Time for leadership

Is Peter Courtney, Senate president of the Oregon Legislature, paying attention?

Does he realize he represents all Oregonians in his leadership position? There is a subject about which I would like him to stop dilly-dallying around and assume leadership.

We are aware that Oregon is lagging in achieving the climate pollution reduction goals established in 2007 and that our state is no longer a leader in the climate arena. These 100-degree days are going to be the norm if this continues unaddressed; we will be summer prisoners in our own homes, clinging to the air-conditioning.

It is time for our Legislature to take a meaningful step to successfully address climate pollution. Oregon needs to do its part: We should impose a cap on emissions. We have made some progress with the Clean Fuels Program, but this is not enough. We need to maintain that program, not undermine it.

I am asking Peter Courtney to stand up and lead the charge by opposing any weakening of the Clean Fuels Program and by assigning a high priority to supporting HB 2135.

Louise D. Shawkat

Ashland

Time for a sales tax

I see once again, the City Council is looking to raise taxes on our homes.

The state of Oregon, Jackson County and Ashland are always out of money. It’s time we take a real look at what can be done.

Oregon has more than 28 million overnight visitors, spending over $11 billion in the state. Ashland has over 318,000 visitors each year. These tourists buy clothing, jewelry, shoes, household furnishings, electronics and gifts and pay not 1 cent of sales tax. I have heard visitors say, “this is great.” But it’s not great for the residents of Ashland. It is time for the people of this state to speak out.

Not a year goes by that the property tax doesn’t go up. Our homeowners are asked to just vote to fund a special need. And all these needs are important to make this a better community. But then the talk is about rents and home prices going up, of course prices go up every time taxes go up.

I would like to see a 3 percent sales tax go into effect. Ashland has 9,409 homes and over 318,000 tourists; let the visitors pay their fare share of the tax needed. And at the same time, reduce the property tax by 3 percent. Make Ashland more affordable for those who want to live here and buy homes or those who need affordable rent.

It’s time to make visitors help by not taking advantage of the good people of this state. Visitors to the state to the south of us pay 8 percent or more in tax and to the north of us more than 6 percent in sales tax. Ads in Hawaii ask the residents to “love our tourists because of the taxes they pay.” So our tourists would still get a great break at paying 3 percent and housing and rents would not go out of sight.

Let’s stop asking our homeowners and renters to carry the burden of the taxes. Let’s stop raising rents and home prices so working family can live here. Let our visitors do their part and start paying a reasonable sales tax. There should be a cap of 3 percent and not go up without a vote of the people.

Phil Loveless

Ashland