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Letters. Dec. 20

Support Cultural Trust

Oregonians love our great outdoors, a good beer and our beautiful state. We also value our famous quality of life. The Oregon Cultural Trust is a unique way to support what makes Oregon so special.

As unique as public beaches and the bottle bill, the Oregon Cultural Trust was established in 2001 to support art, heritage, history and humanities. The trust lets Oregonians double the impact of their donations to cultural nonprofits at no additional cost.

Here’s how it works: Donate to one or more of Oregon’s more than 1,400 cultural nonprofits, then make a matching gift to the Cultural Trust by Dec. 31. You get 100 percent of the Cultural Trust donation back when you file your state taxes — by claiming the cultural tax credit — and the state Legislature invests that same amount in Oregon culture.

That’s right, the state of Oregon funds our music, our libraries, our museums and our monuments, but only when you demonstrate how important they are to you.

In 2017 gifts to the Cultural Trust totaled close to $5 million. Working with statewide and regional partners, the trust redistributed more than $3 million of that amount in 2018 grants and funding. The rest goes into a permanent endowment.

This year, in Jackson County alone, more than $167,000 in grants went Anima Mundi Productions, the Ashland New Plays Festival, Ballet Folklorico Ritmo Alegre, the Butte Creek Mill Foundation, Oregon Shakespeare Festival Association, Rogue Valley Symphony Association, Southern Oregon University Foundation and Jackson County Cultural Coalition.

All you need to do is total the donations you are already giving to cultural organizations you support, write a check in a matching amount (up to $1,000 for joint filers) to the Cultural Trust and claim your cultural tax credit on your state taxes. We are trusting you won’t keep this important secret to yourself! Visit culturaltrust.org to learn more.

George Kramer, Cultural Trust board member

Ashland

Suspect but accurate

I just received in the mail one of those “Your Medicare Benefits are at Risk ...” fliers. After doing some research, I found out that these folks aren’t necessarily our friends; however, their take on the damage Trump’s plan will do is probably accurate.

Alliance for Patient Access is, essentially, an “astro-turf” “human rights” organization that regularly lobbies in the interests of Big Pharma. In this specific case, however, at this specific juncture, they may be more on the public’s side than not.

Trump is selling lower drug costs to the public on the backs of those less fortunate who are in need of specialty drugs; they, evidently, qualify for a lump of coal this Christmas. We the people are better than this! I suggest that you call Sen. Ron Wyden to nix this plan.

Having said this, however, we need to be cautious about any cause that simply promotes itself as being “against all things Trump” (the flier says “Stop the Trump Medicare Plan”). Remember, as his star falls, there are groups and politicians out there willing to deceive us with inauthentic alternatives.

For real change, ask Senator Wyden to support Senate Bill 1804, the Sanders Medicare for All Act. https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1804.

Andy Seles

Ashland

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