Buckley speaks at Rotary meeting

Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, joined the Rotary Club of Ashland-Lithia Springs this morning to discuss most recent term in the state legislature as well as local, state and national issues.

Buckley, who just finished his second session with the state legislature, was asked by those in attendance how he "worked" the system. Buckley explained that he took a clear look at the system, took some time to understand the process and to work with other members to get hearings for his sponsored bills. Buckley also reiterated some of the issues Sen. Alan Bates, D-Ashland, discussed with the group the week before, including state revenue and the proposed sales tax.

"We have two approaches to increasing revenue," Buckley said. "Increase the cigarette tax and raise the minimum corporate tax. The other option is figuring out how to restructure the entire system."

The cigarette tax would cost smokers an additional 75 cents per pack. The revenue would add funding for children's health care in the state. Buckley said that raising the minimum corporate tax, currently at $10, would also raise revenue for the state. The restructuring Buckley and other Democrats in the legislature are discussing would mean introducing a sales tax in Oregon, a proposal that Bates also introduced to the Rotary members.

"The state would come up with almost a billion more in revenue," Buckley said, "Alan is talking about this as well. We need to first get through the psychological barrier of it."

Buckley said that the sales tax could not only increase state revenue but also make the system more fair.

"We need to at least entertain the idea," Buckley said.

Buckley also encouraged everyone to read the narrative on Measure 49, the proposed modification of Measure 37, which he supports.

"I think 49 is it," Buckley said. "37 had huge holes and concerns, 49 addresses those holes and concerns."

Buckley discussed local issues after his presentation, coming out in support of the levy for the library and against the proposed recall of three local city council members.

"I fully supports the levy," Buckley said, "Ashland has to take care of its own system. This levy gives us two years. In that time, I hope the county will be able to get its own funding in order."

Buckley said that the proposed recall of Hardesty, Hartzell and Navickas probably "isn't necessary."

"It would probably be best to voice an opinion in the next election," Buckley said.

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