Greg Walden, Sal Esquivel, and Sal's little tax problem

Paulie Brading

Congressman Greg Walden may want to rethink his recent endorsement of Medford's incumbent Republican State Rep. Sal Esquivel who is looking for a 4th term. In today's Medford Mail Tribune

It turns out Walden endorsed a sitting State Rep. who has failed to pay property taxes since 2007 on some investment property. Esquivel, attempting to defend his actions told the reporter. "It's a business decision." Esquivel owes $13,000 in back taxes. If he doesn't pay up by June 15th he'll owe $18,000 with interest or go into foreclosure.

Esquivel sent an email to his supporters a few weeks back slamming his opponent Lynn Howe for bringing to our attention that Sal Esquivel proposed a 5% sales tax (HB 3269) In her mailer she mentioned taxing food. The mailer was in error regarding the taxation of food. Mr. Esquivel's House Bill excluded food.

Following on the heels of the Howe mailer Esquivel wrote in a heated email to his supporters, "Working for Oregonians is all about ethics, all about honesty, all about standing by your principles. Once you side step your principles you lose the very essence of your soul and you are of little use to anyone at that point in time."

The Republican Promote Oregon Leadership PAC sent out a mailer with the line "Sal Esquivel doesn't have to lie to get your vote. Vote for jobs and no new taxes."

So much for truthiness.

Esquivel sponsored a 5% sales tax (HB3269) supported a 5 cent beer tax (HB 3241) and in May of 2009 he voted for a gas tax (HB2001). Esquivel voted yes on the increase of a 6 cent gas tax increase, higher vehicle registration fees, higher weight mile taxes for trucks and increased title fees. Southern Oregon's R- Dennis Richardson voted no. Southern Oregon's R - Jason Atkinson voted no.

I can't help wondering if Congressman Walden has any regrets after sending a glossy mailer endorsing Sal Esquivel?

  • (Show?)

    The "business decision" is when to pay the taxes. Esquivel is paying property taxes on investment properties later rather than sooner, which violates no law, and is paying substantial interest to do that. This was brought up some months back. The trouble with Esquivel is that he isn't very "politic" about things he says.

    Lynn Howe's mailer "was in error" to the degree of getting a Pants On Fire liar rating from (As I'm sure you know.)

    The bill that did not include a sales tax on food was not a tax increase measure; it was a tax reform measure co-sponsored with several other representative, and never got out of committee. It also include large reduction in income tax and certain exclusions on property taxes (ie, homeowner exemption to protect seniors).

    The property tax delayed payments may be the blow that sinks Esquivel because people will not understand it. I don't back away one iota from my contention that Lynn Howe's campaign is the filthiest I have ever seen in Southern Oregon and I'm sorry if she wins that way.

    • (Show?)


      Esquivel will eventually get around to maybe paying his property taxes...? And he's on the cusp of foreclosure..?

      That's kind of a big deal, frankly. That IS a legal issue.

      • (Show?)

        It is also an ethical and leadership issue. If everyone didn't bother to pay their taxes for three years we would have an economy closer to Greece than America. For a state representative to do it is really pathetic.

        • (Show?)

          Actually, the continuing rise of the public sector vs. the private is what is drawing Oregon's economy closer to Greece. But that's another discussion.

      • (Show?)

        Investment properties -- not his personal house. He pays the taxes due, with interest, as he sells the properties. It is completely legal. It's a financial -- as he says, a business -- decision. And with the interest the county is losing nothing.

        • (Show?)

          Foreclosure is a legal issue, fyi. If he owns the property/business--then it's his legal problem.

          Seriously, this is just outright ridiculous on Esquivel's part. A "business decision" to not pay taxes does hurt the County if they're strapped NOW. I suspect Jackson Co is just as tight on budget as every other.

          • (Show?)

            The County isn't strapped now. Esquivel's actions are not even on the marginal side of legal. They're completely legal and he's paying a high interest rate for the privilege of delaying payment.

            • (Show?)

              Even if the county isn't strapped (and just about every Oregon county I'd like to see the evidence that this one isn't). And if Esquivel is facing foreclosure, then he's facing punishment for not paying his bills, basically.

              You can couch it any way you like, but it's still a legal issue--and it goes to ethics and leadership.

              • (Show?)

                Here's just one story on Jackson County's budget. Beyond that, do your own homework. I know it seems amazing that a county with such high unemployment can run in the black. Everyone credits the County Administrator for very deft handling of finance and expenditures.


                Sal Esquivel is not "facing foreclosure." He pays property taxes on his home annually and on investment properties over the three years allowed -- as legally permissible -- with interest due.

                What is a "legal issue?" Is insinuation all you have? Is that what you run on?

                The "problem" with Sal Esquivel is that he is a mean-and-potatoes working class sort of guy who has an unfortunate tendency to answer questions directly.

    • (Show?)

      Apparently Sally you didn't receive all the untruthful mailers sent by the Esquivel campaign and Tea Bag organizations. I have a table covered with them. His long ranting emails reveal the real Esquivel. He writes: "The ONLY candidate in the race for State Representative District 6 who has supported a sales tax is my opponent." Howe is against a sales tax - she knows Oregonians don't want it and our families just can't afford it.

      If you were to lay the candidates mailers side by side, then toss in the toxic emails there is only one candidate who is running a campaign from the dark side.

      • (Show?)

        When you acknowledge Ms. Howe's "Pants on Fire" rating, I will regard what you say with any credibility whatsoever.

        I'm a native Oregonian. Lynn Howe (unfortunately) moved her four years ago. I don't need her to tell me how Oregonians feel about sales taxes.

        I repeat: the Lynn Howe campaign is the filthiest I have ever seen in Southern Oregon, where I was born, raised and have spent most of my life.

        • (Show?)

          We all know Sally is the one who lit the match when she contacted PolitiFact. Enuf said.

          • (Show?)

            I'm very very proud of that. When I saw that scare tactic of frightening all kinds of people -- who don't read newspapers or visit websites -- with a picture of a mother and child in a grocery store with their shopping list, screaming "Sal Esquivel wants to tax these!" I was outraged. In researching the issue and the bill I ran across Politifact and sent them an e-mail. I also contacted the Mail Tribune and the Secretary of State's office.

            It is not a partisan issue to me; it is a decency issue. As I told the Oregonian, I found it almost evil that someone would deliberately scare people .... with a (calculated) lie.

  • (Show?)

    Ethics? Honesty? Principles? How about the principles of being honest and ethical and paying your taxes on time? I don't care what the property is used for, and I might feel different if he was at least attempting payments. The fact is if he is in danger of foreclosure, he hasn't paid for 3 years and he is essentially using the county as his bank. Plus it takes tax dollars to administer delinquent tax acccounts. I don't expect elected officials to be perfect. I do expect them to model the behavior we should all try to follow. Hey, Sal. How about walking the walk? Or is this another example of "the rules are for everyone else but me"?

    • (Show?)

      The relentless attacking of Howe over a side issue on a mailer is just ludicrious.

      • (Show?)

        Her mailer campaign has amounted to nothing more than attacks on Esquivel. I don't even know that she was a nurse, frankly. I'm not sure what an "occupational nurse administrator" is or does.

        Someone wants a rubber-stamp Democrat in the seat. A neighbor of mine knows (and liked) Lynn Howe, but she declined to respond to his calls or e-mail asking her why she was doing this. I won't say he lost some respect for her; he lost it all.

  • (Show?)

    I grow weary of long time politicians who make the laws and utilize them for thier tax advantages. It is somewhat like putting the fox in the hen house. Does he face this head on, no he goes on TV and says "my home taxes are all paid up." Like we are idiots who are going to buy that as a diversion from what the real point is. He hasn't paid is other property taxes. Legal or not, interest paid or not! Interest is in place as a PENALTY for not complying - but Esquival uses it like a credit line. WRONG!

  • (Show?)

    By the way, Oregon needs his $15,000 right now! We have been in Esquivals hands for years and we are seeing a record shortfall. Now Sal, not later, now!

connect with blueoregon