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Thursday, April 9, 2009

This can't be real

I think the Portland Tribune may have published its April Fools Day issue a week late. This week we learn:

-- They're widening Highway 217.

-- Portland's being forced to slow down on some wasteful "urban renewal" projects.

-- Somebody's asking questions about the state handing out money to corporations every time the state buys a Prius.

Am I dreaming?

Comments (8)

Misguided tax loop holes?
Looked into the installation of solar panels to generate power. The lowest competitive bid, to cover the company roof, came in at just over 128 large. People who actually pay taxes would have picked up all but about thirty thousand. Hell of a deal.

The widening of 217 has been on the books for a year or so now. Glad to see that ODOT is moving out of the "design" phase and into actually doing work though - this section has been AWFUL for too many years.

Let's not get all giddy over the 217 widening.
It's only from TV highway to the Sunset.
And besides WES has already reduced congestion on 217 and I-5.

I did not know that tax credits were a saleable financial security. If the state can sell a $2011 tax credit for $1752 to a bank, why can't we individual tax payers get in on this deal. So the State loses $259, the bank makes $259 on use of the tax credit and of course at the end of the day the taxpayer picks up the tab. Furthermore, subsidizing the cost of the overpriced hybrid Toyota Pious so that State employees can bask in the glow of "sustainability" is sheer folly. State employees (I know, I was one), use the Motor Pool for their personal transportation service and we pay for it. At least they could buy basic low cost vehicles...

I am completely baffled by a state that pins all its hopes for future economic growth on a set of industries that can survive only with massive amounts of subsidies.

As Margaret Thatcher would note: It's a brilliant idea until you run out of other people's money.

I'm not sure this is the right thread - this financial stuff is deliberately confusing to cover the truth...
But here's my question for Professor Jack...
Clearly the writers of the Oregon Constitution were very concerned that politicians could get caught up in public-private deals - I know, how could they be that cynical? - so they outlined various things no city can do, like raise money for a corporation, etc...
If you won a Prius on a game show, you'd have to pay taxes on the worth of the car.
The transaction might have been a gift, but it is still a monetary figure based on the worth in the markets, in terms of paying taxes on it.
So how is it that a city can give a developer land for free without that being a violation of the Constitution? Isn't waiving the purchase fee really a monetary contribution to the bottom line of a company? In a tax sense the money the land cost to buy has just been returned to the developer. Isn't that politicians raising money for a private company?
I know it violates the spirit of what the Constitution intended, but if there is ever a dime of property tax collected on the property, isn't that proof of a monetary number the city has in effect given the developer?
Excuse me if this is elementary but taxes are not my game, thank God.

I drive I-5 to Salem every day now and I see quite a number of Priuses and other state-owned cars in the morning mix. It appears to me that these vehicles are being used for state employees to commute. They are dressed for work, sipping their coffee at 7:15 so I can't imagine that they are already on the job? Most of them exit at 256 or 253 where most of the state offices are.
I am also a little concerned every time I see a vehicle with state plates and the "For Official Use Only" decal on the back, dropping the kids at school or at Fred Meyer on Sunday afternoon. We need a full investigation into who is issued these cars and just exactly whey they need them....

On the trip home from Salem today I see a 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee with all the state markings. OK, so not only is another employee obviously commuting in a state-owned vehicle but WHY does the state even own one of these high-end SUVs? is this a perk for a department or bureau manager? What function does this $30k vehicle serve that a base-level Nissan Versa ($11K) or a basic Ford Ranger can't perform?

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