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Get the taxes due

Published August 13, 2004

Sunday's reporting of my filing with the Klamath County Clerk to qualify an initiative giving voters a chance to deny tax preference for the Chicago Peoples Energy Bonanza Cob energy project implied that my motive was to "block the Cob."

I have no personal interest in stopping the Cob power plant. The state seems about to say the developers can build it, and if they do, without bilking county taxpayers, so be it.

But, I do have an interest in seeing that county taxpayers have the final say in whether tax forbearance or other incentives are granted to promote this project.

There are three blocks of sentiment opposed. The earliest objectors are the residents in the immediate area who feel they will be negatively impacted. The second and overlapping group are those people who felt betrayed by the corrupting of the state legislative and administrative processes that disregarded land use codes and water law and waived established criteria of benefit to qualify for economic development incentives. The third - the largest and most recent objectors - are those of us who feel that the magnitude of the tax forbearance sought is outrageous as inducement for a project that has almost no positives for the people of Klamath County.

My involvement is triggered by this third cause.

I think it is extremely presumptuous of the county commissioners to take upon themselves a decision that amounts to every Klamath County citizen - man, woman and child - giving up $1,000 in badly needed tax revenue so outside developers can come here to our rural Oregon and burn Canadian natural gas to make electricity for California consumers. It offends me that we other taxpayers will be required to make up the difference in infrastructure and impact costs so Chicago people can get rich.

I feel that now, with recent disclosure of the true dollar amount of the tax write-off being considered, there is strong, broad opposition to the unfairness of losing $56 million in tax income for schools and county services. This inequity should make collecting sufficient signatures a snap. I fully expect my phone to keep ringing off the wall with requests from people anxious to circulate this petition.

Ask yourself why these investors deserve a free ride? If you don't have a good answer - Sign the petition when it's available and force it to a vote.

Clif McMillan

1444 Pacific Terrace

Editor's note: This letter was written before the initiative was ruled invalid by Klamath County Clerk Linda Smith because it addressed more than one item. McMillan has appealed the matter to Klamath County Circuit Court.





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