America’s 2015 Tax Bill? It’s 31% of the Work Year

By Kathryn HickokCascadeNewLogo

Tax Freedom Day arrives this year on April 24, six days later than it was two years ago. Tax Freedom Day is a calendar-based measure of Americans’ cumulative tax bill. It is calculated as the day on which Americans have worked long enough to pay all their taxes. Americans will have worked 114 days to earn enough money to pay this year’s combined federal, state, and local taxes. These taxes include personal income taxes, payroll taxes, corporate income taxes, and property and sales taxes.

However, this is only what Americans actually pay, not what government spends. According to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, “Since 2002, federal expenses have surpassed federal revenues, with the budget deficit exceeding $1 trillion annually from 2009 to 2012 and over $800 billion in 2013….If we include…annual federal borrowing, which represents future taxes owed, Tax Freedom Day would occur on May 8….” Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Economy, Employment, Federal Budget, Federal Government, Government Spending, Government Waste, Jobs, Taxes | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

State Sen. Mark Hass injured at wooly mammoth preserve

Sen Mark Hass_thb

by NW Spotlight

The injuries Sen. Mark Hass (D-Beaverton) received after being nearly stepped on by a wooly mammoth are minor, and are not expected to require hospitalization.

Sen. Hass was at an event promoting SB 913, which is intended to close loopholes in the sale of ivory, when the accident occurred. Sen. Hass sponsored SB 913, which makes buying or selling ivory or rhino horns in Oregon a misdemeanor. The ban on buying or selling includes the ivory from elephants, hippos, mammoths, narwhals, walruses or whales. Continue reading

Posted by at 07:45 | Posted in OR 78th Legislative Session, Satire | 14 Comments

Addressing the real threats to Northern Spotted Owl

AFRC logo_thb

American Forest Resource Council

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently announced it will consider changing the status of the Northern Spotted Owl (NSO) from “threatened” to “endangered” as owl populations continue to decline. The species’ listing in 1990 led to a 90-percent decline in federal timber harvests and restrictions on other forest management activities. 24 million acres of federal land in the Pacific Northwest have largely been set aside for the owl, including 12 million acres of forestland identified as critical habitat. Unfortunately the USFWS’ approach has failed to address the real threats to the species while devastating the socioeconomic health of many rural communities. Continue reading

Posted by at 08:00 | Posted in Natural Resources, Timber | 4 Comments

Bi-State Bridge Coalition: Real Solutions or more Special Interests?

third bridge

by Ron Swaren

Washington legislators very narrowly halted committing further state revenue to the troubled Columbia River Crossing project when, by one vote, the Washington Senate refused to pass authorization in the 2013 Session.In the meantime, two proposals have originated in Clark County to present a substitute concept. First, Clark County voters substantially approved in 2013 an advisory vote for an “East County Toll-Free Bridge” and cast a very close second for a “West County Toll Free Bridge.” Continue reading

Posted by at 06:29 | Posted in Columbia River Crossing | 3 Comments

Oregon House GOP to Gov. Brown: Actions don’t match rhetoric

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Oregon House Republicans

Response from House Republican Caucus Communications Director Kara Walker in response to Governor Brown’s State of the State remarks:

“While House Republicans appreciate Governor Brown’s calls to improve our education system, strengthen our transportation infrastructure, and restore public trust in state government, the actions taken by her and legislative Democrats in Salem simply do not match the rhetoric we heard today in Portland. Continue reading

Posted by at 02:47 | Posted in Gov. Kate Brown, OR 78th Legislative Session, Oregon House | 4 Comments

Rep. Whisnant: $300 million on phantom employees

whisnantsearchRep. Whisnant on House Bill 2856 : $300 million on phantom employees
By Taxpayer Association of Oregon Foundation

State Representative Gene Whisnant is working on House Bill 2856 which identifies and stops vacant state positions which could end up costing the state as much as $300 million. This bill targets vacant positions that have been vacant for 6-months of more. Vacant government positions that receive funding are often called phantom positions. Rep. Whisnant explains how state agencies come before his legislative budget hearings and lay out a detailed plan of the services they will provide and the number of employees required to do the job. The Legislature allocates the money the agency asks for but then is surprised years later to find that the positions were never filled. Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Rep. Hack: A way to boost volunteer firefighters

jodihackfirefighterRepresentative Jodi Hack has Tax credit for volunteer firefighters moving forward
By Taxpayer Association of Oregon Foundation

A tax credit for volunteer firefighters is moving forward in the legislative process. Sponsored by Rep. Jodi Hack and ten other representatives, House Bill 3189 would give a $250 credit against income taxes that are due to volunteers who have given 100 hours of service, including training hours. The fire chief would certify that the volunteer qualifies and has given the hours. On March 30 the House Veterans and Emergency Preparedness Committee recommended that the bill be passed and sent it to Revenue. The next step will be to determine what the bill would cost and to find a way to provide those funds. Continue reading

Posted by at 04:55 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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