We are pleased to report that following today’s closure
the Oregon courts will not be closed on Fridays. Legislative
leadership and the Co-Chairs of Ways and Means were able to
work with the Judicial Branch to alter their budget to free up
sufficient funding to allow the courts to remain open. We
congratulate Co-Chairs Senator Carter and Representative
Buckley for their successful work with Chief Justice De Muniz
to resolve this budget issue. It is our intent to work
collaboratively together to insure that the courts will remain
open through the next difficult budget cycle.
The growth of Oregon government
spending has exceeded the growth in family income by a five to
one margin since 2001. According to the Legislative Fiscal
Office and the US Census Bureau, Oregon state government
spending has grown 40 percent from $34 billion to $48 billion
over the past four budget cycles. During the same period
Oregon median family income has grown 12 percent from $39,798
to $44,682. This spending addiction is unsustainable. It is a
primary cause of the current budget shortfalls and inadequate
reserves that have required the distressing budget reductions
we are now experiencing.
All legislative bills that raise
revenue must be introduced in the House of Representatives.
House Democrats have introduced a number of revenue raising
bills that either increase taxes or increase fees. Rather than
addressing that spending addiction, our legislators are
focused on raising taxes. In fact, they have introduced more
than 50 bills that increase taxes and more than 100 bills
combined that increase taxes and fees.
HB 2077 would reduce the federal income tax exemption from
$3,000 to $1,500. This would raise taxes on every Oregonian
who pays more than $1,500 in federal income tax. The bill is
retroactive to January 1, 2009. In the first year this bill
would increase the income tax on Oregon taxpayers by about
HB 2649 creates an Oregon alternative minimum income tax.
The bill would levy a minimum 7.5 percent minimum tax on
adjusted gross income of $125,000 for single taxpayers or
$250,000 for joint filers. AGI is the amount of income after
the expenses of earning that income have been deducted. In the
first year this bill would increase the income tax on Oregon
taxpayers by about $145 million.
HB 2651 creates a new tax bracket establishing a 10
percent income tax on taxable income exceeding $125,000 for
single taxpayers or $250,000 for joint filers. This new tax
bracket would add $89 million to Oregon taxpayers during the
HB 2474 would reduce the discount for property tax
payments collected by November 15 from 3 percent to 2 percent
and for two-thirds payment from 2 percent to 1 percent. This
bill would have the net affect of increasing all timely paid
property taxes by 1 percent.
HB 3415 imposes a tax on each fuel supplier and utility
based upon the amount of carbon in carbon-based fuels that are
sold by the fuel supplier to consumers in the state. It also
would tax all carbon or carbon-based fuel used to produce
carbon-generated electricity that is supplied by any utility
to consumers in Oregon.
HJR 48 proposes to amend the Oregon Constitution to allow
the Legislative Assembly to impose taxes on carbon emissions
for the purpose of funding reductions in carbon emissions and
carbon fuel use.
HB 2696 would add back to Oregon taxable income any
capitol gains tax reductions achieved through a 1031 real
property exchange. The practical effect would be to abolish
the Oregon capitol gains savings now available with 1031 real
HB 2785 would suspend the Oregon income tax credit for
political contributions for two years. This would have the
practical effect of increasing the Oregon income tax liability
by $50 for each taxpayer who makes political contributions and
claims the tax credit.
HB 2818 would establish a 12.5 percent tax on all
automobile rentals having a contract duration of 30 days or
less. The tax revenue would be collected for the Department of
Transportation for highway purposes.
HB 2771 eliminates a tax exemption for small winemakers
thereby increasing taxes on their operations. HB 2461 levies a
draconian tax on beer called the prevention, treatment and
recovery tax on malt beverages.
HB 2122, and HB
2018 all increase taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco
HB 2698 would add back contributions to employee stock
ownership plans to Oregon taxable income. Contributions to
stock ownership plans by both employees and their employees
are currently exempt from federal taxable income. This bill
would make those contributions by both employees and employers
taxable for Oregon income tax.
HB 3309 similarly reduces the deductibility of currently
tax exempt gains in annuities.
HJR 29 and
HJR 31 all propose to reduce the amount of allowable
income tax deduction and credits that are not required under
federal law. The final three bills propose to amend the Oregon
Constitution to facilitate more taxation.
HB 3303 is my personal favorite. This bill levies a 10
percent excise tax on bird seed. This bill should be a prime
candidate for the “turkey of the year.”
It would appear that our legislative
colleagues may be unaware that our state and national
economies are in shambles and that the people who live in most
of the geographic area of Oregon are suffering through
unemployment as high as twenty percent. We invite you to let
them know how you feel about their solutions to our revenue
problem. You can find the contact information for all 90
elected officials on the Oregon State Legislature
website. Please be
sure to let us know of your opinions and concerns as well.
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