Immigrants DO pay taxes and more on local politics

• It’s an oft-repeated accusation, a drum beaten by the Trumpians, that undocumented immigrants don’t pay taxes and are a drain on the U.S economy. The reverse is true. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy’s most recent report released March 1, “Undocumented immigrants contribute significantly to state and local taxes, collectively paying an estimated $11.74 billion a year.” The study shows that between 50 and 75 percent of undocumented immigrants currently pay personal income taxes using either an individual tax identification number or a false social security number. The researchers point out that “granting legal status to all undocumented immigrants in the United States as part of a comprehensive immigration reform and allowing them to work legally would increase their state and local tax contributions by an estimated $2.18 billion a year.”

Half as many reporters are working in American media now as we had only 15 years ago. That’s a fact UO Journalism instructor Todd Milbourn delivered to the City Club of Eugene April 17 in the program on “Editing Your News Feeds: Facts, Alternative Facts, Propaganda and Just Plain BS.” We understand that good reporting is expensive, so that’s what goes first in a revenue squeeze. But journalism schools and the media, understandably, never tell us the profit margin still enjoyed by owners, who were collecting as much as 25 percent, even 30 percent, profit a few years ago. Newspapers were cash cows. Maybe the profit margin is still high enough that responsible ownership could continue funding solid reporting and content?

• Twenty-seven residents of Lane County Commissioner Faye Stewart’s east Lane County district have applied for the seat he’s vacating on the board. Applications to fill George Poling’s recently vacated northeast Eugene City Council seat opened April 11. Let’s hope the city position, which pays $14,528 to the County Commission’s $84,000 plus benefits, is also met with enthusiasm.

• It’s amazing that more than 300 supporters of books and kids lunched at Valley River Inn on April 6 to raise money for the Imagination Library of Eugene, a project started nationally by Dolly Parton to give every child a book a month from birth to age  five. Since Imagination Library of Eugene launched in 2014, it has served more than 4,000 kids at a current cost of $186,000. This year’s board needs to raise about $95,000. Doug Barber and David Marcus are co-chairs. While this project sprouts out of the Eugene Public Library, we learned with dismay that all libraries in Douglas County will shut down for lack of operating funds. Where are the voters there who care about books and kids?

• Kudos to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and to playwright Lynn Nottage for winning the Pulitzer Prize for drama this week for her play Sweat, which explores the social problems created by industrial decline. A co-commission by OSF and by Arena Theatre in D.C., the play made its world premiere at the Shakespeare festival’s Angus Bowmer Theatre in Ashland in 2015 before opening at Broadway’s Studio 54 last month. The award is Nottage’s second; she won the Pulitzer for drama in 2009 for her play Ruined, which was later produced at OSF in 2010.

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