Penalizing the schools, courts and disabled is bad for businessThose who have brought Measure 30 to the ballot say this referendum is about spending. There is truth to that. But it is about a lot more than spending. It is about the future of our state. It is about how Oregon is perceived by the rest of America.

The ballot - which must be returned by next Tuesday - asks whether you support the temporary income tax surcharge that was enacted by the 2003 Oregon Legislature. The cost to an average taxpayer is $85 per year. The surcharge is similar to what the Republican Gov. Vic Atiyeh asked of the legislature during the deep recession of the 1970s.

The anti-tax movement that launched Measure 30 is a single-issue crowd. They have not met a tax measure they like, and they never will. In their focus on this single issue, they are like many factions that dominate our politics.

Seeing the world through the lens of a single issue is inadequate. It does not allow for local nuance. It does not consider larger consequences.

The consequences of Measure 30 failing are substantial. They would mostly fall on Oregonians who have the least voice: Students and the disabled elderly.

Other, more powerful groups would also be affected as law enforcement functions are once more curtailed. The courts would operate on reduced schedules.

The rest of America has ridiculed Oregon for the way we treat our schools. The comic strip Doonesbury got a lot of mileage out of the last round of Oregon school cuts.

Oregonians might resent the bad publicity, but we are not fooling anyone. The Republican state chairman, Kevin Mannix, might tell us that saying "no" to Measure 30 won't harm children or the disabled, but that is a lie and Mannix knows it. Of course it will. And of course the rest of the nation notices what's going on in Oregon.

A state that disinvests in education and law enforcement is not a magnet for new enterprise. A state that closes its courts one day a week is not playing for keeps.

If Oregonians want economic growth, we must act like we mean it. Cutting the schools and closing the courts doesn't impress anyone.

Vote "yes" on Measure 30.


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