By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Bladine: Taxes remain one of life's certainties

I’ve always been conscious of taxes … sometimes, too conscious. I’ve recognized, criticized and avoided them; I’ve counted, occasionally praised and willingly paid them; for 50-plus years, I’ve reported and commented more times about taxes than any other subject.

After all, as Benjamin Franklin is credited with writing in 1789, “ … in this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes” – a slight variation of a 1716 quote written by Christopher Bullock in “The Cobbler of Preston.”

One 2015 report said there were 97 taxes in the U.S. Tax Code, ranging alphabetically from air transportation taxes to zoning permit fees, but I’m sure more have been created since then. Day-to-day, we’re all most acquainted with income, sales and property taxes, with excise taxes hidden just behind the curtain on gas, alcohol, utilities, plane tickets, and on ad infinitum.

How about Social Security, unemployment and Medicare taxes … estate, gross receipts and room taxes?


Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

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I once tried to calculate the total percentage of my income going out to taxes. That exercise stalled out when I realized that the cost of everything I buy includes whatever taxes are paid by the people who create and deliver those goods and services.

There is, however, one concrete compilation of local taxation that is interesting on many levels – numbers from the “Top 10 Taxpayers” supporting each of Yamhill County’s 42 taxing districts.

For 2022-23, Portland General Electric leads the tax-pack with payments of $1.76 million, including $457,000 to Yamhill County, $295,000 to Newberg School District, $124,000 to Yamhill-Carlton School District, $95,000 to Dayton School District and $82,000 to McMinnville School District, among many others.

Just behind at No. 2 is Cascade Steel Rolling Mills at $1,440,000 – mostly to the city of McMinnville ($563,000), McMinnville School District ($466,000) and Yamhill County ($289,000). Those three taxing districts also are the major beneficiaries of $826,000 in total taxes paid by Willamette Valley Medical Center.

Next comes Northwest Natural Gas ($543,000), The Allison Inn and Properties ($384,000) and Stoller Vineyards and Properties ($376,000), followed by lesser but significant property taxpayers Foxglove Properties, Riverbend Landfill, Jackson Family, Brookdale, Hampton Lumber, Fred Meyer, Boise Cascade and many more.

Just for fun, I looked up a list of 130 quotes about taxes. One of them I liked was this comment by Ronald Reagan: “You can’t tax business. Business doesn’t pay taxes. It collects taxes.”

But my favorite came from philosopher Albert Camus: “It is no more immoral to directly rob citizens than to slip indirect taxes into the price of goods that they cannot do without.”

 Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.


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