Letters to the editor for August 5, 2013

By Observer Upload August 05, 2013 10:14 am
Letters to the editor for August 5, 2013

Don’t ignore ODF reclassification

To the Editor:

The Oregon Department of Forestry is in the process of reclassifying all land in Oregon. Land in the state will fall into one of three groups: ag land, forestland or exempt (meaning inside a city or subdivision, except those lots on the fringe that abut grazing land, brush land or timberland). Klamath County classification is complete and was sent to the tax collector July 1.

We received our letter from the Oregon Department of Forestry dated Feb. 8, 2013, stating our 0.21-acre improved city lot was classified as forestland and would be taxed $18.75 with an additional surcharge of $47.50 on the next property tax statement. We are both retired. We went over the letter carefully and came to the conclusion, “We don’t own forestland.”

We filed an appeal and a hearing date was set for May 20 before the Klamath County Classification Committee. There were hearings before the county commissioners and many letters to ODF headquarters and to State Rep. Gail Whitsett. Rep. Whitsett sent me a copy of ODF calculated revenue for fiscal year 2013, which showed that income from improved and minimum lots amount to 70 percent of the ODF budget.

If your county has not been reclassified, it soon will be. If readers of The Observer do not read their letters from the ODF and appeal erroneous decisions, they will be stuck with this variable tax forever.

Jim McVay

Klamath Falls

Celebrate Medicare’s birthday by expanding it

To the Editor:

As the nation notes the 48th birthday of Medicare, let’s celebrate by expanding it. The real celebration of this important milestone would be to improve Medicare and extend it, providing access to health care for all.

According to a study by the Commonwealth Fund, “elderly individuals on Medicare were more satisfied than people with private insurance. Only 8 percent rated their Medicare as fair or poor compared to 20 percent for employer-sponsored insurance and 33 percent for individual policies.

Traditional Medicare is more efficient with its 1.4 percent overhead, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as compared to 12 to 25 percent for private insurance. The reduced overhead cost of this single-payer system could be expanded to serve all of us.

While we wait for the federal system to catch up with the rest of the industrialized world, the Oregon Legislature is moving forward with a study to determine the costs of implementing such a system here. We are not alone in our efforts to provide health care for all. Montana has just implemented a program for all of its state workers and retirees. The state of Vermont is also in the process as well. Sen. Bernie Sanders has a 3-minute YouTube presentation that speaks to Medicare for All. 

While we celebrate the fact that Medicare gives our seniors the ability to get medical care with less risk of financial devastation, how much better it would be if we extended Medicare to all? 

David Still