Thursday, January 28, 2010

taxes: thank you for the candy... now gimme another piece

the Oregonian --

The day after Oregon voters approved measure 66 and 67, Ted "tax and gouge me" Kulongoski, says it's time to re-look at the kicker [which refunds money to individuals and corporate taxpayers when state revenue exceeds projections by 2% or more] and that he is going to consider the kicker reform his top priority for the month-long legislation session that will start Monday. Kulongoski suggested that if lawmakers don't do something about the kicker, he'd use his authority to order them back to Salem until they do.

"As much as the Legislature can call itself into session, I can call them into session," he said. "This is one of those critical points in Oregon history where we have to make a decision on this."

Kulongoski suggested the first 3% to 5% of the revenue above the forecast would be put away in what he calls the "emergency reserve fund" and any excess amounts over that would be refunded back to taxpayers. Once the fund is "full" roughly about $1 billion, the kicker would go back to working as usual.

"I am determined -- and there are others who feel the way I do -- that now is the time to do some serious reform of our unstable tax system," said Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, who chairs the Senate Revenue Committees "The measures we just passed are nothing more than a Band-Aid to solve a critical revenue shortfall from the recession."

Both Kulongoski and Burdick believe that it [the kicker] would give the state a cushion against the kind of revenue shortfalls that prompted the tax increases because without it, the state will continue on its "boom or bust" cycle.

Oregon kickers fund which was passed by the 1979 Oregon Legislature which requires the state to REFUND EXCESS REVENUE to taxpayer when actual general fund revenues include a forecast amount by more than 2%.

Now consider this...

The purpose of the kicker fund is to refund excess revenue to the taxpayers when actual general fund revenues EXCEED forecast by 2%

If the forecast for the general fund does not exceed 2% , then the kicker does not apply.

Okay, this is government, so follow along with me and see if I have this straight because I'm confused.

Measures 66 and 67 says that services could be cut because there's not enough money in the general fund. So we need a new source of stable revenue.

Kulongoski is concerned about the kicker because it will give money back to the taxpayers if general fund revenues exceed the forecast of 2% or greater.

If the state is constantly running in a deficit in the general fund, and then worrying about the kicker would not be a concern or a priority.

However, Kulongoski and others are concerned about the kicker which would therefore indicate that there is a surplus in the general fund, then why would we need to give them more money such as measures 66 and 67?

In either case, they say that schools and state services would be affected if they don't have these revenues, but how can that be if you're concerned about the kicker which should be refunding revenues over the forecasted revenues for the general fund?

So in either case, they say that schools and state would be affected if they do not have these revenues and that is why we should have both measures 66 and 67 and make changes to the kicker.

So roughly translated, "if I am lying and I tell you that I'm lying... and I'm telling you the truth... but I'm telling you the truth that I'm lying... then I'm lying..."

I have a headache and I'm going to go lie down.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

SUCKERS! bwahahaha!

Register Guard--
"Oregon voters delivered historic approval Tuesday for a pair of tax increases after a campaign that assured Oregonians they could protect schools and other programs by requiring wealthy individuals and big corporations to pay more...."

"Oregon House Speaker Dave Hunt called the results “a win for Oregon kids,” whose schools will not face the 5 percent cut in state spending they would otherwise have confronted."

the problem is that they are counting on the fact that people forget or have not been here long enough to remember the games. So people easily fall for the rhetoric that if we don't pass this new increase, that the kids are going to suffer.

you guys fall for it every time.

I unfortunately have to agree with the following comments, one from Nike CEO Phil Knight, who basically said that passage of these measures is assisted suicide for Oregon and Oregon Republican Party Chairman Bob Tiernan, "we are going to have more businesses leave the state and are going to have a lot more businesses who are never going to come here."

not to mention, all the people that cannot find work and are having to leave their home, the state of Oregon, for greener pastures.

I hope to hell that I'm wrong.

Oh, and don't complain when the costs of good start going up when these business start passing the costs of the new tax on to the consumer.

Remember, YOU voted for it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Are you upside down in your college education?


Kansas City Missouri --
" Being "upside down" means owning more on your house or car than it's worth.
Right now, Patricia Summers is upside-down on her college degree.

She still owes $18,000 on loans taken to get her degree in advertising from the University of Missouri. Her college time will end up costing more than $50,000, not counting what she could have earned from a full-time job had she not gone to college.

But that job probably would have been a dead-end, low-paying service job, advocates of higher education contend.

Which is exactly what Summers is doing now: serving burgers at a Sonic drive-in...."

... "Whether college is worth it depends on how much you pay for it," said Kevin Carey, the policy director at the Education Sector, a Washington-based education think tank. "It's not worth much if you pay too much for a degree that has no value in the market, or one that pays too little to pay back what you borrowed."

Is college actually worth the cost and do you need college to be a success?
And is the return on what you spent and time in college worth the reward?
Well, don't ask Bill Gates of Microsoft, Steve Jobs of Apple, Michael Dell of Dell, Larry Ellison of Oracle or Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. They all dropped out.

So what do you do?

In this society it is highly recommended that if you want to make something of yourself, get a head and have a decent income you are encouraged to get a college education.

"people with high levels of education make more money on average." Says Carney,"A college education is no guarantee."

But a question that I would ask, is the cost worth it. When you total up the amount of tuition, room and board, expenses, books, and other costs associated with attending college, what is the actual return that you are getting on your investment?
Last summer a 27-year-old unemployed woman from the Bronx, N.Y., was so disappointed in what her degree in information technology had gotten her in the job market that she sued Monroe College for $70,000, the cost of her tuition. She claimed the school did not help her land a job in her field.

"I doubt if it will go anywhere. It is not much of a law suit," said Gary Axelbank, a spokesman for the college. "We had 3,000 graduates last June, and every one of them walked out thrilled."...

... "Without a doubt, a degree is worth having, said Anthony Carnevale of Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce."

"Graduates who say college was a rip-off probably chose the wrong school, the wrong major, or they are living in the wrong region, where jobs are hard to come by. Education can't fix those," Carnevale said.

everybody's heard it, if you'd like to make more money, have a better chance of getting hired or promoted, you need that college degree.

However, as stated in the article, a college degree is NOT for everybody and it does NOT guarantee you a better job. Additionally, the TYPE of degree that you seek is also important.

One of the students in my truck driving class was a fresh graduate from the University of Oregon with a bachelor's degree in music. He told me that he was led to believe that it could result in a teaching career. Now he is hoping to drive a truck which, unfortunately depending where he works can make you more money than his degree would ever think of.

So the question is is it worth having a college degree?

I would say yes, however it depends on how you get it.

For example, if you are going for a technical type degree... go to a technical college such as ITT in Portland or OSU in Corvallis.

Bachelors of arts, University of Oregon.

DO NOT go to a community college for anything other than just general training or education.

what I would like to see is that the standards of both community colleges and universities to be upheld to the same standards as private colleges where in order to retain their accreditation highly depends on the type of graduates and the success of the graduates that they produce.

this is why private colleges are more accountable to their students and they placed more emphasis on their graduates being qualified for the degree that they're earning and not as concerned whether or not they are producing a MORE WELL-ROUNDED INDIVIDUAL.

Most people like myself, did not go to college to be a more well-rounded person, I went to college to get training in the field of my choice. Unfortunately, three quarters of the training that I received in college was not at all related to my degree.

Am I sour on college?

Yes, based on my experiences.

I grew up when home computers were just starting to come out and I've always wanted to get into that field. I did everything I could to study them on my own, and I got good at it.

Finally, I had the opportunity to go to Lane community college in 1975.

But it wasn't in computers. NOPE! The academic adviser talked me out of it.

"The market is over saturated, you'd be better with your skills and background to go into automotive repair."

What did I know, he was an adviser. I figure he knew what he was talking about.

Admittedly, the automotive program was a good program. Compared to today, they were actually focus on the degree.

I graduated and worked on cars for about a year. However that was not my love of what I always wanted to do. I have always been a technician at heart, and did everything that I could on my own out side of college to gain skills in that area and break in to that field.

30 years later, I had the opportunity to return back to Lane community college full-time, hoping to go back into computers.

Without regurgitating everything that happened, all I will say is that it was the worst experience in my life.

Today, I'm like that University of Oregon graduate. I spent a lifetime teaching myself technology, working my way up to be in the technical field, finally made it to the position of senior technician working with robotic equipment. It was a dream come true.

Now, I'm $30,000 in debt for a college, not including the other expenses that went along with it, and I'm driving a truck.

In closing, college is not for everyone, and like it says on the left-hand side of my blog, "buyer beware".

And don't be filled with regrets like I am or as a friend of mine in Eugene who is a millionaire whose name I will withhold for privacy reasons, advised me to drop out of college and do something else.

He said "I made it without a college education, and so can you."

I wish I would've listened to him.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Measures 66 & 67 a must read

Medford Fuel--

Medford fuel on their web site published their opinion on how measure 66 and 67 will affect their business and their customers.
With all the confusing information in the Media about these measures, Medford Fuel wanted to give you an actual example of how our business will be affected if Measures 66 & 67 pass.

Our “big, greedy corporation” directly employs six people, and creates jobs for another several dozen individuals ranging from truck drivers to accountants. We’re not sure what currency the “Yes on 67” folks are using when they say we only pay $10 in taxes, but in U.S. dollars, last year the business activity of our corporation generated over $1,200,000 in fuel taxes for the federal government, $700,000 for the State of Oregon, $16,000 in environmental protection taxes, $91,000 in Oregon and Federal payroll taxes, $22,000 in Federal income taxes, and $4300 in Oregon excise taxes. The wages we paid our employees generated another $35,000 in Federal income taxes and $21,000 in Oregon income taxes, and the earnings paid to contractors, truck drivers, and others employed as a direct result of our business created at least another $50,000 in taxes for the State of Oregon and the Federal government. After taxes, the corporation cleared just over $70,000 profit to reinvest in growing the business and providing new jobs in our community, less than the average salary and benefits package of just one typical State of Oregon management employee.

To summarize, last year our company was directly responsible for providing over 2 million dollars in taxes to the State of Oregon and the Federal Government…roughly $28.50 in tax revenue for the Government for every $1 in profit made by the corporation…and that is in a profitable year. Some years we make a profit, and some have a loss. What is disgusting about these measures is that, if they pass, we will pay an additional $15,000 in taxes, even in years that we have a loss. This is because the tax will be based not on whether we made a profit for the year, but rather, on our gross sales (before any expenses, taxes or payroll are taken out). The measure actually requires us to pay this additional tax on the $2 million in taxes we have already paid out of our sales for the year!" {More...}

I agree with them 1000%. any increase in company overhead will be PASSED ON TO THEIR CUSTOMERS (that's us people) and what the proponents of measure 66 & 67 are trying to do is to try and convince you that these big bad companies are getting away with not paying their fair share.

THE $10 MINIMUM CORPORATE TAX is the scare words that they are using to get you to vote in favor of these NEW taxes. Just like they are also using or threatening that if these measures do not pass, it will effect the schools, public safety, etc. the same old BS.

But like Medford Fuel correctly states, corporations and businesses in Oregon pay a huge amount money in taxes as it is. Even Phil Knight is starting to complain about how unfriendly Oregon is to business.

In my opinion, Oregon does not need any more taxes in this recession... they need to tighten their belts, reevaluate their priorities in spending and get the economy back on track and the money will follow.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Measures 66 & 67 - Same ol BS

Robin's Commentary

when it comes to raising taxes in Oregon, my first inclination is to vote NO for several reasons.

#1 local and state government has not proven to me that they can manage money properly

#2 I am broke!

What really throws a red flag for me is any time that they mention a tax measure will
"These funds preserve class sizes, save jobs for teachers, provide seniors with in-home care, and provide health care for thousands of Oregonians through the Oregon Health Plan."

I don't want to just walk to the ballot box to vote no, I want to run.

how many times have we been fooled by this rhetoric?

It's for the kids...BS!

I also find it interesting looking at some of the flyers in favor of these measures. for example...

"It's simple: Corporations should pay more then $10 in Oregon income taxes"

"The Plan: Increase the $10 corporate minimum income tax to $150"

First of all the ads are making it sound like all business only pay $10 in corporate taxes. not true

It is true that Oregon's corporate tax rate is 6.6% and is subject to a $10 minimum tax.

secondly, they are throwing around the word "CORPORATION" to give the impression that we're only talking about businesses like Nike, Albertsons, Exxon, etc. and forgetting that there are a large percentage of corporations that GROSS under $100,000, which is not a lot of money in this day and age.

Heres a little bit of trivia, did you know that corporations and other business also pay any PERSONAL PROPERTY TAX IN THE STATE OF OREGON?
Oregon Department of revenue Oregon law requires all personal property to be valued at 100% of its real market value... listing should include items that have been fully appreciated, in storage, our expense... and must file a return by March 1 with a listing of all assets, data acquisition, cost, and a statement of real market value. [Believer or not, this does include toilet paper... seriously]

Back when I had my business that meant I had to include everything within the business to include sales counters, clocks, toilet paper [seriously] any inventory and test equipment, computers, store signs and the list goes on.

When I bought my business, the owner was anxious to sell before March 1 because after March 1 the new owner gets stuck with these taxes I've never heard of before. Basically, it blindsided me with a unexpected $5,000 bill and that was back in 1995.

One of the other arguments that I love, "97.5% of taxpayers will not see their taxes increased."

While that may be true, common sense says that any time that you increase taxes on businesses of any size, they will pass that increase to the consumer.

Oregon also has a self employment tax which covers all business in Oregon. Part of this self employment tax in Lane County is for LTD. [never have ridden the bus, but I sure I paid for it]

The only good thing that I can see in favor of these measures is that people on unemployment will get a tax break on the first $2400 that they receive in unemployment benefits.

I always thought that taxing unemployment was dumb in the first place, but then again we are talking about Oregon.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

my opinion: bring a child across the border illegally, the parents should be jailed for child abuse

Robin's Commentary --
{based on Oregonian editorial December 23, 2009}

Immigration reform is in the news again, this time regarding a 21-year-old Rigoberto Padilla who was brought here at the age of six illegally by his parents and is now scheduled for deportation on December 16.Last week, he was arrested for driving under the influence.

Padilla has pleaded guilty to the charge of driving under the influence and is currently wearing an ankle bracelet. He is also working two jobs to finance his education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
"But he's also working two jobs to finance his education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Students know him as their friend and classmate. Professors know him as a smart guy with leadership potential, whose brain is simply too good to waste. Or to deport.

Shouldn't that count for something? "

So the issue comes down once again to the law versus emotion.

On one side of the coin, supporters of the amnesty movement argued that we should have amnesty because we are splitting up the families.

The other side is claiming, "what part of ILLEGAL do you not understand?"

Everybody has an opinion on how we should handle the illegal alien issue, including myself which I will discuss later in this posting.

For example,

"Last week, Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, D-Ill., introduced legislation that he called "C.I.R.A.S.A.P." (Comprehensive Immigration Reform As Soon As Possible). The bill would strengthen enforcement, provide a path to legalization for illegal workers, and also create a standing commission, similar to the Federal Reserve, to regulate labor flows."

The "dream act", which is a bill to amend the illegal immigration Reform and immigrant responsibility act of 1996 to permit states to determine state residency for higher education purposes and to authorize cancellation of removal and adjustment of status of certain alien students who are a long-term United States resident and who have entered the country as children.{Link}

And of course there are others who feel that we should just have open borders and just let anybody come and go as they please.

The latter of course is not practical. It would just be like leaving your front door unlocked and open to anybody that wants to come into your house.

Another argument for immigration reform is to keep families together. I relate this to the burglar that breaks into your house. They fully understand the consequences of getting caught. Entering a foreign country illegally is no different.

However, when you enter a foreign country illegally fully knowing the consequences of your actions and you bring your children into that country illegally you have started a whole series of events that affects a child's life forever.


And that brings me back to cases such as Rigoberto Padilla.

He did not have any choice or say in the matter of coming to the United States. Chances are he does not even remember his home country.
So deporting him is like exiling him to a foreign country. To me, that is what seems inhumane.


We as a country have turned our back to illegal immigration in exchange for slaves wage labor, and we only really started to complain when the numbers grew enough to be noticed in the mainstream which started threatening our culture and language.

So we have to take some of the blame and do something about it.

Well here's my suggestion...

the first thing that we have to do is close the door and start getting serious about enforcement.

Children like Padilla who were brought here at an early age with verifiable documentation should be allowed to become United States citizens.

Their IMMEDIATE FAMILY ONLY should be given the opportunity to apply for citizenship under the INS regulations currently in place which include speaking and reading English. Special allowances of course for the elderly and others as listed in the INS regulations for the English requirement could be waived. In other words, they have to earn their right to be here by making an effort to assimilate.

Everybody else would have one year to return home and to apply for citizenship, Visa or whatever to get back in line like everybody else.

After that one year, we start getting tough on immigration. The penalties for entering the country illegally change from a misdemeanor to a felony with the possibility of imprisonment.

Employers who hire people that "do not have the right to work here" may also face penalties and imprisonment.

This way in my opinion, we are in a sense apologizing for our lack of enforcement and giving the opportunity of families to remain together.

Not a perfect solution to a difficult problem, however, if we do not do something now, the problem is only going to get worse as the numbers increase.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

as predicted like a hungry dog waiting on a bone
Police are looking for people talking on the cell phone

Gazette Times --

Oregon State police had already begun stopping motorists for talking on hand-held cell phones however, most aren't given tickets yet according to an official on Monday.

It appears that most drivers are following the new law said Lt. Gregg Hastings of Oregon State police.
"The sense I'm getting is that it looks like we handed out three times as many warnings as we did citations during the first weekend," Hastings said.

Hastings and other law enforcement officials warn that the grace period will last long and talking on the phone without a hands-free device could cost you a $142 ticket.

I agree and I disagree with this law.

I agree with it because there are some people out there that can't walk and chew gum at the same time chatting on the telephone and are oblivious to everything else around them.

I disagree with the law because on the other hand there are people like myself who are used to using a communications device in a vehicle where it's not a distraction at all.

What I would rather see happening is to see somebody get a citation if they are involved in an accident or have caused an accident because they are chatting on the cell phone.

What I do not want to see happening is law enforcement officers now looking at people with cell phones as a source of revenue like they do with the seatbelt law AND I would rather see "law enforcement" officers focusing on crime and public protection.

Yes I can just see it now where law agencies are sending out patrols and roadblocks looking for people who are using cell phones like they do with the seatbelt law.

Here's a scenario... the scene, police roadblock.

Officer: ma'am, have you been using a cell phone without a handset?

Woman: no officer, I have not been on the phone at all.

Officer: ma'am step out of the car please and show me your left ear.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

in some institutions, if you only speak English, your skills are "not strongly desired"

Robin's Commentary --

Follow-up on a previous article

In one of my previous commentaries, titled "this article should be interesting to follow..." in which I was talking about the unemployment situation and brought to light Lane community college's preference for a maintenance job in Florence that they are advertising in their job description as follows...
Job Title: Part-time, Temporary Maintenance Worker/Custodian Florence Center
Classification: Maintenance Worker {link}

"As a vibrant educational institution, Lane is continuing to attract and retain a diverse student population. We are seeking qualified staff and educators to meet this need. Preferred candidates will be able to demonstrate active dedication to enhancing diversity and the role-modeling of cultural competency. Bilingual skills in Asian and Spanish languages are strongly desired. "

An interesting turn of events is that one of my regular readers/commentators Bobkatt, sent an inquiry to the HR person at LCC asking exactly why knowing Spanish/Asian languages would be a condition for a custodial job.

Here's a reply that he got...

I am not sure if this is a question or a statement. It is a very good inquiry. The Asian/Spanish language preference is not a requirement for a job unless specifically stated. Any preference listed in a posting, including bi-lingual skills, is a focused skill that would bring benefit to the students or position.

If you have not done so already, you may view a list of open positions by logging on to our "Employment Opportunities" website at To be considered for any open positions, applicants must submit their applications and required documents electronically. As you read the postings take special note of the Minimum Qualification sections. In order to be considered for a position ensure that your application and/or hiring materials demonstrate how you meet the minimum required experience and minimum required education listed.

Preferences are not required for you to apply to or be considered for a position."

that is a BS statement if I ever heard one.


Think about it.

If you are a black person and you see an advertisement stating that "Whites are strongly desirable", are you going to apply for that job with any real expectation that you'll even get an interview. Probably not.

In fact, the NAACP would be all over this one. Without a doubt, this is outright discrimination based on skin color. So why do we tolerate with language?

"Preferences are not required for you to apply or to be considered for a position." That is correct. You can apply for any position you wish to. I could apply to be a brain surgeon at Sacred Heart Hospital. I would not have any chance of even being considered because I don't have any medical training, but I can apply for it.

I mean there are special circumstances where I could see a language requirement, same thing that there are some jobs that have a gender requirement. However, those are special circumstances and are normally very rare.

Additionally, if the business or institution is also promoting this type of language discrimination, just like with any other EEOC requirements, if they are federally funded than their funds should be withheld.

In the same manner, I don't think discrimination should be tolerated in any business.

So if you see a similar job posting somewhere else, send me a note and I'll post it here.

And let's let the marketplace decide by voting with our dollars.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

this article should be interesting to follow...

Robin's Commentary

As I am doing my search on the web for news articles to post in the blog, I came across this little interesting segment in the statesman Journal blog page.

It's entitled, "EileenDiCicco's page", who is a former Statesman Journal employee now seeking employment and wishes to share her experience with others to hopefully be helpful to people in similar circumstances.

"I had hoped to have a job by Jan. 1. This is the longest stretch of unemployment I have ever experienced and no good prospects have materialized so far. Nevertheless, I have received some great training to improve my Microsoft Office 2007 skills; I've taken an online grant writing class and have begun utilizing what I've learned; and I've taken a Web design class. I have invested in computer software so I can continue to build upon what I've learned from home. I am volunteering my time and talents to several worthy organizations: Marion-Polk Food Share, Salem Leadership Foundation, Habitat for Humanity and Faith Evangelical Free Church. I have been blessed with some freelance writing and editing that has supplemented unemployment.

I am contemplating self-employment and seeking direction from the Lord and other resources in what that might look like. I know I have marketable skills and talent, I just have to discover how to persuasively present them to those who can benefit from them and are willing and able to pay a fair price for them. For years, I have been a faithful and diligent worker bee for others. Now I need to look at the option of working for myself in the service of others. It will be an exercise in planning, faith and empowerment. I welcome advice as I traverse uncharted waters during this season of my life."

Of course, I wish her the best in finding employment. I think that goes without saying. But I also think that she's going to get a little surprise that may open her eyes wide open.

For example, a letter to Lars Larson that he read over the air from a lady with 29 years experience in radio. In her letter, she commented that she had had several interviews where she was perfectly qualified for the job except for one little detail... SHE DID NOT SPEAK SPANISH!

She ended her letter stating that she is taking courses in Spanish just so she can get a job.

I have run into the same situation. Lane community college for example has a job opening for a maintenance person in Florence.


What I think is really interesting in all of this, and some will call it reverse discrimination, so be it. But what happened to the EEOC where they are not supposed to look at your race, gender, etc.

And before you shut out the race card... let me make one little point.

This is still America and the primary language here is still English. If we wish to cater to other languages as a courtesy, that is fine. I have no problem with that. I do however have a problem with people who have violated the sanctity of our borders and insulted the people who have spent the time, money and effort to come here legally and to be a part of our society.

But I digress.

The other issue that she's going to find difficult is that a lot of companies are only hiring over the Internet. In addition, these companies are using services like "Taleo" which utilizes keywords to filter out your resume before a human even looks at it.

All that talent and education that you may have now becomes a guessing game.

I don't know what the answers are, but I do know that if things don't change they are only going to get worse.