Ongoing Boondoggle

A series of questions about Eugene urban renewal

The Eugene City Council, Lane County Commission, Lane Community College and 4J are all on board with diverting your tax dollars to benefit private property and businesses in the Downtown Urban Renewal District (DTURD) — even though you paid those taxes assuming you were funding education, public safety, libraries, parks and other essential services. On June 13, City Council voted 5-3 to extend the DTURD. Continue reading 

Shifting the Costs

City uses popular public services for leverage

What might Bernie Sanders have to say about Eugene’s $2.7 million a year property tax increase for the public library? Well, it’s definitely “socialism,” which is defined as a redistribution of wealth. But, it’s the opposite of Bernie’s brand of socialism because it enables the redistribution of wealth up to the top of the economic ladder, instead of in the direction of average working people. Continue reading 

Stealth Fees, Hacked Services

Financial excesses abound in city budget

Just eight months ago, the campaign for the failed city service fee focused on the non-essential spending that the city could curtail before increasing taxes or fees on residents and businesses or cutting essential services. But the city, enabled by the Financial Investigative Team (FIT, mostly connected insiders), has taken all the strategies that resonated with voters off the table. The 2015 Options for Budget Reductions are almost identical to the city’s original ballot proposal: recycled service cuts and a new fee. Neither is necessary. Continue reading 

Bailing Out City Hall

The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer and Eugene City Hall is exacerbating this inequity with two separate money grabs.  Oregon Center for Public Policy’s research shows that in Oregon the lowest income households pay the highest share of their incomes to state and local taxes, and highest income households pay the lowest share. More than half of Eugene’s 65,631 households earn less than $50,000 annually, with 21,128 earning below $25,000.  Continue reading