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June 04, 2006


If you're so lost that you think surplus tax money belongs to the politians to spend developing your precious strawberry fields into shopping centers and homes, then you ARE ready to move back to Kaleefornia. We'll send ya some Oregon strawberries.

Gary, what are you talking about? First, it isn't surplus tax money. The "kicker" comes about because of a faulty projection by the state economist.

It's as if you or I had to project how much money we'd make next year. Under the kicker theory, if we thought we'd make $50,000, and actually made $100,000, we couldn't keep the extra $50,000. We'd have to give it back to whoever paid us.

The federal government, or any other state, doesn't follow this absurd tax policy. Income/profits is taxed at a certain rate. If you make more, you pay more. If you make less, you pay less.

Then, it isn't "the politicians" who are developing shopping centers and homes. It is private property owners. Government protects farmland through Oregon's pioneering and much-praised land use system.

Government wants to keep my local strawberries on the table; greedy developers would just as soon plow them under and build condos for Californians to move into.

Yup, the ban on self-serve gas is plain stupid. If some gas station owners want to offer this as an option, and some customers want to buy it this way, why should the government deny them the freedom to do so?

Instead, all customers have to waste time waiting for some kid to finish putting out his cigarette (if you are lucky), and finish flirting with his girlfriend, all for the priviledge of having him come over and ding the side of your car with the nozzle, and dribble gas down the side. If this is your idea of "service", fine, but give me the same option to avoid it, as hundreds of million of motorists worldwide enjoy.

Fortunately, I have a farm, and so qualify for cardlock. But that even more shows how stupid the law is. Self-serve is an option for farmers, business people, diesel owners, and motorcyclists. Why should individual passenger car owners be discriminated against.

As for the orginal topic, sadly, the decline of the Oregon strawberry crop is an unfortunate consequence of Oregon's high minimum wage. Strawberries are a very labor-intensive crop, and in spite of excellent growing conditions, growers just can't compete with lower-cost states like California.

The minimum wage could be 1/2 of what it is and the Strawberry fields would still decline. The fact is that the price that the canneries, those that still buy from Oregon, pay for strawberries is about the same now as it was 20 years ago. Why should companies, such as Smuckers, buy good Oregon berries when they can get them from South of the boarder so much cheaper.

But rest assured, the Oregon strawberry will never diasapear. We are just switching from selling to canneries for processing to selling directly to the consumer. My family used to have 5 acres in strawberries which were sold to Smuckers. Before Smuckers decided to buy out of country berries and shut down their Oregon Processing Plants. (I will never buy Smuckers Jam again!) Now we have 1+ acres of strawberries and sell those berries exclusively at the farm stand/saturday market/ and U-pick. Strawberries will never disapear, they will just become a local product.

About taxes, try adding all taxes together before you say if we are a high tax state or not. We have property taxes, and income taxes. Don't forget gas taxes, cigarette taxes, alcohol taxes, car registrations, telephone taxes, etc, etc, etc.
Then there's all the fees. An example would be the 1% accessment that I have to pay the Oregon Strawberry commission every year. I can lose money selling strawberries and still have to give them 1% of the gross. Then there's all the business permits and fees - which I have to pay hundreds each year just to farm.

Here's an idea. I can grow more produce for a cheaper cost if the government would just stop taxing, feeing, and permitting me to death.

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