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Oregon Democrats' tax plan takes shape

Jonathan j. Cooper, Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Democratic leaders in the Oregon House said Monday that their plan to raise more tax revenue would target corporations and wealthy individuals.

Speaker Tina Kotek and Rep. Peter Buckley, the House Democrats' budget chief, said their plan would limit the amount an individual can claim in tax deductions on a graduated scale beginning with individuals earning at least $125,000 and households earning more than $250,000. Those same taxpayers also would be eligible for a smaller share of the personal exemption — a $183 tax credit for every individual on a tax return.

The Democratic plan would eliminate the cap on the corporate minimum tax, which would affect corporations with more than $100 million in revenue. It also would try to collect more from multi-state and multi-national corporations by trying to keep better tabs on how much of their revenue comes from Oregon and should be subject to state taxes here.

The House Revenue Committee is scheduled to begin discussing the proposal Tuesday and will work out the details, including how much to limit tax deductions for wealthy taxpayers.

Democratic leaders have proposed raising $275 million in additional revenue over the next two years to help balance the state budget. They'll need at least two Republican votes in the House and Senate to reach the three-fifths majority required to raise taxes.

"If people don't like these four elements, they need to figure out how to help us get to $275 million," Kotek said. "That is the critical piece that we're now moving to."

GOP leaders say they'll only support a tax increase if Democrats back steeper pension cuts for public employees. A Democrat-backed pension-cutting plan, which would save $460 million for state and local governments over the next two years, is scheduled for a vote in the Senate on Thursday. Republicans are backing a separate proposal that they say would save more than $1 billion.