By Tony Van Vliet of Corvallis, Oregon. Tony was a Republican member of the Oregon House of Representatives from 1975 to 1995. He was a foresty professor at Oregon State for 35 years. He was a charter member of the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation, served on the state Environmental Quality Commission, as the board chair of Oregon Public Broadcasting and the Corvallis Riverfront Commission, and on the Oregon Board of Higher Education. Learn more about Tony Van Vliet.
A guy stopped me on the street yesterday and said in a hushed voice, "Buddy, have I got a deal for you. How would you like to have your taxes frozen for next forty years?"
"Really, you mean you can freeze property taxes, gasoline increases, food increases and medical costs?"
He responded, "Well, maybe not gasoline increases, I have another deal with them!"
"How can you do all that?", I said.
"Well, watch the Oregon Legislature this Friday, I promised Phil that deal -- and the fix is in!"
"You mean, they are going to freeze any tax increases on the big corporations for up to 40 years? How can you do that?"
As his voice lowered, "Shhhh.... you remember those UO students yelling about unfair wages and working conditions in the shoe factories in China? We stomped on them like they were grapes! And you remember the basketball pavilion, I got him to promise to pay 200 million so he could move it up -- then we got these legislators to issue state bonds instead -- the old switcheroo!"
"Golly, you are good!"
"Well, I don't want to brag, but we've got so many of these folks to sign 'no new tax' pledges, that along with this deal, they will never see real tax reform for 40 years. I love these old-fashion super-rich capitalists; they have more chutzpah than Donald Trump -- they can buy anything and anyone!"
"But won't education, health care, the poor, and small business be hurt?"
"You got to be kidding! Pish posh, this guy could buy the whole state general fund for two years, maybe he will buy a University for 10 billion and help the state out -- but then, he may even pull his company out if they don't do what he wants. I even got one of the bonuses on this deal" he shyly admitted.
"But, what do you really get out of all this ........... [long pause]"
"Well. after I get you ninety-eight percent folks -- I will have the soul of Oregon. I haven't got a whole state yet but we are not doing bad in the South -- Wisconsin and Michigan are doing nicely too! Oh! by the way if you want this no-tax deal, here's my lobbying card -- the name is Beelzebub"!