May 31, 2001 11:00 pm

Anti-tax proponent Bill Sizemore is proposing that Oregonians support a 5 percent sales tax. Come on now. What has he been inhaling?

Sizemore, who proclaims himself to be the voice of the people, is showing his true colors.

For more than three decades, Oregonians have strongly opposed a sales tax, something that can make this maverick state proud.

Sizemores latest effort to foul up Oregons tax system would eliminate the residential property tax, thus giving even more power to the 90 men and women who make up the Legislature. Is that what voters really want to do? We dont think so.

Voters were duped when they voted for Measure 5 and every local government, including school districts, lost much of their ability to control their finances locally.

Prior to 1990s Measure 5, school districts and city and county governments would deal locally with local taxpayer frustrations. Now both taxpayers and local government must make a trek to Salem every two years to haggle about finances. Sizemores scheme would funnel even more of our tax dollars through Salem, which means there wont be much local left in local government.

Oregonians pay their property taxes through monthly mortgage payments or by writing a check one to three times a year to the county tax collector. Under Sizemores proposed measure, when you buy a big-ticket item like an auto, truck, sofa or refrigerator, youll have to pay right away. Think about paying $1,000 in taxes on that new $20,000 vehicle.

Sizemore has never been a friend of the average Oregon taxpayer. Hes tried to persuade citizens to think theyll get a better deal by supporting his weird tax measures. But in every short cut, we end up paying for it in the long run.

Oregon has been unique as a maverick state, with maverick leadership. Sizemore wants to make us like Washington and California. If he likes the way those states operate, then why doesnt he move north or south?

Help restore artwork

The pride of La Grande during the 1993 celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Oregon Trail was a beautiful art display that was put in place at George S. Birnie Park on Gekeler Lake.

The art columns, depicting the thousands of emigrants passing along the trail, need restoration. Birnie Park also could use some weeding, trash pickup and replanting of the circle garden.

Got a hankering to help? Show up Saturday between 8 and 11 a.m. with work gloves and yard tools. The Oregon Trail is a distinctive part of La Grandes heritage. We can bring back the distinctiveness of the parks display by rolling up our sleeves and lending a hand Saturday.