Manny Fest Destiny

By Jody Wiser of Portland, Oregon. Jody is an advocate for progressive tax policy at Tax Fairness Oregon.

Once upon a time a bill was passed called the “Business Energy Tax Credit” (BETC). The Manufacturing part of the BETC has recently been called “Manny.” As a runaway giveaway, Manny essentially gave away a million dollars per job created. In Nov. 2009 the Oregonian headlined “BETC Taking Its Place in Oregon Pantheon of Shame.”

Just Wednesday a new bill we could call “Manny Fest Destiny” was suddenly introduced in the House Revenue Committee as the final nine pages of HB 3367-7 (PDF). In this last minute maneuver, the Legislature could retain the disgraced BETC Manufacturing Tax Credit, with changes. This time it would cost taxpayers $228,000 per full time job. At the going tax rate, it would take 50-65 years of an employee’s income taxes to cover this giveaway for his/her job.

Flawed isn’t a strong enough word for what’s wrong with the bill (DOC). By contrast, the much more efficient OBREP (Oregon Business Retention and Expansion Program) passed in 2012 has already captured 275 new jobs at Oracle and SalesForce -- at a cost that will be returned by only two years of employee income taxes. That’s just 1/30th of what we’d give away to get jobs with this new bill. The Legislature should put more money into OBREP, not pass the Manny Fest Destiny bill. Why ever consider a bill that will pay businesses nearly a quarter a million per job?

The bill passed out of the House Revenue Committee Monday with only minor changes to the Manny section of the bill. It’s in the final pages of HB 3376-12 (PDF)

Manny is being touted for its high wage jobs. But even if every job created under Manny Fest Destiny paid a quarter of a million a year, it would take 13 years to recover the states’ giveaway per job.

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