- Eye on Media
Opening the door to the subject of tax inequity is like opening Pandora’s box because more “evils” keep revealing themselves. A compatriot has supplied me with some fascinating information regarding Oregon’s forestland revenue and the impacts of special assessments on local taxing district as well as the consequences of HB 3537, a bill passed in 2001, which did away with the timber severance or privilege tax.One of the key selling points made by proponents of Jordan Cove is that the project will help our tax base and this chart will provide a quick graphic image of why our counties are starving for property tax revenue. There is a lot of heavy reading but I will try and disseminate the studies, and boil them down to pertinent talking points with which to contact our local representatives in the near future.
Meanwhile, take note that Ken Messerle is listed as a member of the steering committee on the BS Oregon website. Messerle, after two terms as State Represenative was beginning his first and as it turns out only term as a State Senator when HB 3537 became law. Personally, I find it really galling that the same individual who helped create the tax revenue problem is now leveraging that problem to pitch an LNG terminal that other locations have said no to. It is a little like having the mafia come in and steal your piggy bank and then charge you protection money so it won’t happen again.
It is also interesting to see his brother’s projections of the potential worth of property atop the pipeline. Fred Messerle projects that based upon the current and expected gains in the value of timber, timberland will be worth $240,000 per acre with 40 year old trees by 2050, yet he pays less than $4 an acre in property taxes. This underscores the severity of Salem’s actions in giving the timber industry a free ride and helps explain why Coos County is broke.
By the way, the slang definition of the word “boost” is “to steal or rob, especially by shoplifting or pickpocketing.” Remember that every time you see or hear an ad for Boost Southwest Oregon.