Tough times demand tax cuts, not increases

Hold onto your wallets, Washington.

The ink was barely dry on the tax increase for both individuals and corporations approved by the state of Oregon’s Legislature on Tuesday before Gov. Christine Gregoire was strongly hinting we could expect the same medicine here.

“Oregon voters met the challenge of these difficult times and clearly said that schools, healthcare, public safety and other essential services cannot be forsaken,” she said. “It is gratifying to see that the public understands the importance of preserving services to the most needy and providing education to the next generation — especially now when those efforts are most needed.”

To begin with, anyone who thinks there’s no more waste to be found in either state services or education isn’t looking hard enough, and common sense suggests one should always cut expenses before raising taxes.

But beyond that, the reason the need for services is currently so acute is because unemployment is so high.

And who provides employment? Corporations, that’s who.

So how much sense does it make to slam businesses with higher taxes, which can only restrict their ability to grow and hire more employees?

The Oregon measure of which Gregoire is so enamored also increases taxes on individuals earning in excess of $250,000, and soaking the “rich” is always a political winner.

But rich people don’t keep their money in mattresses. When they’re not handing it over to the government, they buy things and invest in businesses that, in turn, provide employment so that people can support themselves rather than rely on government handouts.

Oregon’s solution — and Gregoire’s preference — can only compound our problems by stifling the very economic growth we should be trying to encourage.

Unless dependence and bigger government is its goal, Wash-ington should be thinking about cutting taxes, not increasing them like its misguided neighbors to the south.