The Tax Facts Index (with apologies to Harper's)

Steve Novick

Introducing the Tax Facts Index

In the past few weeks, there’s been a lot of heated rhetoric flying around about the legislature’s tax fairness measures, which corporate interests and anti-government activists are already trying to overturn.

In the interest of keeping the debate in the universe of facts, and in the spirit of the venerable Harper’s Index, here is a handy list of facts that spell out why these measures are necessary, fair, and—quite frankly—extremely modest compared to the corporate taxes businesses in other states pay.

Visit defendoregon.org for a downloadable pdf of this list and for more vital facts about these measures that you can share with your loved ones. Remember, friends don’t let friends make uninformed votes.

Full disclosure: I am currently being paid by Defend Oregon to gather facts related to the tax measures.

 Tax Facts Index

Percentage of state budget that goes to education, health care and public safety: 93

Percentage of “small business owners” that will NOT be affected by the tax increase on the wealthy: 93

Year Bill Clinton raised taxes on the wealthy, cut the deficit, and did not ruin the economy: ’93

Number of children in Oregon schools: 550,000

Number of seniors and people with disabilities receiving long-term care from the state: 26,000

Median income for an Oregon family of four: $65,000

Amount that the tax rate increase on the wealthy will cost a couple making $260,000 until 2012: $180

Amount that the increase will cost the same couple in 2012 and beyond: $90

Tax rate a gas station in Washington pays in Washington’s Business and Occupation tax: 0.471%

Tax rate a gas station in Oregon will pay under the new corporate minimum: 0.1%

Tax rate Oregonians pay on income above $14,300 (for joint filers): 9%

Rate large corporations (on profits exceeding $10 million) will be paying under the corporate profits tax increase as of 2013: 7.6%

Amount of gross state product the average state collects in corporate taxes: 4.9%

Amount of gross state product Oregon collects in corporate taxes: 3.7%

Amount of gross state product Oregon will collect in corporate taxes under these measures: 3.8%

Amount Oregon would have had to raise corporate taxes to reach the national average: $3.9 billion

To reach Washington State’s level: $5.8 billion

To reach Idaho’s level:  $3.2 billion

To reach California’s level: $2.9 billion

To reach Nevada’s level: $2.9 billion

Amount the Legislature actually raised corporate taxes: $260 million

Amount a median income family of four pays in Oregon income taxes: $3,100

Amount of Oregon income taxes AT&T, Eli Lilly, Time Warner and Pfizer presumably paid in at least one year in the '00s, based on ITEP study: $10 apiece

Fraction of corporations doing business in Oregon that pay the $10 corporate minimum income tax: 2/3

Year Oregon’s corporate minimum tax was reduced from $25 to $10: 1931

Percentage of Oregon’s corporate profits tax paid by corporations headquartered out of state: 75

Comments

  • Anonymous (unverified)
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    This, or something similar to it, ought to be an op-ed in the Oregonian

  • Steverino (unverified)
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    Oregon's rank in per-capita income 1998: 22nd Oregon's rank in per-capita income 2009: 33rd

    How will these tax hikes help?

  • (Show?)

    How will these tax hikes help?

    These revenue and tax fairness bills are creating jobs and keeping schools afloat in Oregon. Individuals and businesses choose in large part to locate in an area based on fundamental quality of life issues such as public safety, quality of schools, etc.

  • (Show?)

    On per capita income - Oregon was much higher in per capita income in 1979, when corporations were paying almost half of total taxes (as opposed to 38% today). Washington, with much higher corporate taxes than Oregon, is ahead of us in per capita income. What the measures will do is avoid severe cuts to schools, health care, public safety.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Steve Novick:

    Year Bill Clinton raised taxes on the wealthy, cut the deficit, and did not ruin the economy: ’93

    Bob T:

    Gee, how'd he do that? Did he submit a budget showing no deficit and force the Republican majorities to pass it?

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Steverino:

    Oregon's rank in per-capita income 1998: 22nd Oregon's rank in per-capita income 2009: 33rd

    How will these tax hikes help?

    Bob T:

    Well, they don't have to, I guess. High unemployment and falling income is apparently offset by the fact that many people can now feel good about being here because a major street was just re-named Cesar Chavez Blvd.

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • John (unverified)
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    It is a good thing Steve is not one of those greedy business persons. If he were, he’d look at his decreasing income in todays economy, say $30,000 per year and think, if I just raise my prices, especially the prices on luxury items, I can increase the living wages I pay myself and my employees to $40,000 and it will be paid for by those filthy rich who can afford to spread the wealth a little. Steve will immediately raise the living wages for everyone who works in his business.

    After Steve raises his prices and his revenue and income go down and expenses go up, he’ll decide that the problem is that he didn’t raise his prices enough. He will continue along this line until he goes out of business, unless he is the state legislature.

    That’s why Steve does what Steve does. A business person would first think about how to make his business more efficient, competitive and attractive. Sure look for opportunities to raise prices where you can, but try to increase business by more competitive (lower) prices and lowering costs while improving service. Price discipline is key to business. But when the state legislature and bureaucracy make Oregon uncompetitive and businesses move out, they think the cure is to increase costs on those remaining.

  • fbear (unverified)
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    This is great, Steve, but here's something to add:

    National unemployment rate when Ronald Reagan signed the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 in August of that year: 7.4%

    National unemployment rate one month later: 7.6%

    National unemployment rate three months later: 8.3%

    National unemployment rate six months later: 8.9%

    National unemployment rate one year later: 9.8%

    National unemployment rate eighteen months later: 10.4%

    National unemployment rate two years later: 9.5%

    National unemployment rate 30 months later: 7.8%

    National unemployment rate three years later: 7.5%

    So, after tax cuts for the wealthy were passed the unemployment rate went up immediately, after having bounced around 7.5% for the previous year or so, and those rates stayed elevated for the next three years, with ten consecutive months over 10%, yet conservative dogma continues to be that tax cuts help to create jobs.

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    The long-term care number is significantly understated. Perhaps that's the number in skilled nursing facilities ('nursing homes').

  • (Show?)

    Steverino: Oregon's rank in per-capita income 1998: 22nd Oregon's rank in per-capita income 2009: 33rd

    How will these tax hikes help?

    You left a few things out Steverino,

    Oregon's rank in per-capita income 1998 after six years of Democratic economic policies that Republicans said were going to destroy America: 22nd Oregon's rank in per-capita income 2009 after 8 years of Bush economic policies: 33rd

    When you put it that way, the answer to your question becomes obvious: by reversing every stupid thing the Republicans did, which is just about everything

  • Blue collar Libertarian (unverified)
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    Local Oregon officials should be cutting the costs of business and housing permits. They can't expect the Feds to do it all.

    Oregon should also open the urban transit market to competition, repeal any and all regulations that act as a barrier to midwives, nurse practioners, and physicians to do more in the medical field and while I would think the state should get out of the hgher education field entirely, they should at least have means test for colleges and university students. Instead of just taxing the well to do, get them to pay for what they use.

  • Steverino (unverified)
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    Steve Maurer: Dare I ask why the "Bush economic policies" would hit Oregon so much harder than other states in the nation?

    Why did Oregon's per-capita income ranking decline, yet Washington, Idaho and California stayed almost exactly the same?

    Blame Bush?

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)
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    BCL:

    "repeal any and all regulations...."

    Can you name specifically 3 regulations that you would repeal?

  • Blue collar Libertarian (unverified)
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    Well S in D let's start with prescription privileges.
    How about the okay to open their own clinics? And the okay to do surgery. How that for a beginner?

  • fbear (unverified)
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    Steverino,

    The Oregon legislature was controlled by the G.O.P. throughout Bush's first term, so it's tough to blame the Democrats for that.

    In January, 2001, Oregon's unemployment rate was 5.2%. A year later, it was up to 7.9%.

    When the national economy faltered in 2001 - 2002, Oregon was hit harder because very few big companies (and getting fewer all the time) are based here. A big part of that is the consolidation of capital that really started under Reagan and has continued unimpeded since.

    It's also true that the change in per capita income from 2000 - 2006 wasn't that much lower in Oregon than Washington and California--California's went up 23.3%, Washington's 22.4%, and Oregon's 20.4%. Those numbers seem pretty close to me.

  • (Show?)

    Steverino: Dare I ask why the "Bush economic policies" would hit Oregon so much harder than other states in the nation?

    Because Oregon is one of the few States left that still focuses on domestic manufacturing. Republican policies not only condoned companies shipping jobs overseas (to avoid paying family wage jobs and environmental regulations), they actively rewarded it with tax incentives.

    This has hit some states much harder than others. But if you want to throw bad governance into the mix, that's fine. Most of Oregon falling behind happened when the GOP controlled the State, or could block any change in course from what they already set.

  • (Show?)

    Might be a good idea to add sourcing information to the PDF at some point.

  • fbear (unverified)
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    Here's a terser version of what happened after the Reagan tax cuts of 1981:

    Unemployment was elevated for three years straight, with a peak 3% higher than at the time the tax cuts were enacted.

    So much for tax cuts creating jobs.

  • DM (unverified)
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    To Bob Tiernan:

    In the need for full disclosure I assume Bob Tiernan will tell us how much money and the % of taxes he now pays as an individual and he pays at all companys and firms where he is a principal.

    <h2>DM</h2>

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