Oregon businesses fight permanent tax hikes
SALEM, Oregon: Businesses in Oregon have banded together to form a broad based coalition to fight two permanent tax increases approved by the Legislature this year. Tax activists have talked about moving the approximately $733 million in tax increases to the ballot but now the newly formed business coalition said that it is very likely to use the veto referendum process to take the measure to the ballot for citizens to voice their opinion.
In particular, most businesses said that they are disgruntled that the increases are permanent instead of a temporary fix during the state's current budget crisis. "If it had been temporary, we would have complained, but we wouldn't have fought it," said Jon Chandler of the Oregon Home Builders Association. "This just really clobbers us."
The tax increases include raising corporate income taxes and repeals the $10 minimum tax so that corporations that do business in Oregon will have to pay at least $150 starting in 2009. For example, corporations that make $500,000 will pay a $500 minimum and sales of $100 million will pay a minimum of $100,000. The other increase raises personal income taxes for individuals with taxable incomes above $125,000 a year or joint filers at more than $250,000. Supporters of the tax increases include public employee unions, AARP, school activists and social service advocates.
However, businesses and organizations like the Alliance of Oregon’s Business Associations worry that H.B. 2414, a bill that calls for changing the language of the referendum process and would set a Jan. 26 election for any referendums. The main concern is that the bill would flip the usual meaning of a "yes" or "no" vote on a referendum so that it would take a "yes" vote to reject the tax increases. They argue that the change in language will only confuse voters.
- The Oregonian, "Business coalition to fight Oregon tax increases," June 26, 2009
- Democrat Herald, "Businesses say tax hike will stifle recovery," June 20, 2009
- The Oregonian, "Democrats in Legislature bet against history on tax hikes," June 20, 2009
- Oregon Biz Report, "Oregon Businesses Opposes Effort to Confuse Voter Referendums," June 26, 2009