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Tom Mallams: Focus on raising revenue, not taxes

by Tom Mallams, Herald and News letter Apr 22, 2016

I do not consider being a county commissioner a job, I consider it a privilege to serve the citizens of Klamath County.

When I ran for this position in 2012, I openly committed to be willing to serve two terms and the citizens have encouraged me to do so. My ongoing record proves that I have the passion, courage, integrity and commitment to work tirelessly for the citizens of Klamath County. Consistently, during my first term, I have done exactly what I promised to do. This is not exactly the norm in the world of politics.

I have developed a very positive working relationship in Salem and in Washington, D.C., across party lines. These relationships have benefited getting legislation passed in Salem and in Washington, D.C., that have contributed to helping Klamath County.

My strategy is to not raise taxes, but instead, raise revenues, both short and long term. There have been numerous efforts to pass tax measures to fund public safety and all have failed.

Many of the citizens of Klamath County are on fixed incomes or are otherwise struggling to make ends meet. We have to be willing to set a good example and prioritize our spending while still living within our means. Using road funds to fund sheriff patrols is very short-sighted.

One of my first direct efforts began in 2013 with the focused work on the passage of State HB 2140, the Intermediate Investment Pool Legislation. Once again, with Sen. Doug Whitsett and Rep. Gail Whitsett s leadership, working across party lines, we were able to get this Bill passed in both the House and Senate along with the signature of the governor.

Klamath County has had in excess of $40 million in investments that have been only receiving an embarrassing, one-half of 1 percent interest revenue, because of state restrictions. This bill, directed the State Treasurer to implement the Intermediate Investment Pool, which some initial estimates put the additional annual interest revenue to Klamath County, somewhere between $1-$2 million. This additional annual increase in revenues to Klamath County would certainly assist in closing the funding gap.

The good news is that soon this legislation should be in effect and Klamath County will be receiving a much needed increase to our interest revenue. This equates to additional funding without increasing taxes.

Another example of my continuous effort was helping gain needed amendments and passage in the House, of HR 2647, 2015 Timber Resiliency Bill. Among other things, this bill would drastically speed up harvesting of burned timber as well as limiting environmental protests of timber sales. This bill is still in the Senate and hopefully will continue moving forward.

Again, my relationship with our congressional leaders is a key element in this continuous effort.

Since taking office in 2013, there have been numerous positive changes in county government, but there is still more to be accomplished.

With the continued improved relationships between the city of Klamath Falls and Klamath County, the opportunity still exists for consolidating some of our common services. This includes, but is not limited to consolidation of Planning and Building departments which would create consistent standards and eliminate duplicated services, in turn saving citizen costs and precious tax dollars.

Klamath County has to stay involved in the water issues as long as it can be done in a legal manner. The citizens of the Klamath Basin, Congress and I as a county commissioner, continue to say no to Klamath dam removal.

Any water settlement, to be viable, requires major water storage components, affordable power, certainty of water deliveries and protection from the Endangered Species Act and the Biological Opinion. So far the settlement agreements to date have failed to deliver what is required.

The critical need for a balanced water settlement is undeniable. The economic future of the entire Klamath Basin is at stake.

I will continue to stand up for the rights of Klamath County citizens. I am the only candidate in this race that has the courage, integrity, commitment and qualifications to effectively fulfill the office of Klamath County Commissioner, Position 1.

Please view my web site, vote2016tom.com or my Facebook page for more detailed information.


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