Tax and Budget

How the State of Oregon Gambles Away Its Lottery Proceeds

By Thomas Tullis When Oregon politicians pretend to be experts on venture capital investing, it ends up costing the state millions of dollars in education money. This is exactly what is going on with the Oregon Growth Board, a project of the Oregon Business Development Department. Tasked with generating a return on investment by financing […]

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Don’t Steal the Kicker

Would you like to pay $284 less in Oregon personal income tax next year? That’s what the average taxpayer may save if Oregon’s constitutional kicker law is allowed to take effect. The kicker law requires that if actual state revenue for a biennium exceeds the official economic forecast by two percent or more, the entire […]

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America’s 2015 Tax Bill? It’s 31% of the Work Year

Tax Freedom Day arrives this year on April 24, six days later than it was two years ago. Tax Freedom Day is a calendar-based measure of Americans’ cumulative tax bill. It is calculated as the day on which Americans have worked long enough to pay all their taxes. Americans will have worked 114 days to […]

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Oregon’s Minimum Wage Debate: Disadvantaged Youth Are Crucial Issue

The Oregon legislature is considering raising the minimum wage over the next few years from $9.25 per hour to as much as $15. What the minimum wage means for disadvantaged youth should be the central question of this controversial topic. Plenty of middle- and upper-class teenagers take their first jobs at the minimum wage, working […]

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Government-Imposed Minimum Wage Increases Don’t Work for Oregon Small Businesses

The concept that everyone should earn at least some government-mandated minimum wage is politically very appealing. It’s almost the classic example of taking from the few and giving to the many. “The few” in this case are portrayed as rich businessmen who could never spend all the money they have, so what’s wrong with making […]

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If the state loses $1.4 billion for schools and nobody notices, did it really happen?

The Oregon legislature is in the midst of its biennial quest for more public school funding. Advocates are so desperate for cash that they are even proposing that the state seize gift cards as “abandoned property” if some portion of the original value remains unused after three years. While grabbing gift cards is certainly creative, […]

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TriMet’s Great Disappearing Act

During the 2003 session of the Oregon State Legislature, TriMet sought an increase in the regional payroll tax rate. In public testimony, TriMet General Manager Fred Hansen said, “TriMet’s proposed payroll tax increase will be used exclusively to provide new or enhanced transit service.” The legislature approved TriMet’s request, and the payroll tax rate went […]

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Proposed Tobacco Tax Increase Will Simply Encourage More Smuggling

State legislatures across the country have piled on the tobacco taxes over the past decade. Not surprisingly, this has created a growing problem of tobacco smuggling. As the tax rate rises, it encourages people to buy products from low-tax states and sell them illegally in high-tax states. New York is the most obvious example of […]

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Testimony Regarding SB 324-A, Low-Carbon Fuels Standards

The top legislative priority for most Democrats in Salem has passed the Senate and will be up for its first public hearing in the House on Tuesday, February 24th. SB 324-A, the “low-carbon fuel standard” bill pushed so hard by Cylvia Hayes and former Gov. Kitzhaber, will be reviewed in the House Environment and Energy […]

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When Is a Tax Not a Tax?

Governor Kitzhaber wants you to drive less, and he knows that the best way to discourage driving is to make it more expensive. The simplest way to do this would be to raise the state gas tax, which is currently 30 cents per gallon. However, this would require approval by three-fifths of the state legislative […]

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