Mark Hass: Let's clear the air.

By Senator Mark Hass.

I would love to clear the air about my votes on HB 3405 – the corporate tax increase.

As you may know by now, I voted for both the personal and corporate measures today. But what this package will include today that it didn’t include last night is a permanent distribution from corporate taxes into the Oregon Rainy Day Fund. Many people are surprised to learn our current fund is made up of a one-time distribution from the corporate kicker in 2007. It will be depleted this year and no one has any idea of how to fund it after that.

The new measure will generate $70 million a year into Oregon's Rainy Day Fund.

I drafted this as an amendment for HB 3405 on Monday after discussing it with my carpool partner, Rep. Tobias Read. (You might be surprised how many bills are created at 70 mph on I-5.) I had hoped this language could be adopted in the Senate.

But there were no hearings in the Senate. The measure came straight to the floor from the Joint Ways & Means Committee. In other words: no hearings, no testimony. When I was a minority member in the House, we used to rail at Republicans for this very thing.

That was one of the reasons I was so concerned. Another reason was – while we may need to raise revenues, raising income taxes actually makes our tax code more volatile - and it’s already the most volatile in the country.

For weeks I made my feelings known to the Speaker of the House and the Senate President – both good men who were very sympathetic, but unbending.

So, what do you do? Do you go along with the crowd, even though your gut tells you it’s wrong?

Or do you stand on principle?

As I mentioned on the floor of the Senate today, sometimes people can stand on principle and end up standing in different places. But when Oregon works best, these people find ways to come together.

Today we did that. Thanks to Rep. Read, we can amend the compromise language into a House bill. I’m glad I stuck to my guns. We have a better package – the process worked and Oregon is moving forward.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Thank you for writing this and for standing up for the state today. This is one step on the road to a 21st Century Oregon tax structure and I thank you for your work on taxes.

  • (Show?)

    Senator Hass,

    I'd suggest you wait until concurrence passes the House before you start taking credit for making this a better package.

  • NBH (unverified)
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    Senator Hass,

    With all due respect - do you think we are fools? Yesterday you said, "This isn't how I would do it, I'm OK with it, except for the permanent tax increases. If there were no economic emergency, would we raise these taxes on business?"

    You clearly opposed the bill because it did not sunset the revenue hikes. Had the sunset provision been added to these bills we would not have won permanent tax reform.

    While I appreciate your final vote, I think it is important that we don't let you get away with your rank revisionism. Had you voted the way you wanted (and progressives had not pressured you do change course) we would be looking at having barely changed our tax code and thus not made it more fair and adequate in the long term.

    I am glad there were House Democrats who were willing to stand up to your bullying. I look forward to supporting your primary opponent with my time and money.

  • (Show?)

    Mark. I like the rainy day fund, but yesterday you said that you were opposed to the bill because you wanted the increase to be temporary, not because there wasn't a rainy day fund. So the principle you were standing on is hard to discern. Eight years ago I remember you voting for a resolution supporting the Bush tax cuts. The principle was hard to discern then, too. A week or so ago you had an op-ed in which you suggested 'tax reform' via limiting tax breaks, but you pointedly didn't say which tax breaks you wanted to attack. I fear you have fallen prey to the temptation to do or say a random assortment of things related to taxes that you think will make you look 'moderate,' but which don't really advance the discussion. Former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey, who grandstanded on the 1993 Clinton tax vote, followed a similar path, and wound up serving in an unhappy role as the very unpopular (among faculty and staff) president of the New School in New York. Don't keep following his example!

  • Elaine (unverified)
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    Both Tobias Read and Mark Hass come from a Republican point of view. They will always choose to support corporate interests over those of their constituent's. So, while at first, some may feel that this move by Hass is a good thing, you'd better think again. I have no problem with a Rainy Day fund, but we'd be better off funding established educational and social services, first.

    For decades, we Oregonians have been brow-beaten into believing that this is not a business-friendly state. Nothing could be further from the truth! Of course the business sector always has a seat at the table when it comes to raising taxes, even though corporate taxes in Oregon are low, comparatively speaking. I have to wonder how many small business owners have actually read the bill to see if they will be affected at all.

    Since Oregon's economy depends upon small businesses (I own one), I appreciate that there is a world of difference between mom-and-pop shops and multinationals. We need a fairer tax and simpler rules, which HB 3405 attempts. I'd like to see further steps toward these goals because small businesses are important to revitalizing our economy. They are the crucible from which new ideas are born.

    As a lifelong Oregonian, we'd be better off with Hass and Read as the Republicans they are and supporting the likes of Merkley and Novick as Democrats. Where can we find more like them?

  • brigid (unverified)
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    Mark, your explanation today doesn't hold water. It's a fig leaf and doesn't jive with your explanation yesterday for opposing the bill. I think you played a game of extortion and grandstanding and it didn't work. You are going to have to pay the price in loss of respect from your own constituency and your own party.

  • JimRay (unverified)
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    Mark, You make me sick. Your explanation is so weak it makes you look pathetic. Who stroked you? Don't you understand you look like (hmmm) a fool.

    When these tax increases get referred and repealed you should resign for, if nothing else, wasting our time & money showing you that your vote was deceitful and idiotic.

  • Um (unverified)
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    Elaine:

    Tobias Read pretty much single-handedly saved Oregon from budget implosion by providing Hass with an avenue to support the bill after the senator's cowardly vote yesterday. He is an honorable legislator who deserves nothing but our thanks and respect.

    I wish I could say the same about Hass.

  • Sid Leader (unverified)
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    Standard government issue CYA BS and... we... the voters... and donors... are obviously are not buying it, Mark.

    So, try again.

  • Mark McGaffin (unverified)
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    I don't care if it is revisionist history. If it passes the House, you are forgiven by everyone who doesn't read this website.

  • Joe Hill (unverified)
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    Rep. Hass, your betrayal of your caucus yesterday was uncalled for and was a public renunciation of progressive principles. Your attempt to spin it another way today is frankly insulting. Did you think that this was simply going to go away because you wanted it to be temporary one day and you wanted to siphon off these funds to a rainy day fund the next? And what public discussion have you had about this latter idea? This is where the kicker money should go, and you have just undermined getting rid of that.

    No, Rep. Hass, you are not a progressive. Your embrace of the Bush tax cuts for the rich were not an aberration, but clearly a statement of your core values. And this grandstanding . . . what did you think it would get you? Did you think that your stabbing of your colleagues in the back would somehow endear you to the electorate? What calculus are you using to think this over, Rep. Hass? What could you possibly have been thinking, if not bowing to the pressure of Nike and the OBA.

    And it is this latter point - your inability to see that corporations and the wealthy already hold far too much power and influence over our lives already, that there is far too wide a gulf between rich and poor for a healthy democracy, that we need to undo the damage that has been done by the Reagan-to-Bush corporate state - it's these blind spots that make you ill equipped to serve the people of Oregon.

    You see, this is not a one time thing. These questions are going to come up over and over again, and clearly you cannot be counted on to be one the side of people. You are on the side of Nike and the plutocratic hustlers who want to pay as little as possible for the common good.

    Therefore, please resign. Just do the decent thing, recognize you're in the wrong spot at the wrong time, and let's try to find a democrat who is capable of not succumbing to the embarrassment of narcissism that we saw yesterday.

    Oh yeah, I'm an Eagle Scout too. You know what? What you did was the furthest thing from honor. Resign.

  • cant say (unverified)
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    Nicely done Senator Hass. We applaud you.

  • Lame (unverified)
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    I think folks are confusing the principle for which Hass stood: Business control of the legislature.

    I'm glad that like any good politician, Hass quickly abandoned his principles where they crossed his self-interest. Thank you, Mark. Good call.

    I'm even more glad the OBA has been exposed for what it is: a bunch of mostly out-of-state-based/national corporations unwilling to step up and help Oregon. The absurd "temporary solution" logic that businesses who are finally being forced by the vote today to pay more than the $10 corporate minimum should be able to stop paying for our roads and schools once the economy improves makes me laugh out loud. Every small business person in the state should take note that the OBA "plan" called for cranking up the personal income tax on everyone who earned more than $16,000, and raising fees on small businesses to let the big profitable corporations off the hook. Shameful.

    We're a long way from tax fairness in Oregon, but at least the legislature showed a little backbone in rolling Hass and OBA on the vote today. Kudos to the REAL Democrats and advocates who lead the fight.

  • Pedro (unverified)
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    Senator Hass,

    What the hell were you thinking?

  • LT (unverified)
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    " I fear you have fallen prey to the temptation to do or say a random assortment of things related to taxes that you think will make you look 'moderate,' but which don't really advance the discussion. Former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey, who grandstanded on the 1993 Clinton tax vote, followed a similar path, and wound up serving in an unhappy role as the very unpopular (among faculty and staff) president of the New School in New York. Don't keep following his example!"

    Steve, for once we agree---great way to state what you believe in a civil manner when many are really angry. I agree with your statements on Bob Kerrey but I will add one more---his chairing of DSCC was a failure in that every candidate he supported lost either primary or general. Mark will be lucky if he doesn't engender the anger former Kerrey supporters felt about the 1996 Kerrey DSCC follies!

    I believe it is time to treat legislators and candidates as individuals, rather than as caucus members. Perhaps we need a vigorous debate on who legislative candidates seek to represent: lobbyists, caucuses, or constituents.

    And maybe it is time to do away with pass throughs so it is easy to read candidate C & E reports and see where their money is coming from!

  • (Show?)

    (a) What Steve Novick said.

    (b) If you like driving 70 mph on I-5, why not introduce legislation so that the rest of us can do it legally? Works for California and Washington.

  • (Show?)

    Mark, I'm grateful that Tobias came up with a good idea that allowed you to find a way to change your vote and that you did. But please, don't go around saying that raising income taxes makes our tax code more volatile. It doesn't cause volatility. Volatility happens (and no volatility can be a bad thing, too). The way to address volatility is to take advantage of the good times by saving unanticipated revenues and saving enough to get through the bad times not too seriously harmed. Under the compromise Tobias and you worked out, corporate tax dollars will go into the rainy day fund even if we are experiencing a downturn and deficit as deep as this one. That's not so smart, and it's a problem that the leg this session or next will need to address. But I applaud your concern about volatility. So next session, follow through -- introduce the bill that gets rid of the kickers, which make it impossible for us to save enough, and introduce the bill that expands the rainy day fund to have enough money to weather the perfect storm. And fix the fix so we aren't forced to "save" when the bottom falls out of the economy again and school days are being slashed or frail seniors are being denied services.

  • (Show?)

    Senator Hass,

    Are you saying that the House and Senate Democratic leadership brought HB 3405 to the floor knowing that you would vote against it and that that they did not have the votes to pass it?

  • Rep. Phil Barnhart (unverified)
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    The two tax bills will not be going back to the House because the Senate passed them without amendment. Their next stop is the Governor's desk.

    The change that Rep. Read suggested will be in another bill to be heard in the House Committee on Revenue tomorrow (June 12). I expect it to pass soon. That bill will put the incremental revenue from the tax rate change on big corporations into the rainy day fund beginning with the 13-15 biennium. During the coming four years it will shore up our budgets directly.

    I especially appreciate Rep. Read's suggestion because it led to the passage. These funds will help protect school, community college, university, health care and public safety budgets from further devastating cuts.

    Thanks, Tobias. Everyone who benefits from basic state services owes you a debt of gratitude.

  • (Show?)

    Wow. I don't think they're buying it.

  • Buckman Res (unverified)
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    I agreed with you yesterday when you opposed the bill due to no sunset provision. Then you change your mind and vote for the bill despite any sunset clause being added.

    Sounds like you caved to you political bosses. You haven't won friends on either side.

    You lose.

  • LT (unverified)
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    "(b) If you like driving 70 mph on I-5, why not introduce legislation so that the rest of us can do it legally? Works for California and Washington."

    Oh! You want to revive one of Randy Miller's pet projects?

    If 70 were the legal limit, traffic would be going 75. You do realize how gas mileage goes down as speed goes up, don't you?

  • LT (unverified)
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    "So next session, follow through -- introduce the bill that gets rid of the kickers, which make it impossible for us to save enough, and introduce the bill that expands the rainy day fund to have enough money to weather the perfect storm. And fix the fix so we aren't forced to "save" when the bottom falls out of the economy again and school days are being slashed or frail seniors are being denied services. "

    Any possibility this could be worked on this summer and fall in case there is a February session?

    Otherwise, there is the possibility that folks who worked so hard to elect Democratic legislators may look at the end result and say "We gave you a supermajority, and this is all you did with it?".

    It has been 9 years since the voters (barely) put the kicker in the Constitution. How many new voters since then? It would be an insult to those new voters to say "sorry, we can't discuss it, the voters have spoken" as if their views don't matter because they were not voters in 2000.

  • (Show?)

    please notice who Rep Barnhart thanked.

    the people trashing Hass viciously & name-calling don't help any cause much, except that of making the political climate uglier. Hass' behavior, and his explanation (which indeed strikes me as CYA material), don't help either. for now, the bottom line is the revenue bill passed. minimizing the damage of the recession is vital, and this Leg has done a decent job on that (circumstances hardly allow them to do better). as Chuck says, getting rid of the kicker is an important next step. let's hope we can do that before too long.

  • J Loewen (unverified)
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    I like the compromise. I think that having a rainy day fund makes the increases much more likely to stay

  • murrayoperi (unverified)
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    I hope the Oregon Democratic Party drafts a strong progressive to challenge Hass in his re-election primary. I'll be happy to cut that person a $100 check to defeat this OBA lap dog. Thanks for nothing Mark. Maybe Faux News can give you a job.

  • WONEF (unverified)
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    I expect this kind of vitriol from the Republican side of the isle when one of their member takes a independent stance. It makes me sad as a Democrat to realize that, at least in this instance, we are no better.

    Each of you who is going after Sen. Hass should put yourself in the same category as a conservative that rails against a Republican who votes on principle for a tax increase.

    It's not like he didn't support increased corporate taxes, he just didn't support the tax package that leadership put to him. I guarantee you he wasn't the only one... just the only one to stand up and say so.

  • Robert Collins (unverified)
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    The Democrats in the Oregon legislature have been fighting to protect the unemployed, school kids, and seniors. At the most critical moment, Hass gets in bed with big business. It reminds me of Ryan Deckert voting with big corporations to kill family leave legislation at the end of the 2007 session. Deckert sided with the big boys and killed the bill to help families with a medical crisis be able to afford to take time off to care for a loved one. His reward? The 6 figure gig with OBA. What does Hass get? Give Hass credit for paying attention.

  • Insider (unverified)
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    It's kind of sad to watch Mark Hass's statewide political ambitions die such a public death.

    But I'm thrilled that House Speaker Dave Hunt and the House Democrats stood firm to get these tax bills passed without further delay!

  • LT (unverified)
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    There is a difference between principled and what looks like mischief or game playing.

    Years ago, our state rep. (a Catholic) gave the speech right before the carrier's closing speech on a parental consent on abortion bill. The legislature was debating tort reform that session, and one section of the consent bill created a new cause of action, "failure to properly notify". Our state rep. gave a speech I still recall over a decade later which included, "and while we are debating tort reform, this bill creates a cause of action that does not now exist!" as a reason to oppose the bill.

    That was a statement of principle, even though it made some people cheer and made other people angry.

    On the other hand, Mark could have been up front about this from the very beginning, bringing the issue to the Revenue committees as an amendment or whatever in public hearing so that no one was surprised. Just talking behind the scenes isn't really a strong stand of principle.

    And Ryan Deckert's "birds chirping" comment in news reports today didn't help either. Made it sound less like a serious "our companies will take their business out of Oregon if we don't get our way" approach than game playing of the sort Mark and Ryan's friends might not have thought them capable of before this week.

    I have known Mark and Ryan for years and once was an enthusiastic supporter.

    But the reason some public figures are heroes and others are not is whether they are serious people who "stick to their guns".

    Many years ago, a freshman state rep. was running for his first re-election and a hot button issue like capital punishment was on the ballot as a ballot measure.

    It was one of those candidate forum events where all the area legislative candidates were at a long table, all asked the same question, and answered in turn. The question was, "This ballot measure, according to polls, has a 75% approval rating. Do you support it?".

    Otherwise intelligent, serious people reacted to the question with responses like "75%? I'll have to take a look at that!".

    Then it came to the freshman running for re-election, last one to answer the question.

    In an intense voice, the answer was given "I BELIEVE IT IS WRONG! I will always believe it is wrong! You can vote me out of office, and I will still believe it is wrong!."

    WONEF, THAT response was a statement of strong principle. It didn't hurt the freshman's political career, as he went on to a long, successful career in politics.

    Hass and Deckert these last couple of days don't fit that category.

  • (Show?)

    I guarantee you he wasn't the only one... just the only one to stand up and say so.

    That's (partially) why people are upset. It's not like the Senate Dems just threw together a bill one day (upon which the entire state budget depended on) and decided they'd put it to a vote and see what happened. They wouldn't have brought it to the floor if they didn't think they had the votes. I'm sure not everyone who voted for the bill thought it was 100% perfect, but they were team players because without that revenue the state would be even more screwed than it already is.

    But the outrage some people are expressing here is not simply about the vote itself, but also about the circumstances surrounding the vote. Right after meeting with some well-funded corporate lobbyists, Senator Hass decided to change his vote and hold the state hostage. Yesterday he gave one reason for his decision on the floor of the Senate, today when facing a different audience he is giving another (which clearly is aimed to be more palatable to the liberal readership of this site). So exactly what principle do you think he was standing up for, WONEF?

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Read's and Hass's idea isn't so great...but nice that it gave Hass an excuse to bow to the huge pressure. The kicker should be the solution to the rainy day fund. Hopefully their well-timed bad idea will not quell the energy to do something actually to deal with volatility.

    Meanwhile, Read is doing what he can to please his DLC friends and speed along corporate tax giveaways.

  • SD (unverified)
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    I've got a campaign slogan for Sen. Hass. "Mark Hass, working hard to save face" Get your bumper sticker today.

  • JG Hitzert (unverified)
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    I am one of Sen Hass' constituents and an active Democrat. I just have to say I am disappointed in him as are most people I have talked to in the district and county. I am not so sure a poorly rendered rhetorical shell game is going to cut it. We should have made him work harder for the office so he would respect us more.

  • whatsuporegon (unverified)
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    I thought the kicker would rebate anything considered excess in the rainy day fund? Is this just a sham?

  • Mint (unverified)
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    y'all haters!

    I didn't realize we had so many insider experts posting on Blue Oregon!

    Rather than believe I can read Mark Hass' mind, I'd sooner read what he said and look at the whole of his record.

    In the end we have a better package for Oregon.

  • Joshua Welch (unverified)
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    Hass is clearly not the best Beaverton has to offer...they deserve better. Republicrats like him have consistently obstructed good legislation and enabled bad legislation. Voters should show him the door next time around.

  • Homer Williams (unverified)
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    Steve Novick said: "Mark. I like the rainy day fund, but yesterday you said that you were opposed to the bill because you wanted the increase to be temporary, not because there wasn't a rainy day fund."

    Mr. Novick, Senator Hass's reasoning is very clear to me, although if you two want to agrue about it, perhaps you should both step into a gubernatorial primary.

    Senator Hass can correct me if I'm wrong, but the core concern never struck me as one of "business will need tax relief in a couple of years." Rather, the concern was with Oregon's boom-and-bust cycle of taxation and what effect such a permanent increase would have not on revenue policy, but on fiscal policy.

    If this measure passed as-is without a Rainy Day Fund element, in a few years we would have easily celebrated our cleverness at the next "boom" and then spent our way into an EVEN DEEPER hole for the next "bust."

    Because of our tax structure, our budget is like a sine wave... and a permanent tax increase would have increased its depth and amplitude. But a sunsetted tax -- or a Rainy Day Fund element -- serves in the long run to moderate the fluctuations and help avoid these kinds of fiscal busts in the future... while still providing for the revenue that we need so badly this session!

    This concern could have been addressed with a sunset clause, but I think the Rainy Day Fund concept is an ever better way to address it.

    I don't think for a second that anyone running for governor doesn't already understand that.

    Thank you Senator Hass.

  • WONEF (unverified)
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    1. House leadership negotiated the corporate tax package.

    2. Senator Hass expressed his reservations on that particular version of tax increases and requested that a Senate committee be able to amend the legislation.

    3. They put the vote on knowing that they didn't have the votes specifically to put Sen. Hass in the line of fire.

    4. Leadership did not allow amendments to be made in the Senate (before or have the infamous vote), because they knew that there were other legislators who supported the alternative that Sen. Hass supported.

    Careful the assumptions you make...

    You guys act all surprise and upset when you find out that there are moderates in our party. Then when a legislators who supports a different version of proposal doesn't get in line or be a "team player", you get out the torches and pitch forks.

    That my friends is how a majority party becomes a minority party. Thank goodness the Republicans are way better at this than you guys.

    I have faith in my fellow Democrats that when all the passion blows over, you all will realize that there is room in our party for differences of opinion (no matter how slight they are) and for legislators who dare to stand up and have their voice heard on important issues.

    The Democratic party I support is not threatened by a legislator who takes an independent position on an important issue.

  • Rob (unverified)
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    Senator Hass, I am a very progressive Portland Democrat. I thank you for crafting this sensible compromise, once again demonstrating Democrats as the fiscally responsible party, as well as being compassionate and optimistic. I am looking forward to the legislature understanding how to manage the reserve fund, based on professional economic forecasts. I believe we will find that an approximately 70 million contribution to reserves in the years that are not lean is too little. Perhaps that is a discussion over the corporate and even personal kicker which can be addressed after the recession.

    I am dismayed by continual us and them discussion. Oregon is 36 counties, business and individuals, public sector and private sector employment, a range of ages. We can all cooperate in decisionmaking that will benefit us all.

    Rob

  • William Uren (unverified)
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    I guess I don't know what you mean when you say Oregon's tax system is "volatile."

    But I don't think you understand what people mean when they way it's unfair. So let me tell you why I think it's unfair and you can tell me what you mean, sometime, when you say it's "votatile."

    We have a relatively flat income tax in Oregon that puts proportionally more burden on middle class tax payers than it does on the wealthy. There is no question which of those two groups gets the greatest benefit from the way things are set up. What is your principled argument that they shouldn't shoulder the proportionally larger burden, as they would under a progressive income tax that spanned a higher percentage of income at to top margin levels?

    Also, I am perplexed by your concern for the condition of Oregon business within the state's tax structure. Rated as the second best tax climate for business by a group that is thought to make that climate look as bad a possible for business, and paying a smaller portion of the income tax today than thirty years ago or so, I don't get why you consider them to be so much on the short end of the stick.

    Very few people have taken up these two questions--the one is philosophical and the other practical.

    Would you care to?

    Thank you.

  • Cafe Today (unverified)
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    Everybody knows that this was not Hass's idea, and it probably wasn't Read's idea either. After Hass put himself in an impossible position by voting "no" on the floor, he realized that leadership was not going to give him what he actually wanted--an amendment to 3405 to make it entirely temporary.

    Given that, he needed to find something to latch onto to publicly explain why he changed his vote--I suspect the real reason his vote changed was that somebody suggested to him that if he didn't fall in line his gavel as Chair of the Senate Education committee was in grave jeopardy for next session. And perhaps a few other things as well.

  • Jason (unverified)
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    Raising taxes in a recession when incomes are shot and business aren't making money is about the most asinine thing I've ever heard. You can't tax your way out of a recession.

    I'm guessing there are already groups getting ready to put a measure on the ballot to repeal the tax bills. I think the fate of such a measure before voters has a clear outcome.

  • Mint (unverified)
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    Cafe today has to be in the top five most annoying posters on this blog.

  • (Show?)

    I agree with WONEF.

    While it often doesn't pay to look too closely at the sausage factory of the legislature, and people don't always get it right the first time, I am unwilling to sacrifice Senator Hass, and his year long record of generally good governance, over a single day episode.

    We are not Republicans. We can disagree over some issues, and still maintain our bonds.

    This is what makes us a big tent party.

    So as far as I'm concerned, it's over and done with.

  • (Show?)

    Can we please refer a kicker revision measure to the ballot and have a vigorous discussion with voters about the need for future savings? Can we do this now, please? Waiting until February's short session seems crazy, as there will be a tendency not to do anything particularly controversial. I wonder how big our kicker is going to be (when economy recovers even slightly) with these new permanent high income tax rates. Refer the kicker for the May or Nov. 2010 ballot.

    And then let's lay off Sen. Hass who has done a good job of raising the issue/generating discussion. There should have been much much more public deliberation about these issues during the Session rather than shoving things through in the endgame.

    Repeat: Refer the Kicker!

  • (Show?)

    My first thought was, "Good for Mark Hass," when I heard how he'd voted agaisnt the permanence of the tax hikes.

    Then I thought about how this might play out.

    Hass, it seemed, had left himself little wiggle room. Did he really want to be the one who let the budget deal get away?

    Tobias Read to the rescue with a face saver - the rainy day fund - instead of a game changer - saying NO to that permanent tax hike.

    Hass' legacy from this episode? Many people who bother to vote will like that he stood up to his caucus. Before he sat down.

  • Chris Andersen (unverified)
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    If I read this correctly, Sen. Hass is saying that the plan to divert the corporate taxes into the rainy day fund was already being discussed prior to his first vote but that no one was taking it seriously. So, he voted no as a way to shake things up and get people to listen.

    A nice story, if true. But who can confirm it? Sen. Read could. As could the party leadership, whom Hass implies knew about this idea. Are they willing to confirm it?

    Are their any other witnesses to the claim that the rainy day compromise was nothing more than a last minute deal worked out to save Sen. Hass from the excoriation he was receiving?

  • Cafe Today (unverified)
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    @Mint: You're just upset because I actually know what's going on in the building, unlike most of the rest of the posters on BlueO.

  • Mint (unverified)
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    You don't know, Cafe Today. I've seen your posts before: not impressive. But hey, its a blog. Post all you'd like.

    Good luck with your brilliant career as a capitol insider.

  • (Show?)

    Sunset, bad. Rainy Day Fund, good.

    I agree quite heartily with LT that we need to treat lawmakers as human beings and not as caucus appendages. Disagreed one day, but I like the compromise.

    And Barnhart's comment? Classic Barnhart.

  • rlw (unverified)
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    Mark, may I respectfully point out that definitive statements such as "This [blah blah] WILL generate [blah blah amount] to the fund" makes you a little more immune to our trust? I actually watch the language of people who pretend to be The One Who Knows.

    The Fed, Greenspan, any number of Wizards we trusted, were deeply and horribly wrong. Definitively wrong, mind you.

    Could you please come back and be a little less political and be more truthful. Tell us what you HOPE the legislation might do? Don't, please don't, keep telling us what your legislative actions WILL do. They are always rife with unintended consequences.

  • Scott J (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Yes, all the other Democrats with such high moral standing. I read in the Oregonian that these Democratic, saintly leaders, paid handsomely to fund Republican earmarks so he would vote in favor.

    Wow, what courage, a payoff! You Mr Hass, need to learn that to be a good Democrat, it is better to keep your mouth shut and engage in bribes with disreputable members of the opposing party.

  • The Ghost of Elections Past (unverified)
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    Great to see Hass at least has the unwaivering support of Chris Beck.

    Careful, Mark, or that'll be your future too: becoming an ex-legislator demonstrating your lack of political prowess (not to mention relevance) on Blue Oregon.

  • Jeremy Rogers (unverified)
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    Chris Beck is right, and it gets to the bottom of this.

    None of this debate matters if we don't refer the kicker, and now is the time to do it. Waiting is a stupid idea. Somebody who convinced the leadership that waiting on the kicker was a good idea please post here so we can understand what you were thinking.

    Also, anyone who voted for or supported these tax increases yesterday please pledge here that you will do everything in your power to refer the kicker and pass it.

    Otherwise, this was all for nothing, and a big wasted opportunity to change the most ridiculous Oregon policy: the kicker.

  • (Show?)

    Conflating tax fairness and tax volatility is truly bizarre. The argument (besides Jason's thoughtless one that somehow people and businesses with quarter-million annual profits are suffering in this economy) seems to be that making the tax structure more fair makes us spend more money. And that despite actually needing waaay more to restore prior services, this is bad.

    The logical extension is to cut taxes altogether, so that we can cut volatility way down, between swings of zero dollars and zero dollars. Voilà!

  • Insider (unverified)
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    WONEF: This revenue deal was NOT negotiated by the House alone, it was done by a joint House/Senate workgroup.

    And it wasn't put together hastily, but during four months of work throughout the Legislative Session.

    And Mark Hass never once raised his concerns until the bill was already out of committee on its way to the floor.

  • (Show?)

    Elaine wrote: "Both Tobias Read and Mark Hass come from a Republican point of view. They will always choose to support corporate interests over those of their constituent's."

    I know Tobias Read. Tobias Read does NOT even remotely approximate any sort of Republican view of anything. I do not appreciate such wild accusations against one of the few truly honorable members of the House. I don't know Mark Hass at all but I despise the fact that he sided with Republicans in the state Senate. His excuses are transparently dishonest.

    Steve Maurer wrote: "While it often doesn't pay to look too closely at the sausage factory of the legislature, and people don't always get it right the first time, I am unwilling to sacrifice Senator Hass, and his year long record of generally good governance, over a single day episode."

    That's nice. Now let's get out there and find a dependable, honest replacement for Hass. One who does not bleed or bend over backward for tax kindness to the malefactors of great wealth in this state.

  • (Show?)

    ... and if the Legislature were to allow 75 mph driving on our freeways, it would be welcoming in the 21st Century. Uncharacteristic but highly to be desired.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Someone might want to comment on this column on Oregonlive.com.

    Did Nolan really imply voters are easily confused?

    http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/susan_nielsen/index.ssf/2009/06/democrats_in_power.html

    It is a column advocating kicker reform.

    The whole issue of why a supermajority is scared of openly discussing kicker reform---but ties itself in knots over taxes to balance the budget as if there is no connection--reminds me of an old Molly Ivins line, (paraphrase?)

    "Breathes there a Democrat with soul so dead that they do not recognize an issue which is right in front of them?"

  • backbeat (unverified)
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    Dear Mr. Hass, Can you please explain to me why the not-for-profit org I work for pays a minimum $25 per year + additional fees based on our net assets (in our case $900+), but some corporations paid $10? Where is the fairness? We could have helped more little kids with that money.

  • DSS (unverified)
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    Backbeat, it seems like you're using an inconsistent measurement to make that case.

    If you want to include "fees," businesses in Oregon need to pay a minimium $50 filing fee per year PLUS the $10 corporate minimum, plus various local fees depending on their location.

    Of course that's fairly low, but if you're going to make an issue out if it you may as well use honest methodology to make what is otherwise a valid point.

  • Steve Buckstein (unverified)
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    I am surprised that a state legislator is apparently admitting that lawmakers create bills while driving above the legal speed limit. Perhaps this should be grounds for the courts throwing out any such bill.

  • Steve Buckstein (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I am surprised that a state legislator is apparently admitting that lawmakers create bills while driving above the legal speed limit. Perhaps this should be grounds for the courts throwing out any such bill.

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