and PERS; so these unions will finance the legislator's next election; so they will be there to vote for more taxes to cover the new shortfall and repeat the cycle.
The public unions and PERS employees should be thanking every non-government employee in Oregon. Their non-government compensation went up 3%, in total, in 2018, and they will be paying for public employees to receive an 11% plus raise.
Write the names down. If your legislator voted for these massive tax increases do not make the mistake of voting for him/her next time.
Richard Leonetti, Portland
State preys on addicted for money
Recently it was allowing and taxing marijuana, now it's sports betting.
This is just another unending, almost fanatical quest to grab more money from Oregonians. Gambling is a terrible addiction that slowly creeps up on someone almost the same as any drug. The Oregon Lottery and our state congressmen know this, but they keep silent as the problem worsens.
In part, why do you think our homeless numbers keep climbing? Is it possible that many individuals cannot control this habit and are losing all they own and are ending up on the street?
The state asks us to look at all the good the lottery does, but do you think they would ever say look at all the bad it does? Of course not. Gambling is not a good thing, but the state has become so dependent upon it they are now "hooked" and is hungry for more.
How in the world did Oregon ever survive before we had gambling? My disgust lies with our state legislators and the Oregon Lottery Commission. Just wait, in a year or two, they will find something else to gamble on. You can bet on it.
Jerry Schneider, Hillsboro