The tax overhaul President Donald Trump signed last month will save Oregon taxpayers nearly $1.5 billion a year, according to a new state analysis out this week. That works out to $840 per tax filer, substantially more than state forecasters estimated last fall, though savings will vary enormously from taxpayer to taxpayer. And a small percentage of Oregon taxpayers actually face a tax increase under the new tax code, according to the new analysis from the Legislative Revenue Office.
TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE
Several aging highway bridges in Clatsop County require significant work to remain viable. The state Department of Transportation rated crossings of U.S. Highway 101 over Ecola Creek, U.S. Highway 26 over Little Humbug Creek and Oregon Highway 104 over the Skipanon River as structurally deficient in the 2017 report on bridge conditions.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Meanwhile, in Oregon, drivers who buy or lease electric cars beginning this month theoretically qualify for cash rebates up to $2,500 on vehicles with an MSRP under $50,000. But the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is warning car shoppers the rebates are delayed and not guaranteed. That’s because the eligibility rules are still being drafted and there’s also a legal challenge that may take away the money for the rebate.
Between January and November 2017, nearly 7,000 vehicles were stolen in Portland. That’s more than twice as many thefts as in 2015, and the most cars stolen in one year since 1997. Of those vehicles, more than 90 percent have been recovered according to data from Portland Police.
Oregon health and law enforcement officials are shifting their focus to opioid treatment following Gov. Brown’s opioid epidemic designation. The state has one of the highest rates of prescription opioid misuse in the nation, with roughly three people dying from prescription opioid overdoses every week.
One big issue kept coming up, Measure 101. As a proponent of the measure Rep. Marsh described why it was important to vote yes. “Measure 101 doesn’t solve all of our healthcare problems, it’s a really essential building block in our ability to move forward and build a healthcare system that is accessible and affordable,” she said.
Sunriver will host a candidate forum this month for Democrats considering a run against U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River. The public forum is for Democratic and Independent candidates running for Oregon’s 2nd U.S. House District seat, according to a news release from the Sunriver-based political action group Staying Connected, which will host the event.
Officials with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed the Rogue Pack of gray wolves was responsible for two more killings of cow calves on a Butte Falls ranch last week, bringing the total loss for rancher Ted Birdseye to three calves within a week.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Senate Bill 5992 would prohibit the manufacture, sale, purchase or possession of trigger modification devices, which are defined in the bill as any part or combination of parts designed or intended to accelerate the rate of fire of a firearm.
Instead of shying from productive reforms, the governor and legislators should embrace them with the knowledge that they dare not count on the PERS savings until the subsequent litigation sends. That would be a more courageous approach than Brown’s modest PERS proposals for the 2018 Legislature.
For now, the public is left to wonder if this is really how the Endangered Species Act was designed to work. Were scientists really expected to pick and choose, in this case between two members of the same bird family? To pick favorites and dispatch the rest? Probably not. But that’s only one of the problems with a law written with good intentions but in need of a reality-based overhaul.
The Oregon District Attorneys Association last week announced plans to lead a ballot campaign to abolish the state’s unusual practice of allowing nonunanimous juries to decide some felony cases. The move is long overdue, and the association’s action is welcome. And, on a day when we celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., it’s worth remembering that Oregon’s embrace of nonunanimous juries has a historical precedent that’s based in racist and anti-Semitic beliefs.
Gov. Kate Brown’s office says Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has agreed to consider exempting Oregon from Trump administration plans to resume offshore drilling in U.S. coastal waters. Zinke should not only consider an exemption, he should grant it — and do the same for the governors of other coastal states who request it.
Rick Meis, resident of Halfway
Measure 101 is proof that we need to look at, for example, the 34 other countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development all of which have health care systems that cost less than our country, provide health care to all their citizens and have far better health outcomes than our country. All these countries, like ours, are “committed to democracy and the market economy.”
Amy Margolis, Oregon Cannabis Association
The voters of Oregon spoke clearly when they voted for cannabis legalization that they not only wanted to see marijuana taxed and regulated, they wanted to see the drug war end. Oregon has much more serious problems for law enforcement to spend their resources on than a reignition of cannabis arrests and prosecutions.
John Charles Jr., Cascade Policy Institute
Housing supply is lagging demand because we’ve created so many barriers to housing construction. Removing those barriers should be a top priority for the state Legislature when it convenes in February. Global warming legislation does not even deserve a hearing.
The New York Times
President Trump’s incendiary words about immigration have dampened the prospects that a broad spending and immigration deal can be reached by the end of the week, raising the possibility of a government shutdown with unknown political consequences for lawmakers in both parties.
Baker’s unique talent has been his ability to get as much distance as possible from Trump without thoroughly disowning him and alienating his own party. He works with Trump when necessary, but more frequently speaks out against his policies.