The disingenuous opposition to Measure 97

Chuck Sheketoff

The corporate-funded opposition to Measure 97 doesn’t seem to care about facts and consistency. Case in point: an op-ed in The Oregonian by ECONorthwest’s John Tapogna, who represents the Oregon Business Council in the Measure 97 campaign.

Rather than rebut his piece point-by-point, I’ll just get to the core issue: the disingenuousness of Tapogna’s lengthy criticism of a narrow gross receipts tax affecting only the largest corporations.

Why is it disingenuous? Because earlier this month, in a debate I had with Tapogna (a link to recording), I asked him what his alternative to Measure 97 would be. His response: an across-the-board gross receipts tax (hear the question and Tapogna’s answer starting at 31:21). So the Oregon Business Council’s Tapogna devotes an op-ed to maligning a narrow gross receipts tax that would apply only to the largest (and mainly out-of-state) corporations, but he and the business lobby he represents favor a broad gross-receipts tax that would apply to the restaurant down the street, the neighborhood barbershop and all other businesses, regardless of their structure or profitability.

This is consistent with a pattern from the Oregon corporate lobby, which has come out guns blazing against Measure 97. For ages, the Measure 97 foes have been pushing for corporate tax loopholes and needless, wasteful and ineffective tax subsidies, while also hawking a sales tax that would most definitely hit all consumers. They are fine with raising (some, not enough) revenue, so long as someone else pays for it: Oregon families. The Oregon Business Council and others in the opposition to Measure 97 want to stick to business-as-usual: paying far too little in corporate taxes to support schools and other key services.

Don’t be fooled by the corporate lobby’s disingenuous arguments. If Measure 97 were a tax that would be passed on to consumers, corporations would support it. Instead, Measure 97 is a tax that will be paid by the largest, mostly out-of-state corporations — the same kind that have been shirking their tax responsibilities for far too long and to the detriment of Oregonians.

The Oregon Center for Public Policy has the answers to your questions about Measure 97.

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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