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The Observer Paper 11/26/14

The LaGrande Observer is now online in a Replica E-edition form and publishes Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Current subscribers have full access to the E-edition.

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The loss of Measure 30, the temporary state income tax hike, is not a knockout punch to local schools, health care and public safety. It's a hard body blow that we can overcome if we react quickly and generously.

Oregon voters have spoken that this is not the time to send more money to Salem. Some of us may not trust how government uses our money, and whether that's right or wrong, most of us know that we truly need to invest, and invest generously, in schools, health care and public safety. And we need to keep the local safety net intact with generous contributions to such charitable organizations as United Way, the Salvation Army, the Center for Human Development, the Blue Mountain Humane Association, the church and more.

The election is over. Now is not a time for more pro- or anti-tax potshots, or polarizing diatribes. Now is a time for reasonable people, whatever side of the issue you come down on, to plan a program of charitable giving. Or if you have one already, and most of you do, to enhance that program.

Face it. Most of us are pretty flush now, and our schools and social services really need our help. We have President George W. Bush's tax cut sitting in our pockets; according to Citizens for Tax Justice, for families and individuals making less than $73,000 a year the tax cuts this year will average about $350. Add to that the money that won't be going to the state due to Measure 30's failure. For most of us in the middle-income range, that amounts to about $70 a year.

Add it up. About $420 a year extra is sitting in most of our wallets and purses.

The generous and good-hearted people of Union and Wallowa counties are thinking about community needs, about having compassion for those less fortunate than ourselves. This is a compassion that promotes human dignity.

Giving locally pays dividends. The money stays here, bettering the community. The money is going to people you know and trust will stretch the charitable dollar as far as possible.

Adult role models might think of this charitable drive as part of children's character education. Mom and Dad's charity today will give the kids a hero to emulate when they are adults and times are tough.

Giving a lump sum is great. But for many of us, giving a small amount each month works better for budgeting. Most charities can set you up in a program of giving that works within your budget.

Now, as more homeless people hit the streets and more people lacking the Oregon Health Plan go without medication, as school programs are facing cuts, the time is right to put our full energies into this worthy challenge. If enough people answer the challenge, giving money right here to worthy Northeast Oregon institutions, we will withstand the punch and be as strong as ever.


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