Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Good writeup on Measures 66 and 67

From Onward Oregon:
5 Top Myths About Measures 66 and 67

With about a month to go before the special election on Measures 66 and 67, the misconceptions are flying! Are you confused?

Well, here at Onward Oregon we wanted to shed a little light on the reality of these revenue measures. So to clear up some common misconceptions about Measures 66 and 67, here are our 5 top myths about Measures 66 and 67.

Myth #1: Additional corporate taxes will cost Oregon jobs

Reality: Under the current corporate tax system, two thirds of Oregon businesses pay only $10 per year in taxes, a level that hasn’t changed since well before World War II. Under the new system, 88 percent of Oregon businesses still will pay only $150 per year in taxes. Even those businesses that will have to pay tax on gross sales will not be hard hit – a business generating $1 million in sales will write the Oregon Department of Revenue a check for only $500. No business will cut jobs because its tax bill goes up by $140 or even $500. In fact, we need Measures 66 and 67 to save jobs in Oregon – teachers, state troopers, and home health care workers all risk losing their jobs if these measures fail.

Myth #2: Oregon won’t be able to attract new businesses because of the new taxes.

Reality: Even with the new tax provisions, Oregon corporate taxes will remain among the lowest in the country. Oregon will still be a very attractive place to do business – even with the new tax measures, Oregon will rank 48th in the nation in corporate taxation, and will still have the lowest taxes on the West Coast. Washington’s Business and Occupation tax, for example, is almost 5 times higher than Oregon’s new corporate minimum tax. And, Oregon’s new corporate taxes are structured specifically to protect small business, so we’ll keep the dynamic businesses we have and maintain an environment that will encourage new businesses to grow here.

Myth #3: The new measures will increase taxes on most Oregonians, and we just can’t afford it.

Reality: Hardly any Oregonians will be affected by personal income tax increases. The changes in personal income taxes only affect individuals making more than $125,000 and households making more than $250,000 per year. That means that almost 98 percent of Oregonians will see no change in their personal income taxes. Even those folks who do see an increase won’t be bearing much of a burden – the increase applies only to income above $125,000 for individuals or $250,000 for families. If your family has taxable income of $260,000, your taxes will only go up by $180 for 2011. And more good news, that amount will be cut in half in 2012.

Myth #4: If Measures 66 and 67 fail, it’s really no big deal.

Reality: If Measures 66 and 67 don’t pass, a lot of Oregonians will pay the price in lost state services. 94 percent of Oregon’s budget goes to vital services – education, healthcare, public safety, and human services. Most Oregonians will be hit hard if the changes the Legislature made are reversed — through cuts to schools, decreased police and fire protection, and reduced health care for the poor and elderly. 300,000 Oregonians will also be affected in another way. The measures include a tax break for people receiving unemployment benefits. If Measures 66 and 67 fail, these unemployed, struggling Oregonians will lose a critical tax break they need. Voters have a chance to decide who they think deserves a break — and who can pay a little bit more.

Myth #5: The Legislature just passed these tax measures because it couldn’t do the heavy lifting necessary to cut the State budget.

Reality: The Legislature made every reasonable cut to State program budgets BEFORE deciding to enact revenue measures. The 2009 Legislature faced a huge problem – the State budget had a deficit of $4 billion. The first thing the Legislature did was make cuts; in fact, they addressed half the deficit with cuts of nearly $2 billion! They also took advantage of another $1 billion in Federal stimulus money and tapped $255 million in reserve funds. Which left a gap of around $800 million to be filled with tax increases. So when someone says we need to reduce spending before we raise taxes, you can tell them: We did. The Legislature cut spending by more than twice the amount added in these tax measures.

Between now and January 26, we’ll be bringing you more information on these important measures. Vote Yes for Measures 66 and 67! And tell your friends and family to vote yes, too.


The Team at Onward Oregon