What is the Oregonian Pushing For? What the Business-Backed Tax Plans Would Mean for Small Businesses and Middle Class Oregonians.
For the past three weeks, the Oregonian’s editorial board has hammered away on a single theme: Voters should reject tax increases on large corporations and the rich, and legislators should return in February to adopt tax proposals being pushed by the large business associations. But what the Oregonian hasn’t mentioned, even once, is what those proposals would mean for middle-class families and small businesses.
So, to help focus discussion on what the Oregonian is advocating, the following is a breakdown of the tax increases proposed by a coalition of associations that includes the Association of Oregon Industries and Associated General Contractors, leading funders of the opposition to Measures 66 and 67, and by the Oregon Business Association. (By the way, as you may know, I am working for the 'Yes' campaign.)
In short: the business associations proposed across-the-board tax increases that would raise taxes on the middle class and on small businesses, while large corporations and the rich would have paid less. If Measures 66 and 67 fail, these presumably are the plans that the Oregonian would have the legislature reconsider.
Author’s note: OBA has contacted me to say that their plan would have been revised to raise less money overall after the May 2009 revenue forecast. So the 1% across the board tax increase on all taxpayers would have been slimmed down to something less. OBA also said that most of their energy was directed toward developing the business tax increase plan; the personal tax increase proposal was not the focus of their efforts. That does not change the fact that since their business tax plan raised only a fraction of the money needed to balance the budget, personal income tax increases would have been necessary – and OBA’s proposal (whether well-thought-out or an afterthought) was to raise taxes across the board on everyone. So although it is reasonable to assume that a revised OBA proposal may have included smaller tax increases on middle-class families than their initial proposal, it is equally reasonable to assume that it would have continued to include middle-class tax increases.
The AOI plan called for raising income taxes on every family that makes more than $15,200 in taxable income, raising the corporate minimum to a flat $300, and increasing the tax on all corporate profits, regardless of size. But during the legislative session, AOI and their partners would only agree to a such a deal in exchange for cutting the capital gains tax by 44%, taking over $500 million out of the 2011-13 budget. In simpler words, they want middle-class families to pay more now in order to reduce taxes for the rich later.
Because small business owners generally pass their tax liability through their personal return, both OBA’s and AOI’s across-the-board increases would raise taxes on small business owners. Measures 66 and 67 protect most small business owners by holding their corporate minimum at $150 and only applying tax increases to household income above $250,000.
The Oregonians Against Job Killing Taxes campaign has spent months running a purposefully misleading campaign. But here’s their single biggest hypocrisy: The alternative plans to raise taxes would have done everything they falsely accuse Measures 66 and 67 of doing.
If either of these plans had been adopted, small bakery owners really would have seen their taxes increase, soccer moms really would have to pay more. There really would have been a tax increase on small agriculture businessmen in Ontario and, of course, dairy farmers in Tillamook. Now, the Oregonian wants voters to reject the targeted tax increases in Measures 66 and 67, and seemingly wants the legislature to adopt across-the-board tax increases on struggling families and small businesses instead. We believe voters strongly disagree with them.
For an even more detailed break down of the OBA and AOI's proposed tax increases, click here (pdf)
Click here to download the AOI Tax Proposal (pdf)
Click here to download the OBA Proposal (pdf)