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  • gfo99 gfo99 Jan 28, 2010 8:52 AM Flag

    More states will follow Oregon's lead

    JANUARY 27, 2010, 6:58 P.M. ET.Oregon Passes Tax Boost on Wealthy, Corporations .
    PORTLAND, Ore.—Oregon voters approved two special tax measures Tuesday designed to close a $733 million state budget gap. With 91% of the vote counted, Measure 66 garnered 54% of ballots and Measure 67 received 53%, the Associated Press reported.

    Elections here are by mailed ballot only. Tuesday was the last day ballots could be cast.

    Measure 66 increases Oregon's personal-income-tax rate by two percentage points for households earning over $250,000 a year. Measure 67 calls for an increase in the state's minimum corporate income tax, currently $10 a year, and imposes a tax on gross revenues for corporations that don't report a profit.

    The Oregon Legislature approved both tax increases last year, however opponents of the measures—chiefly business groups—sponsored a referendum campaign to put them to a statewide vote. Voters in this heavily Democratic state supported the legislators.

    "Passage of these measures means we keep core services of education, health care and public safety that Oregon families, businesses, and communities count on," said Oregon House Speaker Dave Hunt, a Democrat who represents Clackamas County. Defeat, he said, would have forced the state to cut nearly a billion dollars more from such services.

    The twin ballot measures also served as a gauge of anti-business populism and highlighted a nationwide debate over whether to fix state budgets by targeting the affluent. But they also fueled resentment of "tax and spend" legislators, as well as public-employee unions whose members enjoy job security at a time when thousands here have lost jobs.

    By targeting out-of-state corporations in campaigning for the new taxes, proponents of the measures persuaded many voters that much of the new funding needed to close the state's budget gap would be borne by outsiders. Opponents disagreed with that analysis, arguing that only 3% of the targeted revenue would come from corporations with headquarters outside Oregon.

    Kevin Looper, campaign dIrector for the organization Vote Yes for Oregon was jubilant. "It's an incredible victory for some very courageous political leaders, who in the middle of a recession decided to protect schools and vital services," he said.

    "Oregon voters said 'no' to more 4-day school weeks and bulging class sizes and 'yes' to corporations and the wealthy paying their fair share," added Gail Rasmussen, president of the Oregon Education Association, one of the public-sector unions that campaigned hard for Measure 66 and 67's passage. "Tonight's results are a credit to the hard work of parents, educators, and thousands of Oregonians from every walk of life who stood up to protect our schools."

    Write to Joel Millman at

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    • Under current law, corporations conducting business in Oregon pay $10 minimum income tax; tax has not changed since 1931. Some corporations pay a profits tax of 6.6%. All other businesses pay no minimum or profits tax. Beginning in tax year 2009, the Measure increase $10 minimum corporate tax to $150; some corporations with over $500,000 in Oregon revenues will pay minimum tax of approximately 0.1% of Oregon revenues. Limits tax to $150 for S corprations and partnerships. Sole proprietors are not impacted by this measure. Raises tax rates some corporations pay on profits by 1.3 percentage points until 2011; increase then drops to 1 percentage point and as of 2013, applies only to profits over $10 million.


    • It's lights-out for Oregon business. If you think unemployment is high there now, wait for another year or 2, as businesses move out in droves. I'm sure after Obama gets run out of office in 2012, he can always become Governor in Oregon; he'd feel right at home. Thank God I left that state 14 years ago and had the sense to move to Texas.

    • You can take that to the bank (that bank being a Delaware corporation, of course).

    • GFO, you're a liberal, so tell me - what is the percentage of income that the "wealthy" (incorrect term) must pay in order that the progressives will feel the "wealthy" are paying their fair share?

    • and watch the companies leave that state and then a few years from now the people will be wondering why they have no jobs -- DOH!

    • Oregon unemployment is a little over 11% in urban areas,northern, most populast part of State. And over 13% in mostly rural and southern area. No real industry State wide. Rates will go way up.

    • I always find it interesting how progressives attempt to solve all of their problems by pushing the burden onto others. If the people of Oregon want to maintain/enhance their school’s and social benefits it would seem to me that they would ALL be more than happy to accept a tax increase. It will be interesting to see over the next several years if there is any migration from the state.

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