Lithia Motors Challenges Corporate Oregon

Chuck Sheketoff

In today's Medford Mail Tribune, Lithia Motors' chairman and chief executive officer Sid DeBoer challenged corporations in Oregon to invest their kicker credits in Oregon.

DeBoer thinks it makes sense to invest in infrastructure in Oregon. Not a novel idea, but one that corporate Oregon has yet to embrace. Remember, corporate Oregon is getting a 36% tax cut, now projected at $135.4 million (Appendix B of June 2006 Economic and Revenue Forecast) on their 2005 tax bills, and the latest forecast has them getting a 53% tax cut on their 2007 tax bills.

Here's the article from the Mail Tribune:

Lithia motors to give kicker revenue to SOU project

When Oregon revenue exceeds state economists' estimates by more than 2 percent, it triggers a corporate and personal tax credit for the second year of a biennium.

Sid DeBoer, Lithia Motors Inc. chairman and chief executive officer, said Thursday his company will pass along its corporate kicker of nearly $300,000, toward the downtown Medford Southern Oregon University/Rogue Community College building project.

"We'll hand over a check to the Southern Oregon University Foundation when we get the check from the state," DeBoer said. "I'm challenging every corporation, whether privately or publicly held, to do the same thing. It's a nice way to get this thing going."

DeBoer thinks kicker revenue would be better spent on specific needs such as infrastructure rather than sent back to companies, 60 percent of which are based out of state.

"It should be invested, not buried in the general fund," DeBoer said. "It's a very specific project that Medford needs to raise the money for. It's an investment in a 100-year building, not for current expenses, and I think it's a great use for a corporate kicker."

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    Thanks for the great column Chuck. The kicker makes about as much sense as Bill Frist's proposal to give us all $100 to pay for gas instead of using all that money to advance progress toward replacing fossil fuels in our cars. All Kulongoski has proposed is a 6 year moritoruim on the kicker. Since we have to endure the insanity of guessing state revenues two years in advance let's at least build a rainy day fund and bring our schools back to the level they once were. Call your local school superintendent and ask what has been cut over the past ten years? Call the Director of Health and Human Services in Salem and ask the same question. Have we become numb to kids paying to play sports, paying for their own field trips.... including renting the bus and paying for the driver or begging for dollars to attend Outdoor School. Parents run around frantically fundraising to pay for an art teacher or to replace worn out football helmets. School Foundations try to fill the gaps. When Lithia Motors steps up and donates its kicker money to the SOU/Rogue Community collge building maybe we should step up and call our local leaders and ask them to support Ted's sensible plan..then again there is that new pair of jeans or a dinner out...or donating to the Oregon Food Bank when your kicker check arrives...

    Freeze the Kicker is a bumper sticker I hope I'll see soon.

  • LT (unverified)

    Once again, public service by a member of the DeBoer family.

    One of the unsung heroes of the 1983 session was St. Rep. Becky DeBoer.

  • Harry (unverified)
    <h2>"It should be invested, not buried in the general fund," DeBoer said. "It's a very specific project that Medford needs to raise the money for. It's an investment in a 100-year building, not for current expenses, and I think it's a great use for a corporate kicker."</h2>

    What a great business man!! He is really putting his money where his mouth is. Good for him...I hope he gets lots of response from other business people in the state.

    I wonder what Ted thinks of that first sentence: "...not buried in the general fund."

    Ouch, Ted!!! He is talking to you. I think he has a very specific idea of where he wants to spend his money....not in the general fund. In order for Deboer to be able to do this, Ted has to keep his fingers off the business kicker.

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    I commend Lithia for their decision to donate the money to SOSU. It would be nice to see Lithia write the Oregonian and challange businesses in Northern Oregon as well.

    The problem is most corporations won't do this. With corporations it's about profits over people.

    One thing the business community could do to disprove this is start a larger drive to encourage businesses to donate their kicker to a worthwhile cause. The Lithia chairman started this, so I think he would be an ideal person to lead the charge (and you can't help but think the free publicity will help them or any other business for that matter).

    This would also kill one of Kulongoski's big campaign ideas and maybe make him talk about other things that could be done to improve the state budget.

  • red (unverified)

    What about letting businesses re-invest in thier companies - you know, let them create jobs and build thier business - which will improve the economy. What a novel idea - letting business keep the money they earned. Weird.


  • LT (unverified)

    Red, What evidence do you have that businesses do use the corporate kicker to create Oregon jobs? Esp. those corporations which exist outside Oregon. Why should "our " money go to out of state businesses? Or is this just about ideology?

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    The better question would be, is it better for this to be voluntary or mandatory? Conservatives I would guess would rather see it voluntary, as is the case with Lithia Motors.

    This is giving back to the community in a way which is better then government saying poney up your refunds. It also allows the company to choose the programs they feel are worthy.

    So which way would you rather have it? Certainly you can't have your cake and eat it too.

  • anon (unverified)


    Ted's better off distancing himself from United Way shakedowns. Extreme peer pressure, remember those staff meetings, having to sit through finger wagging guilt trips from the volunteer?

    Individuals and corporations stay bitter when they are cornered or coerced from money ownership.

    Conversely, look at how proud Sid is, he likes the attention (and on a soapbox angling for more) because he wants his profitable company to get credit for a voluntary act of giving. Not a mandated one of taking.

  • Larry (unverified)

    Mandatory. Not voluntary. It is more fair that way. If it was voluntary, some businesses might not donate (they could forget). Better if all businesses were forced to donate their kicker. Equality in voluntarism. Hence Ted's position. That only makes sense. If it is a good idea, then everybody should do it. (But since we know some businesses won't, then we mandate every businesses' voluntarism.)

  • anon (unverified)

    Mandated (forced) volunteerism is an oxymoron.

  • Darrell Fuller (unverified)
    <h2>Sid and Becky aren't the only good corporate citizens in the DeBoer family. Sid's brother, Alan DeBoer (also a new car dealer in the Rogue Valley), served two terms as Mayor of Ashland.</h2>

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