Governor Kitzhaber has called a special session of the Oregon legislature to enact what he calls the Economic Impact Investment Act of 2012. It would give him the authority to directly negotiate with, and offer “tax certainty” to, any company promising to create at least 500 jobs and invest at least $150 million over five years in our state. Any future changes in Oregon’s business tax structure would not apply to such firms over the lifetime of their agreements.

The urgency of this proposal comes from the fact that Nike is looking to expand soon and is apparently being courted by other states. According to the Governor, if his proposal is rushed into law, Nike has agreed to expand here with a proposed $400 million investment and more than 2,000 jobs.

Unfortunately, the Governor made it clear that he would only approve such deals for companies that create a lot of relatively high wage jobs. He explicitly rejected the idea that a company offering 500 minimum wage jobs, for example, would be approved.

While it’s good to seek high wage jobs here, rejecting low wage jobs hurts those with little education and/or few skills. These are often the young and minorities. They have little reason to rejoice over the Governor’s new plan.

Granting Nike tax certainty is a good idea, but it would be an even better idea if all companies got the same certainty—big and small alike. That way, all Oregonians would stand to benefit.

Steve Buckstein is founder and Senior Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.


6 Responses to “Tax Certainty for Nike? “Just Do It” for All”

  1. Fred Countryman December 12, 2012 at 4:27 am #

    Q: What party did Nike donate to?

  2. Kent Byron December 15, 2012 at 1:02 am #

    Hi, Steve:

    I thought the U.S. Constitution forbade passing of a law for or against one person or other entity.

  3. Bill Rid December 15, 2012 at 1:32 am #

    Today a Job is a Job Kitz…what you’re doing is the same as some moron did two generations ago, trying to size tracers coming over the cockpit. A tracer is a tracer Gov. The Govs plan is typical liberal misdirection, picking winners and losers in the work place. Gov go back to sleep and get out of the way. You’re a two face like your liberal cousins in Washington DC.

  4. Jim Wagner December 15, 2012 at 3:40 am #

    Steve, there is no silver lining in the governor’s cynical Nike subsidy. This sort of commercial favoritism is the essence of Fascism? To which party do you suppose Nike will now donate? With this transparent play our governor has formalized open collaboration between his administration and certain privileged corporations, and he has done so at the expense of small businesses and the consuming public. In the England of our colonial era cotton was outlawed for the protection of wool. Will the governor now outlaw New Balance for the protection of Nike? If state sponsored monopolies were his stated objective, what better policy could the governor have fashioned to foster them?

  5. Gordon Fiddes December 15, 2012 at 5:40 am #

    Rather than take on the gross tax uncertainty Oregon’s businesses face, we have place a bandaid on the biggest wound. Until the state of Oregon ensures our taxes and regulations on businesses come down to earth and remain there, our economy will be adrift, subject to the ebbs and flows of the national economy. It is no wonder the state has predicted doldrums for the next 10 years, just like they did two years ago.

    These past three years have been the worst my business has seen in thirty years. Right after the election, once the Democrats’ cemented control of the Oregon House and Senate for the next two years, the governor announced the state of Oregon would be raising taxes. This is the direction the Democrats want to take businesses in Oregon, except selected exclusions, of course.

    • R.P.Charlton December 15, 2012 at 11:51 am #

      State, Local and Federal governments will do anything to aquare more funds to spend and expand their power and voting influnce for retaning threre elected positions. All done with little or no concideration for the good of the general public. Both parties will do this with no reguard of the outcome.

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