Letters to the editor

Today's Oregonian letters to the editor were back-to-back outrage about how city workers got "paid" for "not working." One that's available on the net is this:

"Linn's favor shows arrogance

I am a certified public accountant and own a small practice in downtown Portland. I was unpleasantly surprised to read of the political arrogance of Multnomah County Chairwoman Diane Linn, who decided to pay employees for time not worked during the snow and ice storm.

This decision reflects the arrogance that results from our collective failure as voters to demand accountability of our local representatives. Well, let me start the demand now.

How can a county that tells its voters to pay Oregon's only county personal income tax turn around and pay money for time not worked? Does this happen in private industry? Of course not!

With its new income tax, the county made a plea to the public that times were tough and the county needed extra money to get the basics. Professionals such as myself pay this tax twice. We pay it as a business income tax and then as a personal income tax.

I object to the plea for additional taxes and then the granting of a political favor to employees to not work.

RAY JORDAN Southwest Portland"

One of the other letters mentioned that he's being taxed out of business. I'm wondering if the 1.25% Multnomah tax brings him out of business, he's probably doing something wrong to begin with.

Now back to the letter at hand. "Does this happen in industry" the writer asks. Maybe, maybe not. OHSU's official policy is that if you're two hours late due to weather, that's it, you have to decide whether it's a sick or a vacation day. However, for two days last week, department heads of research deparments were allowed to decide whether or not to open, in which case it was a day of pay without work for those lucky enough. I think Nike and Freightliner probably had similar policies, since both were closed. Secondly, if government were to run like a business, profits (i.e. from tax returns during good economic times) could be saved for bad times later rather than demanded back from the same folks that write letters like the one displayed here. Thirdly, paying this tax twice: uh, no. Your corporation pays the tax first (and is often exempt from doing so) and then you pay for the amount that you keep for youself. All in all, not a bad deal: though it seems like you're constantly figuring out taxes, you still have a few benefits (like purchasing that SUV on the government's dole as "corporate depreciation") that others don't. And finally, of course measure 30 had to come in on this. Everything government does these days is viewed with an extreme, undue prejudice. Too bad the snow day had to come this year (for the first time in a decade) to make it a political issue.