One step by Gov. Brown; one giant leap in thwarting democracy in Oregon

Dirty-politics........

 

Where’s the outrage?

Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill today that effectively cancels petitions signed by thousands of Oregonians calling for a public vote on the Democrats’ $2 billion business tax (HB 3427).

In Oregon, that’s called democracy in action. In the rest of the country, that would be called dirty politics.

In June, the Governor signed a $2 billion $2.6 billion business tax bill (HB 3427).  Distressed Oregonians responded by starting a referendum petition (Petition #301) that would have put the tax on the ballot. The Democrat supermajority in the State Legislature cut off the nascent effort at the knees by passing a bill (HB 2164) that retroactively changed the language and wording of the original tax, canceling out the petition to that point because it referenced the original text.

“HB 2164 is designed to look like a cosmetic language change to a 40-page tax bill, but it contains poison words designed to murder the voter campaign to pass petition #301 (the repeal petition),” the Taxpayer Association of Oregon said on July 17. “….it is borderline criminal to rob the people of their right to vote on matters they care about. Politicians should not be able to subvert and void the people from using their initiative process to petition their government.”

“This subversive tactic of changing the laws in the middle of the process while people are trying to change the laws has never been done before in modern Oregon political history,” the Taxpayer Association said today.  “This subversive and vote-canceling attack can now be used to stop ANY petition effort that the public might wish to bring to the ballot.” (bold in original)

Having achieved a supermajority in the 2019 Legislative session, the Democrats have ignored their ethical responsibility to Oregonians and abused their power

“What kind of fool do you take me for?”, asked one of the Three Stooges in Saved By The Belle. Oregon voters should be asking the same thing of Democratic legislators and Gov. Brown.

 

 

 

Our Oregon: shooting Oregon in the foot – Dems and unions want more money to spend on more “stuff”

 

Tax big business. “Yeah.. that’s the ticket! Yeah, you betcha!,” SNL’s Tommy Flanagan would say.

bloated-government-cartoon

A Better Oregon, a campaign organization operating under the umbrella of Portland-based Our Oregon, a coalition of unions and progressive groups, agrees.

A Better Oregon is promoting Initiative Petition 28 for the November 2016 ballot. The measure would raise the corporate minimum tax on Oregon sales of more than $25 million a year from the current minimum of $50,000 to $30,001 plus 2.5 percent of the excess over $25 million. The tax would be based solely on sales, not profit.

The Legislative Revenue Office estimates the corporate tax measure would raise $5.3 billion during the 2017-2019 biennium. Corporate taxes during that biennium under the current system are projected to reach about $1.1 billion.

In other words, the measure would increase corporate tax collections per biennium by a whopping 400 percent in one fell swoop.

Rep. Mitch Greenlick (D-Portland), when endorsing the measure, said it would eliminate much of the constant need to choose between funding critical budget concerns each legislative session. “If that passes, we’ll have a lot of money to pay for stuff,” Greenlick said.

Otherwise, Greenlick said, most of the additional revenue in the economic forecast for the 2017-2019 budget would go to cover increased PERS liabilities and the state’s increased share of Medicaid funding, leaving little additional revenue for new stuff.

But not to worry, says Ben Unger, executive director of Our Oregon. The extra money won’t come out of your pocket. It will come mostly from large out-of-state corporations.

About 1,000 corporations doing business in Oregon, mostly multi-state corporations, would be affected by the higher taxes.

“This measure will make sure that large and out-of-state corporations do their part to fund the schools and services that will make Oregon thrive,” Our Oregon says on its website.

As long ago as I can remember advocates for higher taxes in Oregon have been making “out-of-state corporations” the bogeyman, the malignant beast that’s doing Oregonians wrong and needs to pay.

But as attractive a target as these corporations are, they’re not fools. They will find a way to avoid paying the taxes or they’ll pass on the added taxes to Oregon consumers as a stealth sales tax.

Moving a company’s headquarters to another state with a more congenial tax environment, as GE is doing with its recently announced shift from Connecticut to Massachusetts, won’t solve the problem, but there are always run-arounds.

Maybe some businesses will change their ownership form to get sales in Oregon under the $25 million trigger. Others may institute some special, higher regional pricing.

Some creative companies may become benefit corporations. Our Oregon thought it was being clever and supportive of the “good guys” when it inserted a provision in its initiative to exclude benefit companies under ORS 60.754 from the higher taxes. But this opened a loophole ripe for exploitation.

The liberal coalition behind Initiative petition 28, recalling their success in a tax increase battle in 2010, may be figuring they have a sure thing again with another measure targeting big business, but hopefully Oregonians in their wisdom will see this  proposal is a reach too far.