Editorial Note: Clarification for 12/13/17 Editorial: Questions & Answers
Public Notice. Sherman County Court Session Location, Dec. 20
Truth in Labeling
Presentation & Exhibit: Chinese Puzzles & The Dalles Chinatown, January 12
History Tidbits: Sherman County Trivia Question #6
Congressman Walden: Statement on Tax relief for Middle-class Oregonians
Four New Oregon Tax Programs in 2018
Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do
“A love of truth and a veneration of virtue. These amiable passions, are the ‘latent spark’… If the people are capable of understanding, seeing and feeling the differences between true and false, right and wrong, virtue and vice, to what better principle can the friends of mankind apply than to the sense of this difference?” —John Adams (1775)
1. Editorial: Clarification for 12/13/17 Editorial: Questions & Answers
Sherman County Finance Director/Tax Collector Debbie Hayden asked Sherman County eNews to post a clarification for an answer to a question. She states, “I was recently asked a question regarding why Sherman County was paying for a communications tower at Cottonwood Canyon State Park. The answer that appeared in Sherman County eNews was both un-edited and incomplete and should have read as follows: “It was presented as a safety concern for the Sheriff’s Department. With so many people predicted to visit the park, they wanted something in place for emergencies. This concern was addressed in an intergovernmental agreement between Sherman County and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. A provision of this agreement was that the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department would contribute $375,000 towards the development of a communication site. These funds were received by Sherman County in September, 2014 and forwarded to Frontier TeleNet in May, 2015 to construct this site.” Hayden stated, “I appreciate the opportunity to answer questions or address concerns when I can, and I know how important it is for that information to be accurate, so in the future I will make sure that all responses are complete and worthy of publication before hitting ‘send.’ Thank you.”
Sherman County eNews apologizes to Ms. Hayden for posting her initial response to our question without asking for clarification and thanks her for very professional services.
Sheriff Brad Lohrey sent additional information: “I read the question in your e-news and thought I could maybe help answer it as well.” (Is Sherman County paying for a cell telecommunication tower in Cottonwood Canyon State Park?) “The tower is for emergency services. It was part of the conditional use permit process that the State gave Sherman County money for an emergency service tower. When they were opening the park I was concerned about fires, ambulance calls, and calls for service for the sheriff’s office. We have no way to communicate down there. If interested the planning department should have all the records on that. The state gave Sherman County $300,000-ish for the construction of the tower. It was about a year after the park opened so there should be a record of exact amount somewhere. I want to say $375,000, but I’ll give you the conservative number of $300,000 because I do not remember the exact amount. Sherman County gave the money to Frontier TeleNet for the project. It is my understanding that the project should be completed in 2018 before fire Season. The reason it has taken so long to put the tower up is because the John Day River is in a scenic area and with that, comes lots of rules on where you can place a tower. I do not remember anything about Gilliam County putting money into the project…”
2. Public Notice. Sherman County Court Session Location, Dec. 20
NOTICE: The location of the County Court session to be held on December 20th, 2017, has been moved to the Hearings Room in the Sherman County Courthouse Addition; 500 Court St. Moro, OR. 97039.
3. Truth in Labeling
Let’s take some time today to talk about labels (better known as stereotypes) and how they harm us all.
Most of us know what a stereotype is. It is an oversimplified, very general opinion about what something or someone is like. You’ve heard of laborsaving devices? Well, stereotypes are thought-saving devices, because when you accept a stereotype, you don’t have to think for yourself at all. Your idea comes to you frozen, pre-packaged, ready to use – false or true, it doesn’t matter. All you have to do is thaw it out and slip it into your brain – nothing further is required.
However, do you realize how dangerous it is to have someone else do your thinking for you? The Nazis fed people stereotyped ideas of Jews and Gypsies to justify slaughtering them. Racists will tell you about what others of different race are like. Sexists will tell you what others, not like them, are like. Political parties rely on listeners to believe every word they say about the other party. See the pattern?
It is all about controlling what we see and hear, creating fear, and at its very foundation is a lust for power, as well as control. Over-simplification and over-generalization rob you of your power and others of their uniqueness. And “they” don’t take it from you. You give it away when you sign on to using the labels.
If you want to grow as a fully-fledged human being, you must become your own authority. Take the time to look beneath the surface, and beware of labels. A label by any other name is a one-size-fits-all stereotype. People, however, come in all sizes and styles, all colors and models. We want to celebrate our differences and not fear them. We are all more alike than we are different.
So, resist stereotypes wherever you find them. Try to meet someone who is not exactly like you… and see that they are humans, too. ~The Pacific Institut
4. Presentation & Exhibit: Chinese Puzzles & The Dalles Chinatown, January 12
Columbia Gorge Discovery Center presents “Chinese Puzzles,” with Marilyn Urness, Friday, January 12, 2018. Dinner begins at 6:00 p.m. and the presentation starts at 7:00 p.m. at Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, 5000 Discovery Drive, in The Dalles. Ticket prices for the dinner and presentation are $19. The presentation only is just $5. Make reservations by January 10. For more information, phone (541) 296-8600 x 201, or visit www.gorgediscovery.org.
The Discovery Center says goodbye at the end of January to our exhibit: “A Community Forgotten: Uncovering the Story of The Dalles Chinatown.” You are encouraged to view this important piece of local history before the exhibit is gone. Our thanks to Eric Gleason, Jacqui Cheung, Chris Bolton and Marilyn Urness for their dedication in bringing the lives of The Dalles Chinatown into the spotlight.
5. History Tidbits: Sherman County Trivia Question #6
Q. The John Day Dam, 219 ft high and 5,640 ft long, on the Columbia River between OR and WA was built between 1959 and 1968 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 216 miles upstream from the mouth. Two lakes bordering Sherman County were formed by Columbia River dams. What are they called?
A. See History Tidbits: Sherman County Trivia Answer in the Links section.
6. Congressman Walden: Statement on Tax relief for Middle-class Oregonians
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) today released the following statement on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which will help bring tax relief to middle-class families in Oregon and grow America’s economy:
“This plan will bring much-needed tax relief for hardworking, middle-class families in Oregon and allow them to keep more of what they have earned. That has been my goal and focus from the beginning,” said Walden. “I have been working closely with my colleagues to improve the bill based on feedback I have heard from Oregonians, and I am encouraged to see the changes incorporated into this final plan.
“By expanding the ability for Oregon taxpayers to deduct up to $10,000 in combined state income and property taxes, the final plan helps bring further relief to people who currently itemize their taxes. I also worked hard with my colleagues to preserve tax-exempt private activity bonds, which are incredibly important for economic development, affordable housing, and veterans housing projects across Oregon. We have made progress for our students, Oregonians with high medical expenses, Oregon craft brewers and winemakers, and large employers in our state as well.
“These improvements build on the strong foundation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in the House. By nearly doubling the standard deduction, expanding the child tax credit, lowering tax rates across the board, and finally giving American companies a competitive corporate rate, this pro-growth plan makes our tax code work better for middle-class Oregonians and people across the country. I look forward to working alongside my colleagues to get our plan across the finish line and to the President’s desk.”
Walden has been working alongside House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady and leaders in both the House and Senate to incorporate changes into the final agreement. Importantly, the bill released today includes specific provisions particularly important for Oregonians including:
- State and Local Tax Deductions: Oregonians who itemize their taxes will be able to deduct a combined $10,000 in state property and income taxes
- Private Activity Bonds: Preserves the tax-exempt private activity bonds used to support economic development and affordable housing projects in Oregon.
- Student Loan Interest: Preserves the tax deduction for interest paid on federal student loans
- Medical Expense Deduction: Preserves the ability for Oregonians who itemize to deduct qualified medical expenses
- Craft Beverage Modernization: Reduces excise taxes on small craft brewers and winemakers in Oregon
- Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT): Repeals the corporate alternative minimum tax, which is important for large employers in Oregon like Nike
According to data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and reports from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will positively impact Oregon by:
Benefits for Oregon’s Second District
Doubled Standard Deduction: 224,588 (68%) taxpayers in the 2nd District take the standard deduction under current law. By doubling the standard deduction, these taxpayers will see an immediate tax break under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Increased Child Tax Credit: 50,193 taxpayers in the 2nd District claim the child tax credit. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubles the child tax credit from $1,000 per child to $2,000.
Tax Relief for Small Businesses: 50,650 taxpayers in the 2nd District have small business income (a business that the taxpayer operated). The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduces taxes for small business owners by providing a 20 percent tax deduction on the first $315,000 of income.
Simpler Taxes: 104,189 taxpayers in the 2nd District itemize their taxes. As a result of the near doubling of the standard deduction and other simplifications, many taxpayers will have much simpler returns. It is estimated that 9 out of 10 Americans will be able to file their taxes on a postcard.
For more information on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, please click here. https://walden.house.gov/sites/walden.house.gov/files/Tax%20Cuts%20and%20Jobs%20Act%20Conference%20Committee%20Report.pdf
7. Four New Oregon Tax Programs in 2018
SALEM, Ore.–The Oregon Department of Revenue is reminding Oregon businesses and employers, out-of-state businesses with employees or customers in Oregon, and vehicle and bicycle buyers to make sure they’re ready for four new taxes starting in 2018.
The 2017 Legislature created four tax programs to help fund a statewide transportation package: the bicycle excise tax, the vehicle privilege tax, the vehicle use tax, and the statewide transit tax.
“We’re communicating directly with affected sellers about new taxes relating to some bicycles and vehicles, which begin January 1, 2018,” said Eric Smith, Business Division administrator for the department. “There will be more outreach to employers about the new statewide transit tax as we approach its start date of July 1, 2018,” he said.
Bicycle excise tax
Oregon’s bicycle excise tax is a flat tax of $15 paid by the consumer at the point of sale. To be taxed, a bike must meet all of the following criteria:
* Be a new bicycle.
* Have two or more wheels that are 26 inches or larger.
* Be exclusively human powered and designed for use on the ground.
* Have a retail purchase price of $200 or more.
Sellers must provide an invoice, receipt, or other proof-of-sale document that has a separate line showing the amount of tax paid by the consumer. They must also report and remit the taxes collected from sales of taxable bicycles to Revenue at the end of each calendar quarter. The first return, covering sales from January through March, will be due by April 30, 2018. Consumers who don’t pay the tax at the time of purchase must report the purchase and pay the tax directly to the Department of Revenue by the 20th of the month following the month of purchase.
Vehicle privilege tax
Oregon’s vehicle privilege tax applies to dealers selling new vehicles in Oregon. The tax is on the privilege of selling and equals one-half of one percent (.005) of the retail sales price of the new vehicle. Sales of new vehicles, which must not have been previously registered in Oregon, include:
* Vehicles with 7,500 miles or fewer and a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,000 lbs. or less.
* Recreational vehicles and motorcycles.
* Lease sales of new vehicles.
Dealers must report and pay the tax based on their sales at the end of each calendar quarter. The first return, covering sales from January through March, will be due by April 30, 2018. Although a lawsuit has been filed in relation to distribution of the vehicle privilege tax, it doesn’t change a dealer’s responsibility to report and pay the privilege tax on their sales beginning January 1, 2018.
Vehicle use tax
Oregon’s vehicle use tax applies to vehicles purchased outside of Oregon by Oregon residents or for use in Oregon. It applies to any vehicle which, if purchased in Oregon, would qualify for the vehicle privilege tax. The tax may be paid by the out-of-state dealer or the consumer, and it equals one-half of one percent (.005) of the retail sales price of the taxable vehicle.
Only some out-of-state dealers will be required to collect and remit the use tax. Others will choose to do so. If a dealer doesn’t collect the tax from the consumer at the point of sale, the consumer must report and pay it directly to Revenue. Upon payment, the consumer will receive a certificate showing they paid the tax, which the DMV will need to register or title the vehicle in Oregon. The deadline for reporting and paying is the 20th day of the month following the month of purchase. Dealers who collect the tax must report and remit it at the end of each calendar quarter. Their first returns, covering sales from January through March, will be due by April 30, 2018.
Statewide transit tax
The statewide transit tax takes effect on July 1, 2018. It will be one-tenth of one percent (.001) of the wages of Oregon residents–regardless of where they’re working–and non-residents who work in Oregon. Payers of annuities and other periodic payments under ORS 316.189 also must withhold one-tenth of one percent (.001) of these payments. Employers who fail to deduct, withhold, and remit the tax to the department will be subject to standard penalties. In addition, employers who knowingly fail to deduct and withhold the tax are subject to an additional penalty of $250 per employee, up to $25,000. Oregon residents working for certain out-of-state employers must self-report and pay the tax when they file their personal income tax return, if their employer chooses not to withhold it.
All new taxes
More information about the transportation-related taxes can be found at www.oregon.gov/dor.
Affected sellers and employers can register, report taxes, and make payments through the department’s new web application, Revenue Online. They can visit www.oregon.gov/dor for more information and to sign up for a Revenue Online account.
Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do
History Tidbits: Sherman County Trivia Answer: Lake Umatilla above the John Day Dam, Lake Celilo below.