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Our first letters stack of 2021 includes thoughts on unemployment benefits and the attempt to overturn the election.

Businesses are getting stuck with the tab

When businesses fail, they shut down. But when the government shuts down businesses, it simply increases taxes.

More than 85% of Oregon businesses will pay higher unemployment insurance rates in 2021. This is after lockdowns and restrictions forced their workers to use unemployment benefits in the first place. Most businesses pay unemployment insurance taxes into Oregon's Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, which the state distributes to employees that are laid off without cause.

Oregon's pandemic response shut down hundreds of businesses, but its effects will continue to dampen economic recovery. Higher unemployment insurance tax rates mean that fewer people can go back to work. And any delay in employment furthers economic instability.

Oregon boasts "one of the healthiest (trust funds) in the nation." The reserves are meant to supply benefits for 18 months and there is $4.1 billion in the fund today.

So why should businesses have to increase their unemployment taxes? If it were up to employers, they would gladly hire their workers back instead!

As revenues struggle above break-even, businesses should not be responsible for government restrictions that increase the use of unemployment benefits.

Vlad Yurlov

Policy Analyst, Cascade Policy Institute

Post-election meddling sets terrible precedent

Sen. Kim Thatcher, I note that you are among 12 Republican members of the Oregon Legislature who had contacted Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to join in the efforts by the Texas attorney general to overturn the election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

One assumes by this action that you and these fellow Republicans will gladly support challenges by other states to legislative matters of our own state. If you answer to this is no, then you owe an explanation to all the people in Oregon about why you chose to urge our state to join in this frivolous lawsuit whose purpose, whether acknowledged or not, was to meddle in the affairs of other states.

Until quite recently, that is not what any Republic would consider a legitimate action. In fact, such behavior until recently has been viewed as anathema to what responsible government is about.

The terse rejection of this suit by the Supreme Court, whose nine members include three Trump appointees, ought to be writing on the wall that this suit had no legal reason for existence.

Scott Phoenix, Newberg


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