Sen. Alan Bates, writing in the Tribune on May 12, finally sees jobs as a top priority. The trouble is, he and his party have done worse than nothing for years, and now they cannot balance the state budget without doing the one thing that hurts job and economic growth: raise taxes.

Let's hope for the sake of his patients that he is a better doctor than he is an economist. — Phyllis Fletcher, Eagle Point

On May 29, two of Jackson County's three commissioners, John Rachor and Don Skundrick, are likely to eliminate funding for the Jackson County Extension Service. The amount in question is $200,000.

There are those in the county who would argue that the Extension Service is a valuable community resource, while others are scarcely aware of its existence, even though it has been quietly benefiting the county for 99 years. However, there is one compelling reason why everyone in the county should support funding for the Extension: Every dollar that the county invests in the Extension Service generates an immediate return of $8.48 in direct funding, including contributions from OSU and grants from other sources. This does not include the economic benefits from services that the Extension Service provides to our local agricultural operations. That is just the actual amount of real money from outside sources, $1.7 million, which the county will lose if it denies funding for the Extension Service.

It is one thing for the county commissioners to cut "costs." It is another thing altogether for the county to reject $1.7 million because it requires a $200,000 commitment. This simply makes no sense. — Terrence Wolf, Jacksonville

Efforts by producers of American natural gas to export huge quantities indicate that our nation possesses this fuel in abundance — more than enough to free us from the tyranny of OPEC.

Utilizing natural gas to power American vehicles would also improve air quality. Natural gas-powered vehicles are presently offered, in the same general price range as gasoline powered vehicles by Honda. As usual, American companies seem to lack the vision and ingenuity (think Prius) to offer alternatives to paying the outrageous prices that have boosted the yearly profits of Exxon, BP and Mobil to obscene levels.

At present, the cost of converting a vehicle to natural gas is approximately $1,500. Perhaps tax credits could be offered to encourage American motorists to switch to this cleaner-burning fuel, thereby enabling them to cease contributing their dollars to Arab countries that openly finance international terrorism.

It would be a win-win outcome, not only for the free world and the average American's pocketbook but for the environment as well. The government should not hesitate to advance the interests of American citizens over those of uncaring, rapacious oil companies. — Robert Warren, Medford

No one is always right. This applies to members of Congress and to the president.

We acknowledge their wisdom and courage to tackle the job they were called to do, and we thank them.

When they propose a bill, it may be true but it may not be right.

Have they considered the other person's solution to the problem? Will it work? How? Does it provide an answer to the problem? How can I change it to make it work?

What do the people think of it? Will they be happy with it? If all the people voted on an issue, they might find the majority may not agree with them.

Remember, "Of the people, by the people."

It's ego that interferes with compromise. They should defend their point of view, but also defend the other person's point of view.

It's amazing what men and women can do if they don't care who gets the credit. Spend more time working with the other person's answers than your own! Now that you have his attention, he may spend some time with your answers.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." — Mahatma Gandhi. — H. Hendrickson, Phoenix

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