Monday, February 29, 2016

Tax Increases, Affordable Housing, What About Jobs?

We 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 blogger 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.


Unknown said...

Lew, I don't know which country is going to hell in a hand basket first, mine or yours. But they are both going in that direction.

LewWaters said...

Sad but true, my friend.

Just look at our leading presidential candidates down here.

Doesn't matter which one wins, we're screwed.