The Media Continues to Swallow and Regurgitate the Big Corporate Lie About Measures 66 and 67

Chuck Sheketoff

That’s right, the reporter found a broker who couldn’t name one business that is moving. Perhaps most galling, the article mentions two companies by name who are moving to Washington and wrongly implies they are moving because of the tax measures

The corporate lobby that opposed Measures 66 and 67 has taken to heart the old adage that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. Sadly, it’s the media that’s swallowing and regurgitating the lie.

How else to explain the steady stream of poorly researched stories (three cited here) giving the false impression that there’s evidence the tax measures are driving businesses away?

The latest piece of shoddy journalism concerning Measures 66 and 67 appears in the Daily Journal of Commerce. In Businesses antsy to flee Oregon, the DJC reported:

Since late January, when voters passed measures to increase taxes on Oregon businesses, brokers in Southwest Washington say they have received dozens of calls from Oregon businesses looking into the possibility of relocating to Clark County.

Few businesses have made the move, but brokers in the Portland-metro area say more will probably follow suit as they seek lower taxes, more vacant space and cheaper rents.

If the DJC’s story had any substance, it would name the “few businesses” that purportedly have left as a result of the measures. — but there is no substance. The story relies on nothing more than quotes by real estate brokers who claim to have worried customers. Yet, as one of the brokers concedes, “None has committed to moving.”

That’s right, the reporter found a broker who couldn’t name one business that is moving.

Perhaps most galling, the article mentions two companies by name that are moving to Washington and wrongly implies they are moving because of the tax measures:

Most companies considering whether to move are still weighing the cost of a move against tax savings. But a few businesses have already announced they’re heading for Washington. Northwest Pipe moved its headquarters from downtown Portland to Vancouver at the end of last year. Eugene-based Farwest Steel last week announced that it has bought a 20-acre site at the Port of Vancouver USA, where it will build a new steel manufacturing facility.

Never mind that both companies will still pay Oregon corporate income taxes if they sell to Oregon customers and have any presence here.

Never mind that if Northwest Pipe and Farwest Steel are Oregon corporate minimum taxpayers they are in for sticker shock when they learn that the Washington B&O tax is greater that Oregon’s new corporate minimum tax.

The fact is that Northwest Pipe announced back in January 2008 – two years before the tax vote and one year before the legislature adopted the measures – that it was moving its corporate headquarters (they still have a manufacturing facility in North Portland). Obviously, there is no causal connection between Northwest Pipe’s move and Measures 66 and 67.

The fact is also that Farwest Steel’s move began well before the tax vote and that the move had nothing to do with the tax vote. According to a May 2010 story in The Oregonian, Farwest bought land in the Port of Vancouver to build a new plant earlier this year, but will keep its headquarters in Oregon. In that story the Port of Vancouver executive director Larry Paulson noted that the company had been searching for a location well before the tax measures, and the move had nothing to do with Measures 66 and 67:

Measures 66 and 67, controversial Oregon tax measures that imposed new taxes on business and the upper-income bracket, were not a factor in Farwest's decision, Paulson said.

"The tax measures were not a player," Paulson said. Farwest "was looking for a consolidation site long before Measures 66-67 were even proposed."

The Daily Journal of Commerce may be a fine newspaper, but this story is just plain shoddy and merely regurgitates the lie. The paper’s readers and all Oregonians deserve better.

Oregon Center for Public PolicyChuck Sheketoff is the executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. You can sign up to receive email notification of OCPP materials at

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    As a former Journalist, you make a very good point. Anecdotal evidence isn't journalist. If a business(s) is truly leaving due to measures 66 & 67, I think a reporter should provide the evidence to back up the claims.

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      Anecdotal evidence isn't data...and in this story there isn't even evidence - just vague "few businesses have made the move" etc.

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    No business is going to move until the lease is up.

    They start planning in advance of a lease expiring, and while they are reviewing moving, I would bet they are NOT hiring. Many business don't trust Government, especially here in Oregon.

    Why are you Chuck working to 1st over regulate, and now over tax companies. Shutting down a 7 year old Kool-Aid stand wasn't enough for just one overpaid regulator, what you needed 2.?

    Oh I know, your in the union pockets! The same unions that funded 75-80% of the 66-67 campaign.

    Government is the single biggest problem, and you and the unions just can't deal with the truth, and yea I understand, your paid to look the other way!

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    Randy, why are YOU working 1st to mislead, and now out-and-out lie about the effect of 66/67?

    Oh, I know, you're (apostrophes count, BTW) in the corporates' pockets. The same corporations (mostly big, mostly out of state) that funded 90% of the No on 66/67 campaign.

    Corporate control of our government and every other aspect of our lives is the single biggest problem, and you and the corporations just won't deal with the truth, which is why your corporate propaganda outlets (aka the DJC and most other rags) are paid to keep spewing the same lies, over and over, as demonstrated by Chuck's actual, er, FACTS.

    Not that a good propagandist like you would let a silly thing like the truth get in the way of your ideology.

    Troll clean-up on aisle 9!

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    My "anecdotal" statement was made because it's easy as a writer to use quotes or sound bites as evidence; unfortunately, many reporters don't back up the claims made by the one providing the quote/sound bite.

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    The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence...

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    Worse is that 66 and 67 to us the small business owners, this is evidence of an anti-business regulative climate that we have in Oregon.

    Jay Cosnet quote "Corporate control of our government and every other aspect of our lives is the single biggest problem"

    People Like Jay really believed this, and want to punish large business which Oregon has only 2 S&P 500 companies.

    Oregon is loaded with small companies, and this board and government is attacking us and other entrepreneurs who are creating jobs and business from scratch that provide many good family paying jobs, and benefits.

    My friends and I are the small business owners who here every day our government CLAIM: They are here to helping us.

    We know 100% from Gov. actions they're help is, regulating and taxing us out of business.

    Just ask the 7 year old lemon-aid girl who the regulators forced to close or pay $120 day fee, for a Kool-Aid stand selling 50 cent drinks.

    The lesson she should learn is with state fees and regulations, she could never make any money, no matter how hard she worked or how much money she invested.

    Were taxing, regulating, just plain putting down the entrepreneurs\capitalist, and thus we are kill the real seeds to grow jobs, and thus the economy.

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      Good points is nice rhetoric but empty. And their attempt to make the screw up over the lemonade stand a poster child (literally) for over regulation is laughable.

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        To your point on the lemonade stand...I can see the outrage if she was in her front yard. She wasn't. She was acting as a food vendor at a public event.

        Had she made 40 people sick b/c she mishandled the lemonade, the gov't would have been vilified for not properly checking all vendors. Now, how can any beverage vendor be required to have a permit? If I set up a lemonade stand at the same event and was not permitted to sell for lack of a permit, couldn't I sue the County for age/gender discrimination?

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    Micheal your anti-business if you could give a blanket demonetization quote like "wall street"/multi-nationals, who rightly deserve our scorn"

    It's to bad we're killing and demonize success. The same success I'm wishing for my children. I hope they could take my companies or be so successful that they could afford Rose Garden suites.

    If my children achieve a high level of success, will you villain-ism them too?

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    Hi Chuck your quote: "the screw up over the lemonade"

    Their was no screw up, the two overpaid regulators were following the rules, doing their duty. It happens everyday, it's endless, finally the press picked up a poster child.

    PS "The real poster child is Obama care". Our President told us it will save us money and help create jobs. Half of owners are scared to death of the new regs and taxes. My cost is already up 20% across the board. So please Gov. don't help me save money, I can't afford it.

    Your regulating then enforcing, rules, repeatedly and lawfully, that do, have, and are designed first and foremost to raise money, fees, and taxes for the Gov. like 66-67, that kill jobs and success.

    The BS that is hard for me to deal with, is the constant rhetoric that Gov. is out to help small businesses create jobs.

    Please just be honest.

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      "Half of owners are scared to death of the new regs and taxes."

      They're scared of what they've BEEN TOLD about them by lying right-wing demagogues. Kinda like the people who bought every gun they could get their hands on before Obama was inaugurated because they'd been told "Obama is gonna take everybody's guns away."

      That hasn't happened, and the dire consequences predicted for "Obamacare" are not going to happen either. But by the time that becomes clear the demagogues like Beck, Limbaugh and Larson will have found some new imagined horror to scare people with.

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    Your quote"Had she made 40 people sick b/c she mishandled the lemonade"

    So I take it the $120 permit was a good thing?

    That's where I have my problem, I don't believe the permit would have helped the quality, or changed her actions, except to cost her more time, money, and hassles in endless government lines.

    It's just another way for Government to gain more fees and control, under the disguise that it's here to help BS.

    I hear that every day as a small business, I know by the Gov. actions, they are just trying to gain more money.

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      Why do food booths serving food to the public need to get a temporary restaurant license?

      In order to protect the public's health, the Health Department requires all food service facilities to obtain a license and be inspected. Through inspection, the Health Department is able to identify hazardous conditions that allow bacteria to grow, and bacteria and viruses to be spread to food items. These are the conditions that are responsible for causing food-borne illnesses. After identifying these conditions the Health Department is able to work with the operator of the food booth to eliminate and control these conditions.

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    "In order to protect the public's health" yea yea, Obama told me my health care cost would go down, Kurt Schrader said he wanted to bend the curve.

    Well my company health care cost is up 20% across the board and I need to lay off another person to pay for health care. Thanks for the health care cost and government "protection" .

    In order to protect me I heard it a 1000 times from government, Yes we need some government but 9 out of 10 cases, with the excessive cost, the bureaucratic red tape, and just plain waste, it hurts us much more than it will ever helps.

    I don't want government protection(involvement)with a 7 year girl selling Kool-Aid stand and yes that is the law, even if it is my own kids in my front yard.

    It took Fred Meyers 15 years to get a permit to build a store by my house. 15 years of government bureaucratic red tape.

    Why don't you just admit it, our government in Oregon is anti-business 66-67 was just one of many trophies for the progressives to kill business and jobs.

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    Hi Bruce your quote ""Half of owners are scared to death of the new regs and taxes."

    They're scared of what they've BEEN TOLD about them by lying right-wing demagogues""

    No we the owners make hundreds of decisions every day, I knew the cost would go up a lot, but even I never thought it would go up so much so fast.

    I knew Obama was lying, when said if it cost us (America deficit)more than dime I wouldn't approve it. I didn't know at the same time he was cooking the CBO books to make it look profitable.

    In my business if we cooked the books and then prosperously lied about it we would, rightly go to jail. He got s slap on the back by the VP and told it was a big F**king deal.

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      Randy - The only thing worse than your logic is your writing. I can't understand half of what you write. The half I do understand makes me glad I don't understand the rest.

      Do yourself a favor, cut yourself off from the "conservative," government-hating propogandists and spend more time with your kids or business. You'll be happier and your head won't be so far up your posterior.

      I apologize to the Blue Oregon community for not countering Randy with facts and arguments like others have so nobly done, but I have several Randy-types in my life. Facts and rationalism is like kryptonite to these people.

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    I know that when someone paints with such a broad, loaded emotional brush as Randy does here there are identity issues weaved into their prospective that disallow nuanced or complex understandings of the relationships of the parts, in this case "government" and "small business." But I worry that there may be other readers, specifically business owners and managers, that may be swayed by the rant. I want to offer up the Oregon Trade and Innovation team as a sterling example of how government is directly and passionately fighting alongside and on behalf of Oregon businesses to enhance their efforts. Additionally, the "Economic Gardening" bill that recently passed is a great example of– GASP!– Progressive lawmakers working tirelessly on behalf of small and medium sized state businesses. There are many others also. I think it's important to point out that the revenue from 66/67 to a large degree was about funding schools, and that is fundamentally about as pro-business an undertaking as possible in the long term.

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    Good fun with the Steve Duin article on this topic, referencing a ncie little study put together by our own John Calhoun.

    The best part is in the comments section where each time someone asserts that they "know" about businesses that have left Oregon due to the new tax measures, he asks for a citation. As of this AM, there were no takers.

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