Nancy greets a special friend in the Capitol.

late April, 2009 

Dear Friends and Neighbors,


The Ways and Means Committee has begun its “road trip” hearings, to hear from people in communities around the state. Monday night in Lincoln City we heard from 74 people on topics such as forest fire protection; business development; services for seniors, disabled and mental health and addictions treatment; community colleges; county fairs; 4H and OSU County Extension services; courts; and more. Tuesday night we had a standing-room-only crowd at Portland Community College.  Next week takes us to Bend, Ashland and Eugene.  The hearings often have 200 or more in attendance.  We try to hear from as many as possible, speaking up to 2 minutes each.  For more information about the hearings, click here, then scroll down to see the schedule. 




Nancy Nathanson

Coffee Meet and Greet


When: Saturday, April 25  11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Where: Terry's Diner, 2079 River Road

            -view map-

Tiffany Hill, Poetry Out Loud winner

Nancy and Tiffany take a moment for a photo in the House Chamber.

At the Capitol


North Eugene resident provides Opening Ceremony in House chamber


On Tuesday, April 14, Tiffany Hill, a north Eugene resident and student at Oregon School for the Deaf, recited a poem using sign language for the opening ceremony in the House Chamber for the daily floor session.  That may seem like a big deal but it is small potatoes compared to where she is heading next.  Tiffany won the state National Endowment of the Arts “Poetry Out Loud” competition and will be reciting works for “Poetry Out Loud” in Washington, D.C.  Tiffany is the first deaf student to win a state "Poetry Out Loud" competition, and will be the first deaf student to participate at the national level, competing against 53 other contestants from the states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands.

Honorary pages from Kelly

Nancy hosts two honorary pages
from Kelly Middle School.

Tax breaks, good idea? Depends on what it’s for


The House voted this week on HB 2067 to add a sunset date to income tax credits not required by federal law or the state constitution.  The purpose of the bill is to periodically review tax credits to ensure they continue to serve a public purpose. (Tax credits excluded from regular review include the home mortgage deduction, etc.)  I support this plan for an orderly review of tax credits at least every six years.  Many important credits would likely be continued, while others could be phased out.  The Legislature would review credits for research activities, fish screening devices, reforestation, youth apprentice sponsorship, cultural trust, working family child care, water transit vessel manufacturing, and dozens more.


Tax breaks are often promoted to achieve a specific purpose. In official budget lingo, these are called “tax expenditures” because they are expenses: instead of receiving the revenue, the amount of money is spent on specific purposes, such as a tax break to encourage building low-income housing, or creating jobs in a specific area of manufacturing like solar panels or building boats, helping low-income working people or the elderly. Without a sunset, or ending date, they keep going on and on even if they’re really no longer necessary to achieve the purpose.   The bill we passed covers only income tax credits.  Overall, Oregon has several hundred "tax breaks" related to local property taxes and personal and corporation income taxes.  These include credits, deductions, adjustments, exclusions, subtractions, and other calculations. Some of these amount to a lot of money, some have a small impact on the budget. If these are not renewed, the money is then available to spend on education, human services, public safety, and other programs. If you add up all the money that is spent on tax breaks, it would be about $15 billion a year in taxes avoided by individuals and corporations. 


The state publishes a 400+ page “Tax Expenditure Report” listing the cost of each of these.  Click here for information.


In the District


As transportation infrastructure grows to accomodate population and business activity, neighborhoods often fall victim to increased freeway noise pollution.  Sound barriers can make a significant difference for residents who live nearby.  The Harlow neighborhood will soon feel relief.  The Oregon Department of Transportation has approved noise suppression sound walls adjacent to the neighborhood on the west side of I-5 from Willakenzie Drive to Harlow Road.  Work is scheduled to begin February 2010.


Click here to access my legislative website.

Late April, 2009