Lawmakers should pay tax
On Thursday, Feb. 17, the MailTribune published an editorial headlined “Oregon lawmakers deserve a pay raise.” The editorial supported a raise to make legislators’ salaries equal to the average wage of Oregonians.
There was no mention of the special tax break that legislators get with their current salaries. Those salaries and expense allowances are exempt from Oregon income tax.
If legislators get a salary equal to the average Oregonian, then perhaps they should also pay taxes on those salaries in the same way that other Oregon residents do.
Landmark tree is no more
A magnificent landmark tree along Highway 99 north of Ashland is no more. The Human Bean coffee company built around the tree years ago and sometimes pruned it but now took it out completely.
People living nearby were in shock as a tree-removal company spent four six-hour days sawing at it. The tree was likely a sapling when native people traversed the valley and later was probably easily spotted by passing stagecoaches. Now owners of the Human Bean left only a stump five feet in diameter. Why?
A spokesperson cited a split in the trunk and fear of branches falling. I walked by this tree every day for years and saw no split, no damage, no signs of disease. I sometimes picked up a fallen branch with two fingers. The person then claimed the tree “had run its course.” Apparently considered unimportant were this healthy tree’s shade in hot weather, its pollution absorption, its sequestering of groundwater, its blocking of highway noise. Now not even the stump remains. On day five, a company used an auger to turn it into sawdust.