With our economic future uncertain, unemployment still high, taxes rising, state and local budget challenges, it would behoove you to take special note of those running for congressional, state, county, legislative and city positions. While we choose not to suggest who you should vote for, we do encourage you to seriously consider the current economy and how candidates propose to guide us out of this crisis.
The governor’s race is hotly contested with the two main candidates running neck and neck in the polls. Shall we go with an experienced former governor with a track record or should we vote for a newcomer with perhaps some new ideas and a different approach to government? It is not a clear cut choice, but clearly a very important vote.
On the legislative level and at city councils and county commissions around the region candidates are talking about fiscal responsibility, budget problems, basic services and hopefully how they will take a leadership role in making government more efficient and transparent. We encourage you to vote for the candidates who refuse to go with the status quo. Our view is that many things need to change and we do not want to be looking at the same distressful issues in two years.
Our economy is at a standstill all over the country but even more so in Central Oregon. Everyone is talking about education, jobs, stimulus funds, government employee benefits and taxes. But are they willing to take extreme measures and really change the system? Our current tax structure seems to discourage entrepreneurship and business investment and does little to create jobs. What ideas do candidates have to create jobs and boost our economy? Are they willing to look closely at Measures 66 and 67 and fix the portions that cause the most harm to businesses?
Ballot Measures Deserve
The legislative measures on this ballot run the gambit from a new casino to dispensing marijuana. Both of those measures along with the state borrowing issue will have an impact on our economy. We have made recommendations on all the statewide measures beginning on page 13 of this issue. We make these suggestions largely based on our view of how they impact our quality of life and economic potential.
On the local level we recommend approval of the two measures in Deschutes County: Measure 9-80 that allows the City of Redmond to annex the Rural Fire Protection District to make the district more efficient and cost effective; and its companion Measure 9-81 that allows the City of Redmond to actually reduce property tax assessments from a rate of $6.16 to $4.41.
We also suggest a yes vote on Measure 9-82 which proposes a three percent tax increase for the Newberry Estates Special Road District to provide dust abatement materials on the dirt roads within the district.
In Jefferson County a five-year jail operations levy, Measure 16-62, is up for a vote. The county provides incarceration facilities for those arrested in Jefferson County including Culver, Metolius, Madras and the areas of Crooked Rover Ranch, Three Rivers and Camp Sherman. Even though these are trying times residents in Jefferson County should appreciate the necessity of increasing their taxes (from .99 to $1.19 per $1000 of assessed value) to ensure their safety.
However you vote, be sure to do so. Why? Because if you don’t someone else makes decisions for you. Because if you do you’ll be inspired by voicing your opinion. Because it forces you to think about the outcome. Because you’ll be part of history. Because it’s a privilege. Because you can.
Your ballot is due at the county election site no later than November 2. Thanks for showing up.