The Great Taxation of ’09

Sarah Ross

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With the recent dismissal of the Oregon legislative session, Oregonians have ended up with three things: taxes, taxes, and more taxes. The legislature raised taxes by over $1 billion this year by increasing the income tax on the wealthiest Oregonians and by raising the corporate income tax. Legislative leaders have claimed that these tax burdens on the state’s job creators will help create long-term jobs throughout the state. In reality, the loss of Oregon jobs and businesses is apt to be unfathomable.

The political right is not the only group of people protesting these additional revenue sources. The political left is also divided on the issue. Governor Ted Kulongoski has shown disappointment that the legislature did not do enough to create jobs, while the state’s largest newspaper claims that the Legislature has overstepped its bounds.

As things stand, Oregon businesses and taxpayers are not liable to let this issue die any time soon. A push to put the new taxes on the ballot has been initiated, and even legislators are skeptical about whether taxpayers will be willing to vote for such drastic tax increases. History has shown that Oregonians vote overwhelmingly against such measures. Yet, with the referendum campaign being backed by a powerful business coalition, legislators likely will need to find other ways to pay for their outrageous spending.

Sarah Ross is a research associate at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

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