Collect Owed Taxes and Oregon’s Financial Strains Would Be Lessened – Rep. David Gomberg

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Jul 122017
 

Rep. David Gomberg
D-Central Coast

Coast Representative David Gomberg, D-Otis, has implored the State Legislature to get a big return on a little bit more effort out of the state delinquent tax situation. He told a hearing in Salem that hundreds of millions of dollars have not been paid by citizens that still owe the money. This and other stories are part of Rep. Gomberg’s legislative wrap-up to his district….

The Legislative Session Has Ended

Greetings!

Moments ago, the 2017 session of the Oregon Legislature came to a close. The last 160 days have been both extremely difficult and exceedingly important for our state and its future.

I’ve said before that easy questions don’t come to Salem for solutions, and that has been especially true this year. I would like to thank my legislative colleagues, Capitol staff, advocates, and the people of Oregon for their dedication to and support of our democratic process. There have been significant victories, coupled with a few notable items that are yet to be completed.

Top Take-Aways from 2017 Session

Balanced Budget: The only thing the Oregon Legislative Assembly is constitutionally required to do during session is to pass a balanced budget. We have done so again this year.

While it is not the exact budget I would have written, I am proud of the hard work your Ways & Means Committee has done to prioritize our resources for the next two years.

School Funding: I am extremely pleased that we have passed the largest K-12 education budget in Oregon history at $8.2 billion. For the most part, this increase is enough for most school districts to avoid harmful cuts to school days, teacher layoffs, and increasing class sizes. We’re holding the line for now, but the status quo is not nearly good enough to educate our children to compete in the global economy. The bottom line is that any meaningful shift in the level of classroom support will require finding new state resources.

Veteran’s Funding: Last November, Oregonians voted overwhelmingly in support of Measure 96 to increase funding for veteran’s services. I am proud that the overall package of spending measures we passed this session makes good on that commitment, with a total of $34.2 million in state resources.

The veterans’ services budget will double the current support for County Veteran Service Officers and National Service Organizations, which helps connect veterans to the services they need and deserve. It will also fund a veterans’ crisis and suicide prevention hotline and address veterans’ housing and homelessness issues. I am proud to stand behind those who fought for our freedoms.

Watch Rep. Gomberg Tesify to Debt Collection Elements of SB 1067

Cost Containment: Oregon’s economy (at least in the metro areas) is booming, and state revenues are at an all-time high. But while funding is up, so are costs. The reality is that pension obligations made by legislatures in the 1970’s and 1980’s are increasingly affecting our ability to make needed investments in Oregon’s children, infrastructure, seniors, and public safety system. Decisions by the Oregon Supreme Court have locked-in many of those costs.

SB 1067 strives to reduce long-term state spending. It sets a cap on state government at 1% of Oregon’s population (down from the current 1.5% level), requires additional reporting on contract negotiations, state agency position reclassifications, filling long-term vacancies, steps up delinquent debt collection, and eliminates double-coverage for families where both spouses work for public employers and receive OEBB/PEBB health benefits.

Transportation: The bipartisan transportation package, HB 2017, will raise $5.3 billion for statewide transportation infrastructure modernization and improvement over the next 10 years. It addresses five of the priorities heard most consistently around the state: reducing congestion, increasing alternate transportation options, investing in maintenance and preservation, improving safety of existing infrastructure and ensuring accountability in how taxpayer dollars are spent. I am proud to have supported this historic investment to keep Oregon moving.

It is the result of more than a year of work by a 14-member joint House and Senate committee. I am grateful for their hard work, and optimistic about Oregon’s transportation future because of it.

No Tax Reform Yet: I am disappointed that, despite our best efforts, we were not able to make meaningful steps to reform our revenue system to make it more equitable, predictable, and adequate. Our historic heavy reliance on personal income tax means that when times are good, budgets are healthy. But when the economy enters a downturn, we enter a vicious cycle of cuts and disinvestment, despite increased need.

Small businesses are still taxed at a higher rate than large corporations, and we remain in last place nationally for our business tax rates. I don’t think that is fair. It certainly isn’t predictable, and it clearly is not adequate to give every Oregon child a world-class education. I hope we do better next session.

Making a Difference for the Central Coast:

A number of bills I sponsored or co-sponsored passed both houses and will take effect this year.

Improving our Maritime Sector Workforce (SB 867): A new Task Force on Maritime Sector Workforce Development will develop recommendations on how to incorporate our critical maritime sector into the statewide workforce planning to ensure that the best sailors, engineers, fishermen, and marine technologists in the world come from Oregon.

Completing the Oregon Coast Trail (HB 3149): There a currently many segments of hikeable trails on the Oregon coast. The dream is that one day hikers can SAFELY travel from the Columbia River to the California border along as single, unified Oregon Coast Trail. Now the State Parks and Recreation Department together with other interested state agencies, local governments, and nonprofit organizations will work to develop an action plan to complete that dream.

Clarify Dory Boat Trailer Brake Rules (HB 2575): The dory fleet in Pacific City has not historically installed mechanical brakes on their boat trailers (sand, salt water, and metal is a bad combination). This hasn’t been an issue until recently, when a fisherman was cited for not having mechanical brakes on his rig. HB 2575 now exempts dory trailers from the mechanical brake requirement. This should give the dory fleet extra peace of mind and allow them to operate as they have for nearly 150 years.

Protecting the Port of Toledo from Frivolous Lawsuits (HB 2902): Several public ports in Oregon own and operate a shipyard. The Port of Toledo Boatyard serves the maintenance needs of the commercial, charter, recreational, and scientific fleets on the central Oregon coast. When interests outside the country threatened to challenge those good job-producing rights, we passed legislation to insure they will continue.

Recognizing NOAA’s Contribution: We’re proud to have NOAA’s Pacific Fleet based in Newport. We asked the governor to issue a proclamation recognizing the 100th anniversary of their commissioned officer corps. I also carried SB 200 that insures NOAA personnel have the same retirement opportunities in Oregon as other service branches. And I added language to SB 693 to provide NOAA the same treatment for Oregon driver licenses as other service branches.

Helping People Help Animals (HB 3459): When the Pick of the Litter Thrift Store bought their new property, conflicts between state guidelines and state laws meant the non-profit would need to pay property taxes. A late session fix allowed clarification of the statute and more money for animal support.

Beach Bill (HCR 8): We celebrate Oregon Beaches every day. But those beaches were not always open and free to the people of Oregon. Fifty years ago, the iconic Oregon Beach Bill was passed to insure public access in perpetuity. This year, the legislature recognized and celebrated an important anniversary that coincides with a total solar eclipse next month.

Honoring Coastal Veterans (HCR 30): Four Oregon families lost two sons in the Vietnam War. The legislature this year recognized and honored that sacrifice. HCR 30 honored the lives and service of brothers Hospitalman Charles Eugene Johnson and Staff Sergeant Clifford Thomas Johnson of Toledo, both of whom died as a result of injuries sustained in combat.

Coast Guard (SJM 7): The Central Coast fought to keep the Coast Guard Air Station in Newport. But when budget cuts in Washington D.C. appeared to once again put this life-saving facility at risk, the legislature passed a resolution to Congress urging the Coast Guard remain permanently. The 2017 federal Department of Defense budget contains funding to keep the facility operational for at least the next year.

Debt Collection Focus

My primary focus this session has been addressing the ongoing problem of uncollected revenue. In the past ten years, the amount of taxes, fines, fees, and restitution owed the state of Oregon by Oregonians has doubled to over $3.3 billion. I’ve taken the lead in putting a dent in those accounts receivable.

• My General Government budgeting committee spent an unprecedented two weeks grilling the Department of Revenue on management, priorities, and collections. Debt will now enjoy an increased focus and the Department will report back to the committee quarterly.

• HB 1067 will consolidate all debt from 130 agencies into the Department of Revenue where they will apply new tools and more expertise. I added amendments to 1067 to require debt be classified as collectable or not, and create plan for debt reduction. These changes have the potential to garner $70 million in general funds annually.

• I carried SB 159 to streamline the process for garnishments. These changes are expected to collect $6 million annually.

• Each year, $500 million is written off by state agencies. They simply stop pursuing half-a-billion dollars. I authored HB 2459 to insure these write-offs are reviewed and approved according to strict criteria.

• I worked with the Governor to issue new Executive Orders on debt collection.

Small Business Focus

Businesses on the Central Coast and along the Coast Range are small businesses. I’m a small business owner myself and worked hard this session to provide new and focused opportunities. They didn’t generate headlines, but I believe small business had a good session.

• My Committee on Transportation and Economic Development stretched budgets to enhance and expand our network of Small Business Development Centers. SBDC’s are one of our most productive and cost effective tools for creating and supporting small business and job creation.

• During the interim, I co-chaired the Special Committee on Small Business Growth together with Rep. Greg Smith (R-Heppner). That committee brought forward a dozen different proposals that have been passed into law.

• A shortage of Appraisers is a common impediment for anyone trying to buy or sell a property. At the request of the local Association of Realtors, I brought forward HJM 3 designed to encourage changes in rules that restrict entry into the appraiser profession.

• Since its inception five years ago, I have sponsored or co-sponsored legislation to create and expand the Office of Small Business Assistance. HB 3274 continues that effort. I describe OSBA as a 911 center where small business can call for help or to lodge complaints.

• Navigating business taxes can be maddening for businesses that don’t have in-house accountants, lawyers, or human resource departments. State agencies can help – if you can reach them. Under HB 2156, a new phone line dedicated to small business will be created and staffed at the Department of Revenue.

• Each year, small businesses are asked to complete an inventory of taxable personal property. I authored HB 2573 to streamline and simply that process, essentially creating a “short form” for personal property taxes.

• Businesses that work with the state often have to wait far too long for payment. Under HB 3264, we’ve begun a pilot project to speed up payments to smaller vendors.

• Several tax changes were considered this session. But at the close, there have been no changes in small business taxes.

###

I am proud of the work the Oregon Legislative Assembly has done over the past six months. Thank you for putting your trust in me. It is truly the honor and privilege of a lifetime to serve you in Salem.

I’m home now and already have several radio and town hall programs scheduled to further review this six months session. If you have an urgent issue, please feel free to reach out and I’ll do what I can to help. I hope you all enjoy your summer!

Warm regards,

Rep. David Gomberg

The Neighbors are Restless Along Oceanview Drive – Want Slower Speed Limits

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Jul 122017
 

Narrow road, no sidewalks, speed limit 35. Some of the neighbors want speed limit at 25.


Letter to the Editor

I have just returned from another harrowing walk along Oceanview from US 101 to Spring Street otherwise known as the 101 bypass. It has been two-and-a half years since the city raised the speed limit forty percent from 25 to 35 from US 101 to Edenview, a distance of almost a mile.

That first mile has hills and curves. Sight lines are short. When a driver exits 101 onto Oceanview, s/he is exiting a road where the speed limit is forty-five onto one where the speed limit is thirty-five with an immediate curve. This curve is marked with segmented yellow lines which prevail all the way to the wayside indicating it is safe to pass. It is not. From this first curve the road goes up a hill and around another curve to Meritage condos at 33rd. From the top of the hill the road goes straight down to the Agate Beach Wayside where passing is finally prohibited southbound until l7th Street. Northbound vehicles can pass starting just beyond 25th, past the busy wayside up the hill and around the curves to 101. It is possible for a vehicle to pass another northbound vehicle at the wayside resulting in two vehicles going the same way in both lanes at the place where congestion is greatest. Madness.

At the wayside cars are turning into and out of the parking lot and roadside. Adults, kids and dogs are getting in and out of cars. Sandy paws and feet are being cleaned, belongings gathered and kids corralled. People are walking to the beach along the roadside and from the Best Western, where there is now a driveway allowing vehicles onto Oceanview. Many southbound drivers slam on their brakes after barreling down the hill as they approach the congestion. With all that activity going on, the speed limit remains thirty-five. Trucks, passenger vehicles and RVs careen down that hill.

Heading south, another uphill climb. At Edenview, the beginning of a residential area, the speed limit resets to twenty-five. Would that most drivers go only twenty-five when they have just come off thirty-five, often faster.

Continuing south along Oceanview, between 19th and 17th, observe a bent and dented guard rail on the east side and a bank on the west side around an uphill curve. No place to walk. Northbound cars come wheeling around the guard rail often faster than twenty-five while southbound cars do the same around the bank. No sight lines here. Segmented lines indicate passing is allowed. Safe?

After the guard rail curve, houses on both sides of Oceanview. At 14th, an S-curve leading to Spring which has no shoulder for part of the way. Either fall into the bushes on the west side or hug a bank on the east. Segmented yellow lines to Spring indicate passing is safe. Really?

Consider:

*US 101 through Newport has a speed limit of thirty-five. The first mile of Oceanview from 101 to Edenview has a speed limit of thirty-five.

* The road through Newport is five lanes flat and straight. Oceanview is two-lanes with hills and curves.

* Through town there are several traffic lights and pedestrian crosswalks. Oceanview has neither.

* Through town 101 has sidewalks on both sides. Oceanview has none.

I described Oceanview as the 101 bypass. Most of the license plates register Oregon. Traffic strings from north and south lead to the assumption they turn onto Oceanview to avoid lights and crossings to where they can speed with near impunity. Law enforcement is not to blame. They cannot be everywhere all the time. But Officer Hayden caught two speeders within about ten minutes recently. I thanked him.

I have to jump out of the way – truly – about every eight walks. A man and his dog were put into a muddy ditch by a speeding vehicle. People walking dogs downhill to the Agate Beach Wayside want the speed limit lowered. One walker who complained said Mr. Nebel, our city manager, told her ODOT did a study and left it to the city to decide about the speed limit. The city opted to raise it. Over the last two-plus years scores of others have agreed the speed limit must be be lowered. Patrolling police officers have said speed limits are too high. When the speed limit all around was twenty-five, many did not obey it. They didn’t go twenty-five then, and they are not going thirty-five now. They don’t slow southbound when approaching the lower limit and are often already speeding northbound before the speed limit increases to thirty-five.

The speed limit from 101 to Spring should be twenty. There should be solid yellow lines along the entire length of Oceanview. Passing is currently allowed where sight lines are short, and on only a short piece of the middle section is it prohibited.

A sign on 101 at Oceanview describes it as a scenic Oregon bike route. I invite Spencer Nebel, Tim Gross and any other city official to accompany me on a three-mile walk. Those who made these decisions need to walk north and south to understand how hazardous the speed is to those not in vehicles. No villains here, just speeders and officials who don’t understand the danger Oceanview presents for walkers and bikers.

There is a meeting coming up Monday, July 17th, 6pm at Newport City Hall to discuss this matter.

Contact: Spencer Nebel, our city manager: s.nebel@newportoregon.gov or call (541) 574-0601; and Tim Gross, our public works department head: t.gross@newportoregon.gov. or call (541) 574-3369. Send comments to the News-Times. Mail this Viewpoint to each at City Hall,169 SW Coast Highway, Newport 97365 with your notes and name.

If it is necessary to present our city officials with a petition, I and others who want to walk and bike safely will be around with them.

Sincerely,

Joann Ronzio
Newport

For those who have FINALLY made it to Medicare….

 Daily News  Comments Off on For those who have FINALLY made it to Medicare….
Jul 122017
 

Free Medicare class coming up July 26th!


Anyone who is eligible for Medicare within a few months or is new to Medicare; current beneficiaries who would like to better understand Medicare benefits and options and spouses and other relatives of Medicare eligible clients are cordially invited to a free Medicare class to lay it all out for you.

The Medicare class will cover the basics of Medicare parts A, B, C, and D at the Newport Senior Center (aka 60+ Activity Center) at 20 SE 2nd Street, right next to city hall. The class is to be held Wednesday July 26th from 2 to 4pm.

This is an informational opportunity offered at no cost. Totally FREE!! However, you must call and tell them know you’re coming. Call 541-574-2684.

Click here for details

Weather or Not: Steady as She Goes

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Jul 122017
 

Wednesday, July 12th – Lincoln County

Summary: Mostly sunny and breezy yesterday; mainly clear overnight.

Past 24 Hours High/Low/Gust/Rain…
Lincoln City: 65F/53F/27mph/0.00”
Depoe Bay: 61F/46F/24mph/0.00”
Newport: 62F/43F/29mph/0.00”
Waldport: 59F/49F/22mph/0.00”
Yachats: 62F/54F/24mph/0.00”

Newport Airport Conditions…
Ceiling: unlimited
Visibility: 10 miles/Wind: calm/Altimeter: 30.12”

Forecast: Like a sailing ship in the trade winds, Central Coast weather will be steady as she goes for the foreseeable future. Look for possible night/morning fog and low clouds, mostly sunny days, afternoon sea breezes. Highs 60-65F, lows 50-55F.

wxon-twitterBe sure to follow Weather or Not’s Twitter feed to keep current on the latest conditions. You’ll get updated travel info and notification of any new advisories, watches or warnings. Follow @chrisburnswx.

Travel: In the Coast Range this morning, highways are dry, temps 45-50F. Willamette Valley roads are dry, thermometer readings 55-60F. The Columbia River Gorge has dry pavement, temperatures 55-60F. For the Cascades, highways are dry, 45-50F, the free air freezing level is 15,000 feet. * An interactive map of the latest Northwest/Central Oregon travel weather is available here. Also, motorists should always visit ODOT’s TripCheck before hitting the road.

Marine: Winds are NNE 5-10 knots this morning with seas 3 feet at 6 seconds. Little change is expected in the overall weather pattern the next several days with persistent high pressure over the NE Pacific. This will maintain a northerly breeze with periods of gusty afternoon/evening winds, particularly over Central Coast waters. However, winds look to remain below 20 knots through the end of the week. Some doubt is creeping in about whether winds will reach Small Craft Advisory criteria this weekend or not. Seas remain below 10 feet through the forecast, but may be choppy at times. * Full text of the latest marine forecast is available here. And, make sure you check the latest Bar Reports before venturing offshore.

On the Beach… Mostly sunny, breezy, surf 2-3 feet (low).
* For a safe and enjoyable time on the Central Coast, the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department offers these Beach Safety Tips.
* Tides
07/12 Wed 9:10 AM -0.83 L
07/12 Wed 3:57 PM 7.05 H
07/12 Wed 9:19 PM 2.69 L
07/13 Thu 3:11 AM 7.46 H

In Short: Some night and morning clouds possible, afternoon and evening clearing.

Annual Makai/Ona Beach Garage Sale!

 Daily News  Comments Off on Annual Makai/Ona Beach Garage Sale!
Jul 122017
 

Makai Garage Sale
Take Estate Drive off 101 north of Ona Beach State Park

Annual Makai Community Garage Sale!

Saturday July 15 from 9am to 3pm

The Makai neighborhood is 8 miles south of Newport just before Ona Beach State Park. Take Estate Drive on the east side of Hwy 101 and head up the hill.

Click here for info

Seeking donations to save a critical multi-species fish habitat up the Siletz River

 Daily News  Comments Off on Seeking donations to save a critical multi-species fish habitat up the Siletz River
Jul 112017
 

North Creek
(Siletz River System)
Call for donations to restore this critical fish habitat restoration project.

North Creek Campaign from Native Fish Society

With your help we can increase the health and abundance of wild salmon, steelhead, trout and Lamprey on Oregon’s central coast.

The Native Fish Society, and our partners, have created a crowd source funding project for the North Creek Campaign. Our goal is to raise $10,000 over the next 6 months with over 100 project supporters. Your support will not only help pay for this project’s actual construction costs, it will also provide a voice of pubic engagement to agencies deciding on increasingly competitive large federal grants needed to restore North Creek.

Click here for details

Building off decades of advocacy, the Native Fish Society and our Siletz River Steward, Matt Lund, need your support to address the root cause of fish decline within North Creek. Thirteen miles of the best fish habitat in this free flowing, hatchery-free watershed are blocked by a failing culvert. With your help we will replace the failing culvert with a bridge and allow wild fish to once again have free reign in this old-growth watershed.

To donate, call 971-237-6544 or click here.

Click here for details

Woman takes a fall from a rock at Seal Rock State Park

 Daily News  Comments Off on Woman takes a fall from a rock at Seal Rock State Park
Jul 112017
 

10:30am
Report of a woman falling four feet while traversing rocks at the south end of Seal Rock State Park. Rescue personnel will have to hike in and then head a quarter mile south to get to the victim. Doesn’t sound like life-threatening.

Click here for details

Weather or Not: Ad Infinitum

 Daily News  Comments Off on Weather or Not: Ad Infinitum
Jul 112017
 

Tuesday, July 11th – Lincoln County

Summary: Mostly sunny and breezy yesterday; mainly clear overnight.

Past 24 Hours High/Low/Gust/Rain…
Lincoln City: 66F/53F/29mph/0.00”
Depoe Bay: 62F/46F/27mph/0.00”
Newport: 63F/43F/26mph/0.00”
Waldport: 61F/47F/21mph/0.00”
Yachats: 64F/48F/23mph/0.00”

Newport Airport Conditions…
Ceiling: unlimited
Visibility: 10 miles/Wind: NNE 3 mph/Altimeter: 30.16”

Forecast: Patchy morning fog and low clouds, sunny afternoons, partly cloudy nights, gusty sea breezes, ad infinitum. Highs 60-65F, lows 50-55F.

wxon-twitterBe sure to follow Weather or Not’s Twitter feed to keep current on the latest conditions. You’ll get updated travel info and notification of any new advisories, watches or warnings. Follow @chrisburnswx.

Travel: In the Coast Range this morning, highways are dry, temps 45-50F. Willamette Valley roads are dry, thermometer readings 55-60F. The Columbia River Gorge has dry pavement, temperatures 55-60F. For the Cascades, highways are dry, 40-45F, the free air freezing level is 14,000 feet. * An interactive map of the latest Northwest/Central Oregon travel weather is available here. Also, motorists should always visit ODOT’s TripCheck before hitting the road.

Marine: Winds are NNE 5-10 knots this morning with seas 4 feet at 8 seconds. A Small Craft Advisory for winds gusting 25 knots is in effect from 1:00pm through this evening. Surface high pressure over the NE Pacific will continue for the foreseeable future and maintain the current northerly wind pattern over coastal waters. Low-end Small Craft Advisory winds are likely in the Central Coast waters this afternoon and evening, then remain below advisory thresholds through Friday, returning to advisory levels this weekend. Seas stay below 10 feet through the period, though they may be rather choppy at times as longer period swells are rather small. * Full text of the latest marine forecast is available here. And, make sure you check the latest Bar Reports before venturing offshore.

On the Beach… Mostly sunny, breezy, surf 2-3 feet (low).
* For a safe and enjoyable time on the Central Coast, the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department offers these Beach Safety Tips.
* Tides
07/11 Tue 08:35 AM -0.99 L
07/11 Tue 3:20 PM 6.98 H
07/11 Tue 8:36 PM 2.80 L
07/12 Wed 02:31 AM 7.81 H

In Short: Night/morning low clouds/patchy fog, afternoon/evening clearing, gusty sea breezes.