My opponent was chief sponsor of HB 4146-C in the Oregon legislature- demonstrating unbridled “Track Town” cronyism. That bill proposed an increase in the statewide tax imposed on transient lodging — hotels and motels — in order to generate funds for specific upcoming track and field athletic tourism events at the U of O’s Hayward Field. In short, Nathanson proposes to use statewide tax dollars for Nike corporate cronies. Nobody doubts that athletic tourism provides economic benefits in Lane County; however, the beneficiaries of those economic benefits — including Nike — certainly have the means and should be expected to raise whatever capital is needed to host those events without commanding cronyist corporate welfare from our state tax coffers. Nor should a tax imposed on the entire state be allocated solely to a Eugene-based event. While Track Town cronies will directly benefit from the proposed tax, students who struggle to afford the ever-escalating tuition at the U of O will see nothing more from this bill than an increase in hotel costs for their visiting parents.
Here’s the bottom line: tax dollars are precious and should only be extracted when the benefits of a significant public purpose outweigh the burden imposed by the tax itself. In this case, the purpose is cronyism — which does not justify any tax collection at all. Ask any struggling U of O student which is a better public policy: giving tax money to the U of O to fund more athletic events or providing a greater tuition subsidy to the U of O in order to lower the overall cost of education?
Not only was Nancy Nathanson a sponsor for this bill; she was the CHIEF SPONSOR. This political action demonstrates Track Town Nancy’s true core values: she may rail against corporate welfare and cronyism in public, but she is one of its chief sponsors in Salem. She may claim to support fair taxation, but she is the chief sponsor of a ridiculously “unfair” tax bill in this proposal — few if any of the people paying the tax levied in this bill will have any hope of reaping any benefit therefrom. Instead, the taxed businesses are nothing more than voiceless serfs creating pots of money for their government masters so that those masters may buy their preferred corporate influence with the money they have extracted from those voiceless serfs.
Track Town Nancy may also claim to support education, but this bill demonstrates that she is one of the chief destructionist forces for true educational opportunity in Salem. Every dollar allocated to the U of O that is used to fund non-academic endeavors competes directly with every other dollar that could otherwise be used to fund academic endeavors — including tuition subsidies. In this bill, the chief sponsor demonstrates her willingness to divert millions of tax dollars to fund athletic events at the U of O; those dollars will necessarily reduce Salem’s willingness to fund other non-athletic (academic) endeavors at the U of O if for no other reason than that the U of O cannot justify a disproportionate share of state revenue without consequences.