Washington County and Hillsboro to Oregonians: "We Don't Care What You Think"

Chuck Sheketoff

Tonight there's a public hearing on the proposed Strategic Investment Program tax break for Intel. The problem is, of course, that the Washington County Commission and Hillsboro City Council are holding a public hearing on a topic that they've already decided. Spending public resources to solicit public comment when a decision has already been reached is government waste, pure and simple. And when the decision centers on giving away an unnecessary tax break, it adds insult to injury.

While the hearing will undoubtedly open with the claim that the Washington County Commission and Hillsboro City Council want to hear opinions on the proposed Strategic Investment Program deal, they really don't. Commission Chair Tom Brian and Hillsboro Mayor Tom Hughes made clear in today's Oregonian (PDF) that they've made up their minds and plan to vote to approve the deal right after the public hearing.

If you have any doubt whether the Commission and Council have already made up their minds, according to the Oregonian they've already scheduled a news conference with Intel and Governor Ted Kulongoski after the hearing to "tout" the approved tax break (PDF).

And some folks wonder why there's so little trust in government...

  • Trey (unverified)

    Chuck, Thanks for your continuing coverage on this critical issue. I certainly agree with your thesis -- Actions like these simply undergird and reinforce public cynicism toward government. As you've aptly pointed out, tonight's meeting will be nothing more than a facade!

  • Gil LeFabre (unverified)

    What's ridiculous is that Tom Brian is claiming that "fair share" should be based on taxes per square foot or per employee. Does that mean I pay less than my fair share of income taxes because I'm tall?

    Per linear foot of human, I pay less. Feh.

    Fair share should be based on income, profit, etc.
    Sadly, I think his PR move is shrewd and will work with the TV nation.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)

    Reminds me of the recent Oregonian article interviewing John Miner, departing president of Intel Capital, Intel's strategic investment arm. He stressed the importance of local schools getting the investment needed to furnish companies such as Intel the highly educated workforce they require. Tellinglly, he noted that particular locations of operation make no difference to the corporation, although it was in response to a question about the effect of the main office of Intel Capital moving out of state when he leaves. I also note that the new SIP agreement allocates none of the fees paid to the county and city to local schools.

  • Liz Trojan (unverified)

    Intel doesn't need educated Oregonians. They bring their highly educated work force in on H1-B visas from India and China. (posted by an unemployed hi-tech worker)

  • Marcello (unverified)

    Intel expects to create an average of 100 new jobs a year during the 15 years of the new agreement. Based on that number, I am estimating that each of these jobs will cost us around $100,000 in tax incentives. I can see why this is beneficial to Intel and its employees, but what's in it for the city, the county and the taxpayers?

  • Gregor (unverified)
    <h2>The City will support the indsutry but the revenue from these "new" employees goes to the cities in which they live, which may not be Hillsboro.</h2>

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