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place, politics and power in oregon

One More Nail in the ‘Oregon-is-Tax-Hell’ Coffin October 10, 2007

Filed under: Coverage,Oregon House 2008,Oregon Senate,Revenue — taoiseach @ 5:14 pm

Just when you thought the anti-tax crowd over at Oregon Catalyst couldn’t look more out of touch with mainstream politics, and reality in general, there goes the Tax Foundation saying that Oregon’s tax burden on businesses is pretty damn low.

OPB’s Kristian Foden-Vencil bears the bad news to Jason Williams, et al:

The ‘Tax Foundation,’ a nonprofit, D.C. think tank, has been monitoring state and local taxes since 1937.

Each year it ranks states on how much corporate tax they levy. Oregon came in 10th, with Wyoming, South Dakota and Nevada in the top three places.

Chuck Sheketoff of the Oregon Center for Public Policy, agrees that the state has low taxes, but says it’s wrong to suggest low taxes are good for the business climate.

Chuck Sheketoff: “What Oregon businesses need are good investments and public structures to thrive. They need the courts open five days a week, they need good transporation systems, bridges that don’t collapse.”

He says businesses also need good schools and healthy social services. The four states with the highest business taxes were Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York and California.

This might be a good time to raise that corporate minimum tax substantially.  Also, citations like this might help a more permanent diversion of the corporate kicker into a rainy day fund.

With news like this, and state Senator Ryan Deckert officially taking the helm of the Oregon Business Association this month, a change in Oregon’s revenue structure might be on the table very shortly.   That makes even more sense when you consider that Deckert expects to resign from the Senate this month and that Mark Hass is a leading candidate to replace him.  Hass, as you’ll recall, became the Democrats’ go-to-guy for revenue matters in the Oregon House, and says he’s getting back in the game so that he can reduce the volatility of the current tax system.

We’ll just have to wait and see whether the House and Senate leadership puts this on the table for the February session.


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