Tax Increases, Affordable Housing, What About Jobs?

by lewwaters

Ho Bo 2We all realize there is a homeless population in our community. A population that for any number of reasons, seems to have grown over the last couple years. Along with that growth comes the problem of how do we deal with them.

Once was the time they were referred to as bums, ho bo’s, vagrants, derelicts, tramps and such and communities did their best to usher them away. A kinder term from years ago was a drifter. From what I have read it seemed to peak during the years of the Great Depression, but has been around for all time.

But times have changed and now they are seen as “homeless,” people simply down on their luck, pushed out of jobs by greedy corporations, landlords or just the economic times as we continue struggling to climb out of the Great Recession that started about 9 years ago.

Truth be known, the reasons are as varied as are the people. Some really are merely down on their luck due to the economy. Others are addicted to drugs or alcohol while still others are mentally ill. Some just choose to live such a lifestyle, unencumbered by the daily responsibilities of contributing to society.

This presents us with a very complex issue on who to help and just how as it is obvious a ‘one size fits all’ cannot possibly address all of the varied issues contributing to the problem.

Enter the Vancouver, Wa. City Council and their notion of raising property taxes on middle class homeowners in order to “make a dent in the community’s growing problem with housing instability and homelessness” by constructing “affordable housing” downtown.

A lofty and compassionate goal, but what about those homeowners, some that are struggling to make ends meet, care for their own families and avoid becoming homeless themselves?

Is it really fair to just expect them to keep paying more and more as they are faced with other taxes and fees increasing, the possibility of coming under the nation’s first ever carbon tax scheme, higher gasoline taxes and license fees to build and repair infrastructure, even the potential of a mileage tax as well?

We’re told this tax increase would only be “50 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value for up to 10 years.”

Left out of it is that is on top or in addition to all of the rest of the tax and fee increases coming at us. Gasoline, utilities, sales tax, the ongoing push to impose an income tax and more and each claims pretty close to the same, “it’s only X amount for this.”

Yes, but add them all together and it adds up quickly.

Ironic in all of this is this City Council is largely opposed to the proposed Tesoro Oil Terminal at the Port of Vancouver, even though it holds a promise of job creation that many of our homeless population could benefit from by returning to the workforce.

Vancouver Energy USA states,

Vancouver Energy will generate $2 billion in economic value to the local and regional economy of the City of Vancouver, Clark County and surrounding counties through labor income and tax revenues, as well as income and profits created as a result of the oil terminal’s direct, indirect and induced impacts.

Vancouver Energy will produce $1.6 billion in labor income during its construction and assumed first 15 years of terminal operation. It will also make a more than $22 million payment in state and local taxes during construction and generate more than $7.8 million in tax revenue annually that will go to state and local governments for public facilities and services.

Clark County and surrounding counties will benefit with approximately 320 full-time jobs during the construction of Vancouver Energy. Plus, 176 direct on-site jobs and 440 direct off-site operations jobs will be created to operate the facility.

More than 1,000 jobs will be supported by Vancouver Energy each year once the terminal is fully operational.

The claim has been made that those jobs would be going to existing personnel brought up from Texas and Oklahoma. While managers of the terminal already trained very well may be relocated, the bulk would go to local workers as it costs too much to relocate many workers.

And it also must be remembered, this is not a drilling or refining operation proposed, but storage and transfer facility to carry crude drilled in the Midwest up and down to west coast to existing refineries.

Some seem to fear the oil could be exported to other countries. While that is not slated at this time, would it be a bad thing if it were? Who would we rather foreign countries buy crude oil from, Middle Eastern Countries that support terrorists like ISIS and fund their warfare?

Or the good old United States of America that will use to funds to provide more jobs to our people, funnel revenues into social programs to help the needy and yes, some would go to pay to defend our way of life.

All of that would seem some of the current homeless population become employed, earn paychecks and contribute revenue into the system to help others, not just receive it.

The expansion of jobs outside of the terminal to provide newly employed people with tools, clothing, food, homes, cars, entertainment and more would also be of benefit to other homeless people wanting to work.

Our ancestors built this country into a superpower by working. They did not want handouts but wanted to earn their pay.

For those still wanting to work, we need these jobs to get them back in the workforce and get the country moving again.

I invite you to review many past articles this blog has written on how the energy sector could be a major contributor to our economic recovery and freedom at Energy Post Archives.

All that is standing in the way is bleeding heart politicians that would rather increase taxes on struggling middle class families than see viable family wage jobs created.

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6 Comments to “Tax Increases, Affordable Housing, What About Jobs?”

  1. Excellent column Lew, As I was reading this morning’s Columbian most of the front page was taken by proposed new taxes, carbon taxes and property taxes, Manufacturing is the life blood of any economy. I believe that I could make a pretty good argument that corporations or smaller businesses that hire workers should not pay any income taxes. Manufacturing is suffering from union demands and political mandates. Even now there is a bi-partison effort in the Washington legislature to penalize Boeing for moving production out of Washington. Why does Boeing move jobs to South Carolina? Do those not understand that Boeing is fighting for it’s life with China and Canada now producing airplanes in competition along with Airbus? We need to bring manufacturing back to this country. This brings me to your description of greedy corporations. While I would certainly agree that the financial sector needs severe criticism I do not find so with the industrial sector. I want Caterpillar, Boeing and all the other great companies to succeed and keep those jobs here. The decline of manufacturing will increase if we cannot stay competitive on the world stage. Instead of slapping a carbon tax on manufacturing he would be better off scattering rose petals at the front gate of Boeing and thanking God that they can still stay in business.

    I think I could make a pretty good argument in favor of a VAT tax. I suspect, but without any numbers, that 50 % of the citizenry is not paying any taxes or not what they really should be paying. Self employed working on a cash basis among others come to mind. With a VAT tax program and do away with the IRS everyone would be required to pay their fair share.

  2. I’m not too sure on the VAT tax, would have to think about it some.

    But the bottom line to help homelessness is jobs. Big corporation or small business, it’s private sector jobs that we need and manufacturing is one we need really bad.

    Just look around your house and see how many items we buy are manufactured overseas. Many companies just cannot afford to manufacture in our country any longer due to taxes, regulations, fees and even union demands. And without the private sector replenishing revenues into the treasury, it too will see decreases.

  3. It’s important to understand that it is “production” that creates wealth. (Unfortunately, the numbers used to measure our economy are based on consumption (e.g. GNP) which is highly misleading.) The proposed energy terminal adds value to the product (crude oil) through transportation (by taking it to where it is needed). Government produces nothing. It takes resources away from private industry and individuals and spends them on perceived “needs” regardless of any objective measures. The “progressives” prefer that there be no improvement in the economy, and wish to impoverish the tax payers with ever more taxes to fund ever more government waste and income redistribution schemes (that always absorbs 25% of the money in handling through the bureaucracy). (And waste it will be, because government NEVER spends money wisely or efficiently.) If it’s allowed, the “progressives” will ultimately achieve income equality, just as it has been accomplished in North Korea, Venezuela, and Cuba — by impoverishing all of us. (Except for the political elite, because they’re special and are never counted when considering income inequality.)

  4. We need to allow the old room and board establishments to exist again. Most of the homeless receive government aid and they could spend it on a clean room and basic meals. These places existed for years. Now we give the homeless money that is used on drugs or alcohol and some want us to spend more money on them.

  5. Good morning Lew, I see you’ve noted my opinion that Tesoro will bring up most of it’s workers from Oklahoma and Texas and dismiss it. That’s an incorrect assessment Lew. They use their own people to do start-ups, and they are from Oklahoma and Texas. You may think it is “cheaper” for them to hire locally, but that would be incorrect. Their expense of course is housing for moving these workers here, but you cannot buy work experience which they have in spades versus locals. The idea that this would reduce homelessness at any significance is not true. Tesoro isn’t here to have a social program to rid Vancouver of homeless people, at most it would be a very, very small number of people hired.

  6. Steve, I noted some managerial could be brought up and likely will, at least for a bit.

    But as I said, other employees are just too expensive to be moved and would be drawn from local workers. Office workers, maintenance crews, longshoreman would likely be involved in some degree since crude is to be loaded onto ships. And too, the expansion outside of the terminal to service even those few that might be brought up from elsewhere would be local.

    I also know that Tesoro isn’t running a social program, but is Granor? Was TriMet?

    No, the terminal is not the whole answer, but it is a start and one that will see a lot of revenue to the city, county and state and even more from BNSF as those trains Sharon Wylie said just pass through leaving no revenue would be stopping and we would receive benefit.

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