Local News – Possible public safety levy; Sheriff says he’ll defer to courts; Dancing on the fiscal cliff delays tax filings

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Local News

18 January 2013

Lane Commissioners Considering Vote on Jail Tax

Officials say they still haven’t made up their minds, but Lane County voters, later this spring, could very well be seeing a special property tax levy request to fund public safety.  Historically, voters have routinely said no to county funding requests.  Lane County Commission Chair Sid Leiken says part of that is because officials have been too general in their requests.

Sid Leiken – “My feeling is that you have to be very specific on what you’re going to ask for.  And I think in the past, Lane County’s had a, I believe the number is oh-for-14 failure rate on public safety measures.  And a lot of that had to do with what I would call the Christmas Tree approach; they were asking for a little bit of everything.”

Commissioners will hear the results of a community survey later this month.

Sid Leiken – “January 29th and I expect we will have a decision made sometime in mid February whether we’re going to pull the trigger or not.”

No specific proposal or dollar amount is on the table right now, but officials did talk last summer about a 50-cent-per-thousand levy that would raise just under $15-million a year for jail operations.


Sheriff will defer to courts in gun control

A flurry of Oregon sheriffs have made strong statements this week against efforts by the Obama administration to impose tighter limits on guns.  Most of them say the actions will be unconstitutional and they would not recognize, nor enforce them.  Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner takes a slightly different stance.

He said yesterday any decisions regarding gun control should be done – quote – “without haste and after careful consideration”.  He added it would be “irresponsible” if officials did not consider ways to make our country safer.  Turner says ultimately it is the U.S. Supreme Court and not any individual that determines the constitutionality of any law.   He believes the primary focus in Lane County should be on strengthening a ‘failing public safety system’.


Tax Filing Delayed

Dancing on the edge of the fiscal cliff in December means a delay in the start of tax season in January.  The Oregon Department of Revenue announced this week that late tax law changes made by Congress means the first electronic tax filings won’t be allowed until January 30th.  The Internal Revenue Service had initially planned to begin accepting tax filings on January 22nd.  The amount of time it takes to process each return will be the same and the April 15th deadline won’t change.  Dennis Thompson with the Oregon Department of Revenue says even with the delay in beginning to accept electronic tax filing there typically aren’t many returns in January so they should catch up quickly.