Klamath County was dealt a serious economic blow on June 5th, as SkyWest stopped service to the newly renamed Crater Lake - Klamath Regional Airport (aka Klamath Falls Airport). Now the only way to fly into Klamath County is via a private charter or through the Rogue Valley Airport and then catch a shuttle/rent-a-car to Klamath. Without direct commercial air service to Klamath County, it makes doing business in and with Klamath businesses much more difficult. Another way to state this is to say many companies won't do business with Klamath County enterprises because there is no longer any direct commercial air service.
The Crater Lake - Klamath Regional Airport is owned and operated by the City of Klamath Falls. However, the county government derives benefits such as the tourism tax on hotel stays, as well as other taxes gleaned through increased commerce in the county. That said, the county does not current contribute any operational funding or services to the airport.
Since commerce and connectivity to the outside world is vital to Klamath County’s economy and livability, we think that should change. A special tax levy of just $0.08/$1,000 could help raise funds to lure another commercial airline to service Klamath Falls (and the surrounding county). With this new funding in place we can be assured that a new airline won't just come or go based on how the economy is doing. Instead direct air service to Klamath County would be stable, predictable and consistent, once and for all.
America has changed over the past 60 years. For the most part, gone are the days of the traditional two-parent family, where one parent stayed at home to manage household affairs and the other earned a living. Today’s modern world allows for the freedom of single-parent families without shame.
But with this modern family arises a new dilemma — what do to with the children while the parent goes to work? Fortunately the government has provided a solution — but only half a solution. Currently the county government provides family financial assistance for food through WIC (Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program) and through other welfare programs. But what about those parents who wish to work?
This is where our county government could step up to the plate and do some real good in our community by providing County Daycare Centers. Since our county is so larger, there should be a County Daycare Center in every municipality so all parents have easy access. In addition, these County Daycare Centers should be housed in new county buildings, because we can’t afford for our children to stay in older, possibly mold- or asbestos-infected buildings. Plus the new construction of each of these daycare centers would mean more jobs to our local economy. Each County Daycare Center would be fully staffed with state-certified professionals, so our children would only receive the best care and learning experience possible.
Museums are known around the world as not just a place to learn about history, but as a place to sit down and think, to reflect on those who came before and a place to relax in peace and quiet. Museums are where ideas from previous generations are talked about and where a community gets in touch with itself. Matter of fact the hallmark of a thriving community is that good museums are in its midst.
Therefore because of all the benefits museums bring to a community we can be thankful that we have a special taxing district for our county museum system. At $0.05/$1,000 the county provides us several fantastic museums in Klamath County.
To make the county museum experience accessible to all, the county museums system usually charges slightly below the market rate for admission. Most school children get in for free, and discount tours are often available to groups. Again, the idea is for no one to be excluded from the cultural and educational benefits of museums — especially the poor and under privileged.
Libraries are known around the world as not just a place to find a good book, but as a place to sit down and catch up with a friend, for small business owners to meet with customers and a great place to cool off or heat up while relaxing in peace and quiet. Libraries are for students to do homework and for business people to work while on the road in between appointments. Libraries are where new ideas are talked about and where a community truly comes together. Matter of fact the hallmark of a thriving community is that good libraries are in its midst.
Therefore because of all the benefits libraries bring to a community we can be thankful that we have a special taxing district for our county library system. At $0.49/$1,000 the county provides us two fantastic libraries in Klamath Falls and then nine more satellite libraries in Bly, Bonanza, Chemult, Chiloquin, Gilchrist, Keno, Malin, Merrill and Sprague River.
To make the county library experience accessible to all, library books are free for anyone to borrow. Some specialty items and electronic versions may carry a small fee. Again, the idea is for no one to be excluded from the cultural and educational benefits of libraries — especially the poor and under privileged. There is a special children's section and use of computers with full access to any internet content is also free.
Coffee shops are known around the world as not just a place to grab a good cup of a Joe, but as a place to sit down and catch up with a friend, for small business owners to strike deals with new customers and a great place to chill while listening to some eclectic music. Coffee shops are for students to do homework and for business people to work while on the road in between appointments. Coffee shops are where new ideas are talked about and where a community truly comes together. Matter of fact the hallmark of a thriving community is that good coffee shops are in its midst.
Therefore because of all the benefits coffee shops bring to a community what if one day the County Commissioners, City Council and other community leaders decided to put forth a ballot measure for a new coffee shop taxing district? For only $0.49/$1,000 the county could provide three fantastic coffee shops in Klamath Falls (maybe one that was even open 24-hours a day) and then six more satellite coffee shops in Malin, Merrill, Keno, Bonanza, Chiloquin and Gilchrist.
To make the coffee shop experience accessible to all, a basic cup of coffee (and refills) would be free. All specialty coffee drinks would only be $1.00, and food items would top out at $2.50. Again, the idea is for no one to be excluded from the cultural and educational benefits of coffee shops — especially the poor and under privileged. Children (26 years old and under) would be allowed to have food for free, and instead of free coffee could get a nice cup of hot cocoa (with parental approval of course).
Wednesday morning at Klamath Community College a group of about 30 government officials and state-wide bureaucrats gathered to congratulate each other for signing a non-binding agreement to launch the Klamath IDEA project. Klamath IDEA stands for Inspire Development – Energize Acceleration. According the Klamath County Chamber of Commerce’s website, the big idea (pun intended) is to
“...focus local, regional, and statewide resources on the creation of a business incubator and accelerator in Klamath County. The IDEA will promote, support, consult, and provide business and marketing advice to local entrepreneurs in the development of start-up and business expansion opportunities in Klamath County.”
Political signs, like Spring tulips, are dotting the basin floor. One of those signs is “Yes - Klamath Museums”. Ballot Measure 18-95 will add a mere $0.05/$1,000 of assessed value to your property taxes. For that tax you get a Klamath County Museum, Fort Klamath and the Baldwin Hotel. In addition, you get free admission to the museum for school children and other children's programs.
Sounds like a bargain right? Actually, it is socialism in full bloom.
A few/minority of people who have a vested interest in keeping these enterprises open are asking for everyone else to pay for their wish. Let me ask, how many times in the last three years were you at any of these venues? If none, then you should ask for a refund.
We've written about this before, but it is good to be reminded about principles that make the world work, so that we aren't easily swayed by good story tellers and fairy tales. Recently the Herald and News’ editor published a piece titled “Building The Local Economy From Within. Following is the money quote:
Lead by facilitator Gary Weldon, the group included city and county officials, chamber of commerce members, people from Klamath County Economic Development Association and the South Central Oregon Economic Development District, tourism representatives, and officials from Oregon Tech, KCC, Sky Lakes Medical Center, banks and utilities.
Now carefully look at that list and tell me how many government / government funded / government regulated entities are listed versus how many private sector businesses/industries. Hmmm. This is like trying to solve a physics problem and inviting all the English and History professors into a room to figure out the answer. In both scenarios we've got the wrong people in the room. Why? Because the groups listed in the Herald and News story don't offer their products or services in the competitive world. Being competitive, aka profitable, need not apply. For the most part all of these entities are all monopolies. Yet this is the brain trust called together to solve our economic problems? Woe to us.
Just a quick note. First Merry Christmas. This is the time of year to reflect on that what really matters, and merry times are often too far and few in our lives. This is also the same message you can find the anti-politician Dennis LInthicum proclaiming. It's a breath of fresh air to know Dennis, in the middle of a heated race for U.S. Representative, goes against the politically correct mantra of “happy holidays” and wishes us all a Merry Christmas.
Second, our “conservative” congressman in DC, Greg Walden, seems to think his relationship with the Washington elite is more important than our principles here in rural Oregon. Wednesday he proudly announced he was voting for the budget deal — a bi-partisan effort — that increases spending now, promising to slow spending later. Dennis was on Lars Larson's show Thursday. They talked about this like Lars telling his wife he was going to purchase a $2,000 rifle on borrowed money and then would make up the difference in 5-10 years by not drinking so many Dutch Bros. coffees. That analogy is probably closer to the truth than we know!
What is frustrating is Representative Walden's insistence that he is working hard for us and that he is a conservative. This vote should show you that nothing is further from the truth. Think about it for a moment, how do you know Walden is a conservative? Where did you hear that? Is it because you looked up his record and see that? No, of course not. If you did that you'd know he fails on all four major conservative watchdog lists. Club For Growth calls Greg Walden a true RINO and Madison Project places him on their Wall of Shame.
Today the Herald and News reported that the Klamath Community College Bond measure failed 55% - 44%. This is good news for all Klamath County businesses. However the fight is not over. There are other bond measures looming in the not too distant future: City Parks, Airport and Public Safety to name a few.
It is not that I am against any of these things. What I am against is the fact year after year public employees get raises, irregardless to the economic circumstances around them. For the most part they have total job security and health and retirement benefits that an entrepreneur can only dream about. This model is unsustainable. When the government continually asks for more money, it is because their budgets are gobbled up more and more by payroll and benefits rather than on the programs they promise to deliver.
If you think I am wrong, tell me why in 2001 (during a recession) the county could afford to keep county jail pods A, B and C open but today they scrap by to keep just two open? If you look at the salary and benefits costs between 2001 and 2013 you would be amazed at how much more we citizens are paying for less service. And it isn't just the jail — it is every part of government.