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Inflation is a painful reality. And yet, our state government has intensified the problem.

The grocery store clerk hits TOTAL. You blink in disbelief as you survey your packed grocery bags, "It costs how much?"

While sitting at the gas station watching the pump tick speedily up, up, up, you wince and think, "Ouch, I need to rethink how much I drive."

Inflation is affecting all of us and something needs to be done.

The Oregon state government has exacerbated the inflation problem and failed the hardworking people, communities and businesses.COURTESY PHOTO - Estep

Individuals and families like us are paying out of our pockets for the government's mismanagement of funds. Right now grocery budgets are increasing and that means margins are shrinking. Every additional tax dollar eats away at that margin and leaves individuals and families vulnerable. In the past, the state government has let the taxpayer cover the deficits instead of positioning its citizens to thrive by giving them the tools and cash to do so.

The state's mishandling of businesses and communities during times of COVID have created unnecessary losses and closures. We have all seen the shuttered small businesses and favorite restaurants closed. We have felt the job losses and employment relocation pressure. It has been hard on all of us. And yet Oregon has penalized existing businesses and intentionally turned away interested businesses that would have strengthened our communities and provided needed jobs. Time and again the state government has been negligent in its handling of our needs in crises. We need a representative body who protects our communities, provides for our businesses and creates employment opportunities for our citizens.

Oregon's restrictive corporate taxes have "taxed and pushed" businesses right out of the state. The Corporate Activity Tax (CAT) impacts taxpayers and businesses alike by sharpening the pain of inflation, increasing costs for production and labor, and driving prices up on everything. The Oregon website haughtily states, "CAT is the fee for the privilege to do business in Oregon." In reality, this "privilege" tax is another item on the long list of discouragements for businesses to open or remain here. We need more options for businesses and incentives for those who live, work and raise a family in this state.

Some will say the increased taxes will allow the government to give more services, but our government has shown that it is markedly incompetent in making decisions that best help its citizens. Recall the number of unemployment checks that did not go out in a timely or even belated manner, or when all state employees were suddenly given a raise? We don't need printed money from the government, higher pay for state employees and higher taxes for the taxpayer. We need the taxpayers' money in their own pockets funding their own needs.

Inflation is a painful reality. It is felt at the pump and with every decision about what to eat for dinner. It is felt by communities and businesses. It is felt by citizens and families. And yet, our state government has intensified the inflation problem. Things need to change, and they can change! We can soften the reality of our situation rather than make it worse. It is time for the best interest of Oregon residents to take center stage. It's time to thrive! Let's get this fixed, together.

Aeric Estep is a West Linn resident and candidate for House District 37, which includes West Linn and Tualatin. He can be found at and on Twitter, @aericestep.

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