The Oregonian editorial board must not be reading the paper’s news pages.
Friday’s editorial attacks Measures 66 and 67 without offering a single fact, or at least any that stand up to scrutiny.
The relevant portions read:
Two years ago, voters approved the tax increases offered through ballot measures 66 and 67. You'll recall that much of the argument used to sell those taxes was that someone else -- "the rich" in this case -- would end up paying the bills.
Now it's useful to review what happened. Income taxes rose for many families, since much of Oregon's business tax bill is really paid by individuals taxpayers operating small businesses. Taxes rose on high-volume, low-profit businesses. The budgetary "deficit" -- really the gap between state government spending plans and its actual income -- rose from about $2 billion to more than $3 billion as the economy continued to decline. Some businesses simply away by failing. Others moved out of Oregon.
Let me take it from the top.
1) The measures were approved in late January 2010, just a little over a year ago, not “two years ago.”
2) Small businesses either saw no tax increase or saw a total increase of no more than $150. That’s because under Measure 67 (PDF) sole proprietorships saw no tax increase and partnerships, LLPs, LLCs and S-corps saw their corporate income tax increase from either zero or $10 to a flat $150 no matter how big or profitable.
Surely that small tax increase not caused any business to fail. And as far as I can recall, The Oregonian has reported no such failure.
3) Under Measure 66 (PDF), families — including those that receive pass through income from their businesses — have had no tax increase unless they are among the fortunate few who make $250,000 or more in taxable income a year.
4). The state economists have made it clear that the current revenue shortfall is due to the fact that the Great Recession was deeper and longer than they had assumed in their earlier forecasts. They’ve also made it clear that we’d be worse off but for the measures.
5) There’s been no report of a business moving out of Oregon because of the measures — at least none that has held up to scrutiny. The Oregonian’s news division certainly hasn’t dug up proof of a business that fled because of taxes, while they have reported about lots of expansions and new Oregon businesses.
If it matters to Oregonians, consider the facts that matter, and be wary of what’s alleged in The Oregonian’s editorials.