November 20, 2001 11:00 pm

Oregonians can do the economy of their state a favor by spending the state income tax surplus refund kicker checks they are getting in the mail.

The statewide economy has been in a slump as of late. Unemployment has been growing, and retail business receipts have been dropping. Restaurants have reported declining business, and the tourism industry has been turning flat.

While spending kicker checks locally and in Oregons economy is not a cure-all for these problems, the additional spending will help.

Northeast Oregon residents should consider spending their kicker checks on Christmas gifts. But they should not forget about contributing some of their refund to local charities.

Since Sept. 11, Oregon relief organizations and charities have reported a large drop in annual pledges and memberships. Why not consider contributing a portion of your check to the Union County United Way, the local American Red Cross chapter or The Salvation Army?

Spending kicker checks now can have a positive effect on Oregons economy. Oregonians are receiving $254 million in refunds from now until early December. The average kicker check will be $157. Economists say spending the $254 million could generate one-half to $1 billion in new spending during the holidays.

So treat yourselves and others by going to a restaurant, shopping for gifts at a local store or contributing part of your kicker to a local church or charity. Youll not only be treating yourself, but youll be helping Oregons economy get back on its feet, pointing the way toward more prosperous times in the coming year.


Our friends in Baker City are soiling the upcoming Christmas season by spinning their wheels on a needless recall election of a city councilor.

Ballots in the election that would recall councilor Gary Dielman will be distributed Nov. 30 and must be returned by Dec. 18.

Although recall supporter John DeShiro has some concerns about Dielmans punctuality at a council meeting (Dielman waited outside the council chambers for about 25 minutes delaying the start of the May meeting), DeShiros major concern seems to be Dielmans opposition to the prayers that precede the council meetings.

Dielman is uncomfortable with the prayers, and has voiced his concern. The other councilors do not see it that way, and the prayers continue. The discussion is a good one, and the community should be able to provide its input on the appropriateness of prayer at a council meeting. But opposition to prayer is a matter of opinion; it should not constitute a reason for recall. The recall vote will put a damper on what otherwise should be a joyful holiday season for Baker City residents.