Take the Red Pill

Pat Ryan

Alright gang, a couple of points here at the front end of yet another ridiculous debate chock full of the usual pissing and moaning by the usual self described producers. The simpler the situation, the more complex the tangents that they choose to take. All predictable. If you don't have a leg to stand on, by all means, call the tail a leg. We've got Professional Economists TM,screaming about tens of thousands of jobs

Matrix_pills-300x163 circling the drain, although they offer no supporting evidence. We've got the perennial deep pocket jackals with the same mission and the same tactics as always: Lie and misdirect by whatever means and to whatever extent necessary to scare the crap out of people who don't pay attention. They also provide comfort  and employment to  a lot of the Toys R USTM libertarian kids who never ever want to grow up even though most of 'em are smart enough to know better. After watching the intellectually rigorous contrarian positions taken on Chuck and Carla's latest posts, I'm clear that the Rand Acolytes have little concern about the relevance of their argumentation. Above all, they just wanna win, and they don't wanna pay anything ever to the rest of us in support of their chosen solipsistic belief system.

In fact, the lobbyists for both Associated Oregon Industries (AOI) and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) were all over the idea, early in the session of a $300 flat corporate minimum. Fortunately, a few small business owners with a distaste for Kool-AidTM thought that small businesses ought not to have to shoulder most of the burden, and work with the legislature to craft a more equitable solution.

To all local Chamber of Commerce members, I would urge that you switch to a nice sports drink. These state level lobbyists are not looking out for the interests of your local Chambers or for you the members.  

So-o-o-o take the Red Pill and carry a bottle with you whenever you leave the Pod. The following chart is the actual Matrix of the recently passed corporate minimum which applies only to C-corps.

<$500K

$150

$500K to $1 Million

$500

$1 Million to $2 Million

$1,000

$2 Million to $3 Million

$1,500

$3 million to $5 million

$2,000

$5 Million to $7 Million

$4,000

$7 Million to $10 Million

$7.500

$10 Million to $25 Million

$15,000

$25 Million to $50 Million

$30,000

$50 Million to $75 Million

$50,000

$75 Million to $100 Million

$75,000

>$100 Million

$100,000


Disclaimer: I am a minority shareholder in Synergy Consulting, Inc., owned and operated as a C-corp since 1988 by Christine Chin Ryan, who also chairs Oregon Small Business for Responsible Leadership (OSBRL). I do not speak for either OSBRL or Synergy Consulting, Inc.

Comments

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    I must have a Kool Aid hangover because I can't tell if this is a rant against the discussions presented in those previous posts or if it is contributing something more to the debate?

  • Lord Beaverbrook (unverified)
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    I couldn't fail to disagree with you less!

  • Bob Wiggins (unverified)
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    I'm not sure whether or not medication is in order, but I do have a couple comments on your post Pat.

    First, although the minimum tax is under the income tax bill, it is really a new Oregon tax, with a new base--not income but gross receipts (a similar base to Washington's b and o tax).

    Second, just as the federal alternative minimum tax has become the de facto measure of income taxation for many federal taxpayers, this new tax may become the de facto measure of tax for many unprofitable Oregon businesses--including start-ups and established companies suffering through a period of unprofitability (which you may have noticed is not all that uncommon these days).

    Third, just to be clear, the new minimum tax would be computed in accordance with the matrix you provided, but the numbers in the left column are gross revenue, not income. Thus, if the new minimum tax goes into effect, a company with $11 million of gross revenue but operating at a loss will have a $15,000 tax bill.

    Fourth, no one believes the gross receipts tax rate will remain at 0.1% for long if this thing actually becomes law.

    Finally, you seem pretty sure that no employers will leave the state if the tax measures go into effect. (Of course, we'll never know the employers that decide not to move here in the first place.) I am actually pretty certain that if these measures go into effect they will result in companies moving out of state. Let's make it interesting: if the tax measures do go into effect, if I can't identify a company that moves out of state before the end of 2010 where the owner identifies the tax measures as the primary cause of the move, I owe you dinner for two at the Portland restaurant of your choice. If I can, you owe me dinner for two at the Portland restaurant of my choice. Bet?

    Bob Wiggins

  • Bob Wiggins (unverified)
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    I'm not sure whether or not medication is in order, but I do have a couple comments on your post Pat.

    First, although the minimum tax is under the income tax bill, it is really a new Oregon tax, with a new base--not income but gross receipts (a similar base to Washington's b and o tax).

    Second, just as the federal alternative minimum tax has become the de facto measure of income taxation for many federal taxpayers, this new tax may become the de facto measure of tax for many unprofitable Oregon businesses--including start-ups and established companies suffering through a period of unprofitability (which you may have noticed is not all that uncommon these days).

    Third, just to be clear, the new minimum tax would be computed in accordance with the matrix you provided, but the numbers in the left column are gross revenue, not income. Thus, if the new minimum tax goes into effect, a company with $11 million of gross revenue but operating at a loss will have a $15,000 tax bill.

    Fourth, no one believes the gross receipts tax rate will remain at 0.1% for long if this thing actually becomes law.

    Finally, you seem pretty sure that no employers will leave the state if the tax measures go into effect. (Of course, we'll never know the employers that decide not to move here in the first place.) I am actually pretty certain that if these measures go into effect they will result in companies moving out of state. Let's make it interesting: if the tax measures do go into effect, if I can't identify a company that moves out of state before the end of 2010 where the owner identifies the tax measures as the primary cause of the move, I owe you dinner for two at the Portland restaurant of your choice. If I can, you owe me dinner for two at the Portland restaurant of my choice. Bet?

    Bob Wiggins

  • Bob Wiggins (unverified)
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    Sorry for the double post. Bob

  • christopheryamamoto (unverified)
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    Did you ever try to get the Medical Assistant degree? It is very easy and fast. Get a degree and get a job. Check out http://bit.ly/440dpp

  • David Wright (unverified)
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    After watching the intellectually rigorous contrarian positions taken on Chuck and Carla's latest posts, I'm clear that the Rand Acolytes have little concern about the relevance of their argumentation. Above all, they just wanna win, and they don't wanna pay anything ever to the rest of us in support of their chosen solipsistic belief system.

    Then with all due respect, Pat, you haven't quite grasped all of the points that have been made in those other threads.

    There are principled objections to the tax increases in question. Principles that do NOT actually rest upon Ayn Rand, or any form of solipsism, nor for that matter the spectre of massive job losses. What was that you were saying in the other thread about straw men??? ;-)

    I haven't seen any contrarian comments that suggest corporations should never pay any taxes. Perhaps I've missed some, and you can point one out to me.

    I haven't seen any contrarian comments that suggest "producers" (what is with the progressive obsession with the Rand bogeyman, anyhow?) should be exempt from contributing back to society.

    I don't even recall seeing any comments from original posters on this board lamenting thousands of job losses (let alone tens of thousands) if the existing bill is allowed to stand. I've seen you mention those comments now at least twice, referring to other people in other contexts making those arguments. But none from actual commenters on this site.

    I have seen comments that suggest that whom you take taxes from is perhaps as important as how much you take from them. Yes, I've even made such comments. And those are the principles upon which the more reasoned objections rest.

    Now, to put things in perspective, here's a little thought experiment for you. Yes, I realize that I'm making all of this up -- so before anybody jumps on me about straw men again, keep in mind this is just to demonstrate putting the shoe on the other foot. :-)

    Imagine that instead of the actual bills that were passed, the legislature attempted to close the budget gap with increased minimum individual taxes. I say increased because the current "minimum" can legitimately be said to be $0 -- the absolute least any individual can be made to pay is nothing.

    So imagine that the Oregon legislature effectively created a separate state AMT, on a sliding scale based on gross income (no deductions, exemptions, credits, etc.) Say the minimum amount was a token $5 per person, no exceptions. But it is graduated up as gross income increases, say to $30,000 for people with at least $1M of gross income. These are values that are quite likely to be lower than normal tax liability (after accounting for deductions, credits, etc.) for those at the high end of the scale, so most will pay more than the minimum anyway. But those minimums are quite likely to be higher than the normal tax liability for those at the low end of the scale, and most of them will end up paying the minimum rather than the normal liability.

    As a progressive, could you accept such a tax scheme as fair? Would you accept it as necessary if the measure was expected to bring in a needed few hundred million to the state budget?

    If supporters of the measure consistently demeaned opponents as squawking about a measly $5 increase in individual taxes -- the cost of one latte per year and surely anybody could afford that -- hell, even the homeless can beg for $5 in a year -- would that not be misleading when a range of minimums up to $30,000 was part of the bill (even though that top end would only apply to very few)?

    If you were to oppose such a scheme on the principle that individuals with no gross income (or very minimal gross income) ought not be required to contribute to society, because they are already struggling to get by, would that necessarily mean that you don't believe in individuals paying their "fair share"? Or would it mean that you might simply define "fair share" differently than the authors of the bill?

    If you were to oppose such a scheme because you felt that it was unfair to the "little guy", would it necessarily mean that you don't care about state-funded services such as education, public safety, and health care? After all, opposition to such a plan would mean slashing hundreds of millions from the state budget.

    Or would it mean that you do think that "from whom" is at least as important as "how much"?

    So, returning from our thought experiment... perhaps the actual legislation in question is the best available way to raise money for the state. Perhaps it isn't.

    Perhaps you have no sympathy for the principles behind some of the objections to the actual legislation.

    But that doesn't mean that all such objections are base and/or unprincipled.

    It doesn't mean that all such objections are beneath contempt and should be rejected out of hand simply because they come from someone with a different philosophical viewpoint than your own.

    Either way, creating caricatures of opposing viewpoints based on misunderstanding does not particularly advance the debate.

    And if you don't see the relevance of a particular opposing argument, I'll grant you that it may be true that the argument is in fact irrelevant.

    But it may instead be true that you simply don't understand the relevance and it's worth asking for clarification. Just something to consider.

    By the way, thanks very much for the table of corporate minimums. I believe that's the first such explicit documentation on this site (as opposed to an off-site link) of all the brackets between $150 and $100,000, and it is quite useful, factual information to have.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    The last time the democrat controlled legislature raised taxes temporarily I voted to keep them in place rather than overturn them. I am not sure I could say the same this time if it comes to a vote.

    I have grave concerns about the gross receipts tax and the fundamental changes it causes to computing tax liability for a business, even when it may be losing income on an annual basis.

  • (Show?)

    First, the matrix in table form was the reason for the post, but I will rarely allow the narrow mission to get in the way of a good rant opportunity.

    Second, the referral vote will not be determined by Blue Oregon posters and commenters. While I realize that there have indeed been several discussions of impressive wonkitude on the two previous threads, such discussions will not determine the fate of the vote in January.

    That will be decided by whether or not enough voters can wade through the misinformation and scare tactics to actually see the effects of a vote in either direction.

    So apologies in to all the MBAs and CPAs and fellow travelers addressing the issues with intellectual rigor. I'm addressing the other guys who are using these threads to try out various brands of intellectual Tasers with which they hope to stampede the uninformed to their POV.

    I can safely bet any number of dinners on that being the tenor of the argument out in the Big Room. It always has been and it will be this time.

  • Chuck Jones (unverified)
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    Only comment is that Christine's comments DO NOT represent ANY business organizations. Every business organization in the State, that I am aware of, opposes both tax bills. The organization she claims to be chair of, the Oregon Small Business for Responsible Leadership (OSBRL). is not a registered organization with the State of Oregon or the IRS and she refuses to supply any list of membership. As I see it she is the "self appointed chair".

  • (Show?)

    Ah, there you are Mr. Jones. One of the very Taser Testers under discussion.

    You can focus as much of your efforts as you see fit on attempting to delegitimize your critics, and I'm not going to get into a pissing match with you here.

    We'll see you out around the state, and we'll certainly continue to point out the quality of representation that your org offers to small businesses, and let people draw their own conclusions.

    Cheers.

  • Tom Rowland (unverified)
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    This is certainly a site for true believers. I didn't see a single example of any of the accusations being made,as though the examples were clear and self-evident. Many of the posts seemed to me to be nothing more than the pot calling the kettle black. "I'm not going to engage in a pissing match" is an example of a rather large stream of the yellow waste aimed at Mr. Jones unless you demonstrate that Mr. Jones is a "Taser Tester." Don't know what you mean but it didn't sound like evidence to me.

  • (Show?)

    I didn't see a single example of any of the accusations being made,as though the examples were clear and self-evident.

    Yeah you have a point Mr. Rowland. We are indeed kinda deep in the weeds here, but generally speaking what is "understood" is as follows:

    There have been three posts on this topic this week on Blue Oregon, of which this particular one is the least coherent.

    In the previous threads we saw the beginnings of attacks on "the messenger" (in this case my wife) by anonymous posters. These attacks did not address the substance or the recent history of this argument, but went right for her credibility as a spokesperson for a view that they oppose.

    As to Mr. Jones, we've never met, but he and Christine have interacted in ways both positive and negative over the past several years as each of them has pursued their lobbying efforts in Salem. The shorthand here has to do with me having watched how Mr. Jones and his fellows play the game in Salem and around the state, and the original post addresses the manner in which they play, based on........well.......how they have actually behaved in numerous similar situations over the past several years.

    I make no retraction. If these guys don't spend hundreds of thousands of dollars attempting to mislead the very people that they claim to serve in Salem, you'll see a huge apology from me in January.

    I know that extrapolation can be fraught with peril, but don't feel that I'm running much risk on this go around.

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