Will business groups speak up in opposition to Priority Oregon or hide behind their shirt tails?

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

If business organizations aren't going to support a reasonable increase in business taxes, the Legislature should eliminate all business subsidies and the public support of state agencies that exist to support business profits.

No more Lottery or General Fund support for Business Oregon, Regional Solutions, Connect Oregon, Oregon Inc, ONAMI, OTRADI, OWET, Oregon BEST, PIE, Drive Oregon and SOAR Oregon, state-sponsored trade missions, the Wave Energy Trust and the Agriculture and Forestry Departments. Let the sunsetting tax credits expire, along with the New Market Tax Credit. Drop Oregon RAIN, the Oregon Metals Initiative, and the Oregon Research Collaborative. Forget about public support of farmers’ water needs, the Western Juniper Industry Fund, the Main Street Grant Fund, and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Center.

Rather than again cutting teaching staff and underfunding the human services budget, the legislature should end all enterprise zones, Single Sales Factor, the Film and Video Labor Rebate and Tax Credit, equipment property tax exemptions, the Oregon Business Retention and Expansion Program, IC-DISC and pass-through income tax breaks, and the Industrial Site Readiness Program.

Oregon has seen an explosion of new funding for business programs over recent years. The two-year cost of the programs and tax breaks named above is over $835 million. In addition, Legislators could disconnect from federal tax law and no longer allow tax-free like kind exchanges, depreciation of property, and accelerated depreciation of equipment.

If the greater business community is unwilling to get behind a tax increase for themselves, then the Legislature absolutely needs to stop funding this grab bag of benefits and instead spend the resources on our children.

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