It’s apparent to anybody watching the news that Oregon shot itself in the foot with the passage of measures 66 & 67 this week, the tax increases on businesses and the so-called wealthy.
I asked the question, “Will Washington & Clark County Recognize Oregon’s Free Gift?” in a blog post and in emails sent out to all of the elected officials that allegedly represent me, and some that don’t.
I sent to each on January 27;
“Good morning, As I’m sure you realize, Oregon passed their retroactive taxes measures 66 & 67 last evening that will place an undue burden on small businesses there.
I feel this is an opportune time for Washington to take advantage of Oregon’s folly and attract businesses to Washington State, especially hard hit Clark County.
Offering these businesses tax incentives to relocate would alleviate some of the 14.3% unemployment we have in Clark County and any perceived loss in taxes would be more than made up by increased employment and new wages, all paying taxes once again.
At the same time, it is imperative that proposed spending cuts go forward until we get past this economic crisis.
We need to stop worrying about Oregon and begin doing for Washington and Clark County.
This was sent to Governor Christine Gregoire, Senator Craig Pridemore, Representative Jim Moeller, Representative Jim Jacks, Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt, Vancouver City Council members, Jeanne Harris, Larry Smith, Jack Burkman, Bart Hanson, Pat Campbell, Jeanne Stewart as well as to Clark County Commissioners, Tom Mielke, Mark Boldt and Steve Stuart.
Council member Hanson’s was kicked back, I assume due to him not being fully seated just yet, having just been appointed.
To date, I have received 3 replies, Larry Smith, Jim Moeller and Pat Campbell. Smith seemed non-committal while Moeller and Campbell come across as solidly opposed to any idea of offering incentives to bring businesses over from Oregon.
Representative Moeller even went so far as to tell the Columbian’s Kathie Durbin, who is well know for her left leaning screeds, Voters will step up when cuts get to be too much.
Yes Jim, the one thing you can always count on Liberals to do is vote to raise someone else’s taxes. But, as we saw back in 2003 in King County, when a ten cents per cup tax was proposed on fancy coffee drinks, they will solidly vote them down when they must pay them, even though it is “help the children,” as the “Latte Tax” was proposed to do.
The email reply I received from Moeller said,
“Thanks for your email. Yes! I saw the wonderful election results last night from our neighbors across the river. Although, we clearly differ on the two measures effects on small business, one thing we do agree upon, this is a great opportunity for Washington!
And what a victory! This was not just another liberal Multnomah County election result but a state-wide repudiation of the failed fiscal policies of conservatives that the only way to create prosperity is to cut taxes and shrink government services. Clearly the voters understand that simply cutting taxes and basic government services like education cannot continue and have any semblance of public education – the hope for our future, or other essential services for our elderly or disabled.
Although we have a very different tax system here in Washington we (like Oregon) will look at targeted tax increases (along with cuts and efficiencies) to help fund the basic building blocks of prosperity like education and public health and freight mobility. We will focus on rebuilding the economy and the creation of jobs in Clark County and across Washington by keeping our eye on the ball and the basics that gave us the prosperity to start with.
Finally, this was a great opportunity to affirm that progressive taxes on the successful and the wealthy is supported by the public when the voter knows what the taxes from the two measures will be used for.
Thanks for writing Lew, please write again.
Rep. Jim Moeller”
Pat Campbell’s reply said,
“ They are working on getting their schools up to par. We need to keep working on this ourselves or we may loose one of the advantages we have over Oregon.
Any bets the schools will remain under funded and need more next year, just as always happens?
The Wall Street Journal sees through the charade with Taxpayer Ambush in Oregon.
Even the Columbian, railed on by us as a left-leaning paper and in a move I see as more center, sees the folly of Oregon’s vote with, “In Our View, Jan. 28: C’mon Over!” and “Ore. tax measures generate optimism.”
Both encourage Oregon businesses to move to Clark County that would help us in dealing with our 14.3% unemployment in Clark County.
Based on the replies I’ve received so far, it appears that our elected officials don’t see the golden opportunity lying before us and instead, would like to follow suit and hike taxes on the already struggling businesses in Clark County.
While our officials might be shirt-sighted, apparently not all Democrats are as an article appeared in the January 28, 2010 Chicago Sun Times, and covered by the Oregonian “Daley wants to raid Pacific Northwest talent,” addressing how Chicago’s Mayor, Richard Daley intends to try to draw those jobs our elected officials ignore to his city.
“Oregon’s tax blunder spells opportunity for Chicago. It will help our economic development immediately. You’d better believe it. We’ll be out in Oregon enticing corporations to relocate to Chicago. I’ll be very frank. I make no bones about that. If those states want to do that, so be it.”
Washington State already lost Boeing’s Headquarters to Chicago in 2001. Apparently Mayor Daley has no objection to picking the golden egg laid by Oregon’s voters.
But our own elected officials would seem to rather follow suit and drive our struggling businesses away.
Maybe a 14.3% unemployment rate isn’t high enough for them.
Perhaps in future elections, they will be put in the unemployment line and we can then elect people who will pay more attention to our community and actually represent us like Mayor Daley is prepared to do for Chicago and we can get back to work.
UPDATE 1: Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt has replied and seems to me that he hopes to see busineses relocate into our community,
“Hello Lew —
Indeed, I’m hopeful that we’ll see some legit business activity, in light of the message Oregon voters have delivered to business and entrepreneurs in their State. Already some folks have been ‘kicking the tires’ here in Clark County.
We’re working hard at bringing more jobs to SW Washington, as well as helping our existing employers with expansion and growth. There’s plenty of opportunity, and plenty of work to do!
Good to hear from you.
UPDATE 2: Rep. Jim Jacks reply, received February 14, 2010
Thanks so much for your note about the recent Oregon elections. We have some measures we are working on to stimulate business development in Washington and I couldn’t agree with you more that attracting businesses, and therefore jobs, to our state is critical to getting our economy turned around in the right direction.
It’s important to hear from you and learn what your priorities are – I appreciate your input. Please feel free to call my office (360) 786-7924 anytime about anything.
All the best,
49th Legislative District – Vancouver
322 John L. O’Brien Building
Olympia, WA 98504-0600