By Miranda Bonifield
You may not be able to tax carbon out of existence, but you can tax agriculture out of business.
That’s the refrain of Timber Unity, the coalition which sees the resurrection of last year’s cap-and-trade bill as a threat to businesses which have called Oregon “home” for decades. One woman at the Timber Unity protest in Salem February 6 said she would see an additional $45,000 in taxes if SB 1530 passes. That’s a non-starter for small businesses whose profit margins are often in the single digits.
In other words, hardworking people will be put out of business if this bill passes: folks who brought their trucks from around the state before dawn to remind Salem what the voice of Oregon sounds like. The atmosphere among the thousands gathered wasn’t tense or angry. The thousands gathered were just ordinary people who care about the environment and want to make an honest living.
Timber Unity has proposed alternatives that could help continue the downward trend of carbon emissions, which are already at their lowest level per capita since 1960. But a bipartisan compromise or referring the issue to voters don’t seem to be options. (Perhaps that’s because we already know passing a carbon tax would be a hard sell at the ballot box.)
As Senator Betsy Johnson (D, Scappoose) said, “Real Oregonians are affected by what we do in this building. …This was a bad bill last session. It’s a bad bill this session.”
Miranda Bonifield is Research Associate at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.
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By Eric Fruits, Ph.D.
With this year’s “short” session of the legislature, the $700 million a year cap-and-trade bill is on everyone’s mind.
As they say on the infomercials: “Wait, there’s more.” Way more. Way more taxes. This year, Portland area voters are facing at least six new tax measures.
First, we have Metro’s transportation package that will amount to more than $400 million a year in new taxes.
This week, Metro is also looking to move forward with another set of taxes for homeless services. That’s expected to cost about $300 million a year.
Then, we’ve got Portland Public Schools’ billion dollar plus school construction bond, where $200 million will be used to pay for cost overruns from the last bond measure.
Wait, there’s more.
In November, Portland voters will be asked to renew the city’s 10-cents per gallon gas tax.
In the Portland area alone, voters will see at least six new taxes totaling more than a billion dollars a year.
Also in November, ballots will go out for a $2 per pack increase in Oregon’s cigarette tax plus a massive new tax on vaping products.
Wait, there’s one more.
In response to House Speaker Tina Kotek’s call for a housing emergency in Oregon, Governor Kate Brown is pressing for a new tax on home sales. That’s right, the state with a housing affordability crisis is looking at a tax to make homes more expensive.
No matter how much they spend, they always want more. It’s time for Oregon voters to pick up their ballot and tell their politicians, “Enough is enough.”
Eric Fruits, Ph.D. is Vice President of Research at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.
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