2012 Taxpayer Agenda: 5 great Legislative Session Ideas

By Taxpayer Association of Oregon

The 2012 Legislative Session contains hundreds of bills and ideas. We have focused on five great ideas already pioneered and sponsored by various lawmakers to help reform government and cut taxes.

1. Repeal Measure 67 Business Tax

Measure 67 was a tax on virtually every business in Oregon. Measure 67 even raised taxes on businesses that were not making a profit. State Representative John Huffman is authoring legislation to repeal it to help turn the economy around and get small businesses hiring again.

2. Stop the “Facebook” Tax
Facebook recently built a data center in Central Oregon that helped employ over 1,000 Oregonians. Those jobs helped in an Oregon county suffering with over 15% unemployment. Right after the new building was complete, Facebook was hit with a surprise tax bill that was 15 times higher than expected. The debate over the tax bill arose over the state expanding tax definitions so that internet companies are taxed like utility companies and over taxing intangible assets like their “brand name”, software and patents.

State Representative Mike McLane is sponsoring a bill to fix the tax expansion rule over this specific Facebook case (which deals with data centers and enterprise zones). There is also the larger messages this bill delivers which is (1) Oregon businesses need tax predictability (2) Oregon welcomes high tech firms and (3) we must stop tax expansion where tax are increased by simply adjusting the definition of what is taxed.

3. Eliminate hidden cash tax reserves
State Senator Chris Telfer is a CPA who began a serious in-depth investigation of unspent funds being held in the state budget. Her investigation was met with reluctance and resistance by various state budget officials and agencies. Telfer discovered $680 million in unrestricted funds. Some of these funds are simply “leftover” unspent tax dollars that could be used to fund the budget instead of badgering taxpayers for more money to bailout government.

4. Sunset laws for state regulations
Since 1997, Texas has had sunset laws for their state agencies & state commissions. Sunset laws force agency regulations and policies to undergo a mandatory review and approval process or be abolished. Sunset laws help weed out wasteful, duplicative and outdated government rules. State Senator Bruce Starr is working on a bill to create Sunset laws in Oregon.

5. Oppose all tax increases
Because the state budget is falling below forecasted revenue of $300 million, there is danger that taxpayers will be hit with tax and fee increases. Rep. Jim Weidner is calling on the February Legislative Session to balance the budget with existing revenue and not harm taxpayers or our economy with more taxes.

If you like these ideas please consider…..
(1) Emailing, Tweeting & Facebooking this article (very effective!!!)
(2) Contacting the lawmaker sponsors, Representative John Huffman , Representative Mike McLane ,   Senator Chris Telfer Senator Bruce StarrRepresentative Jim Weidner
(3) Or make support our campaign to promote the 2012 Taxpayer Agenda across the state.

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Posted by at 03:05 | Posted in Uncategorized | 41 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Bob Clark

    I hear the public employee unions are working initiatives to, among other things, increase the surcharge on wage and income earners making over the $150 to $250k range per year.  They’re up to no good as usual.  This may be our biggest tax increase threat this year.  Kind of like whack a mole:  Take care of the legislative threat, and out pops the moles from another hole.  School Choice and Right-to-work are the ultimate whack solution.

    • 3H

      Yeah, not so sure about Right-to-Work.  More like, Right to be Paid Less.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    Repeal of measure 67 would be a really good idea. This was an absolutely outrageous, and arguably cruel tax that was won on the single fact that most people are not cognizant of the method by which Type S corporations pay taxes.

    Most corporations are type S. Since S corps pay all taxes on the personal side, not the corporate side, naturally any statistic that includes them regarding what corporations pay in taxes will be an astonishingly low number as you are including corporate entities, S Corps, that by law will always show zero corporate taxes since all their taxes are paid on the personal returns of the shareholders.

    S Corps are small business. It would not be at all unusual for a small business in this economy to have seen gross sales drop by 25% from pre recession levels. If you are a guy running a small convenience store, that may very well mean you just took a 25% pay cut.

    To be taking those kinds of pay cuts, and then have your taxes jacked on top of it is outrageous.

    Measure 67 was put in place largely due to the efforts of one group – The OEA. They ran ads non stop saying how businesses were not paying their fair share. That most business paid no corporate income tax beyond the $10 fee.

    It was a pack of lies. It needs to be repealed, and it is Exhibit A in why I say I do not support teachers unions in any way shape form.

  • Jan

    I hope someone will introduce a bill to Sunset all dedicated revenue streams and force a revue of all programs previous legislaures have willy-nilly granted an ongoing never questioned, never-ending source of tax revenue.  Once started, there are no audits for duplications, no audits for effectivness and no audits to contain agency growth & expansion.

  • Steve Killjoy

    So interesting to see the call to overturn the will of the voters on Measure 67 (and by opposing all tax increases, when voters approved the last two statewide taxes they got sent). 

    • Rupert in Springfield

      When the average voter has no concept of how corporation pay taxes, and cannot differentiate between a type S and type C Im not so sure it was a will of the voters rather than an impressive misinformation campaign.

      I base this on the single fact that most people I know voted for the measure. When I thanked them for raising my taxes they were appalled. They simply had no concept that what they were doing with regard to small business wasn’t raising a tax at all, it was raising a fee to hand in your taxes as well as to maintain your business registration.

      These aren’t corner store bumpkins either. They simply were swayed by the ad campaign which never referred to what was being raised as what it was, a fee, not a tax.

      I asked them if they were seriously under the impression that because I am incorporated I paid only $10 a year in taxes.

      They would say of course not. They would then ask what this $10 thing was that was raised by 67.

      I explained that when you do personal taxes, you hand in the forms and thats it. When you do corporate taxes, you hand in the forms along with a fee for the privilege of doing so. It’s simply a fee for handing in tax forms. It has no bearing on profits, losses, income or wages for a type S business, the majority in Oregon and the country.

      Most were horrified and frankly felt tricked. I have never met a one, and virtually all my friends are Democrats, who understood they were raising a fee not a tax.

      Will of the people measure 67 was not. Big union money it definitely was.

      • 3H


        When the average voter has no concept of how corporation pay taxes, and cannot differentiate between a type S and type C Im not so sure it was a will of the voters rather than an impressive misinformation campaign.”

        And if it were repealed, wouldn’t that same complaint still be in play?  Or would you assume it was the correct vote because the people had been “educated”?   Even if a lot of corporate money was spent on the repeal?

        Isn’t that the common complaint when your side (I’m referring to both Democrats and Republicans) loses – that the people didn’t understand?  That they were ignorant?

        Measure 67 was the will of the people.  Unless you are willing to question all elections where a large amount of money is spent by one side or the other.

        Oh, just to add some nuance.. I actually voted against it.  Not because it raised the minimum tax, but because I thought making it retroactive was unfair.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          >Or would you assume it was the correct vote because the people had been “educated”?

          When I explain the issue to people I know they to a one have said they would never have voted on it the way they did, so from an anecdotal standpoint yes I would say so.

          >Even if a lot of corporate money was spent on the repeal?

          Since a lot of union money was spent on passage, there is no reason to think a lot of corporate money spent on repeal is any less valid.

          Given that the spending ratio of union money was quite a bit more than corporate money on the measure 67 issue, you tend to invalidate your objections with this complaint.

          >Measure 67 was the will of the people.  Unless you are willing to
          question all elections where a large amount of money is spent by one
          side or the other.

          The question is are you willing to apply your own prescription?

          Are you willing to say that because passage was based on union money far outspending corporate money that it was not the will of the people?

          >Oh, just to add some nuance.. I actually voted against it.  Not because it raised the minimum tax…

          Again this invalidates your contention that this was the will of the people and tends to validate mine that the people were misinformed by heavy union spending.

          As applies to type S corps, which are the vast majority of those affected, it did not raise taxes one penny. It raised two fees, not taxes which are all paid on the personal side by type S by law.

           

          • 3H

            As long as you acknowledge that it’s anecdotal and doesn’t necessarily reflect the reality of how, or why, most people voted.   I’m willing to bet there was also some ignorance involved on the part of people who voted against the measure.


            Since a lot of union money was spent on passage, there is no reason to think a lot of corporate money spent on repeal is any less valid.” 

            You argued that the passage wasn’t the “will of the people” but rather just union money.  Presumably, by your argument, if the measure was revoked, and a lot of corporate money went into the rescinding the measure, then it still wouldn’t be the will of the people.  Yes?

            “Given that the spending ratio of union money was quite a bit more than corporate money on the measure 67 issue, you tend to invalidate your objections with this complaint.”

            I wasn’t complaining, I was asking you a question.   Not sure where you got the idea that I had a complaint, and there is nothing to invalidate.

            Are you willing to say that because passage was based on union money far outspending corporate money that it was not the will of the people?”

            I never claimed that passage was based upon a lot of union money being pumped into the election.  That was your claim.

            >Measure 67 was the will of the people.  Unless you are willing to 
            question all elections where a large amount of money is spent by one 
            side or the other.

            The question is are you willing to apply your own prescription? I didn’t present a prescription, I trying to find out if   you consistent in your apparent belief that there is no “will of the people” when one side outspends the other side.   I am curious.. do you have a percentage in mind? ” Again this invalidates your contention that this was the will of the people and tends to validate mine that the people were misinformed by heavy union spending.Not at all.  Simply because I voted against the measure for the reason stated, doesn’t mean that other people who voted for the measure necessarily voted out of ignorance; one does not logically follow the other.   They may have simply disagreed with me.  I remember the campaign, and I do know that it was stated often that the tax was retroactive.   Evidently that didn’t matter to many of the voters.  I suspect the reasons people voted for the measure are much more complicated and varied than the scenario you present.   

          • valley person

            It sounds like Rupert supports getting corporate and union money out of politics, but that violates free speech rights according to Rupert’s 5 Supremes.

          • 3H

            Yeah, it sounds like that.  We’ll have to see.

            Rupert: do you think Citizens United was a bad decision?  Are you in favor of campaign finance reform – removing the big money from elections?

          • Rupert in Springfield

            You are kidding right?

            You have just exempted yourself from being consistent on campaign funding and now you are trying this kind of stuff?

            You have got to be kidding me?

            Get back to me when you have something a little less laughable than Union money influencing an election means the will of the people, but Corporate money does not.

          • 3H

            Show me where I was inconsistent Rupert.  Where did I say one was OK and the other wasn’t?

            Just because you say something is so, doesn’t make it so.  Provide me with the exact quote. 

          • Rupert in Springfield

            Sounds like Dean didn’t read my argument.

          • valley person

            Which argument would that be?

          • 3H

            You are so hypocritical Rupert.   

          • Rupert in Springfield

            OK – So if an initiative is heavily influenced by corporate money (a
            hypothetical) you ask me to condemn it as not the will of the people,
            but when an initiative is heavily influenced by union money (the actual
            situation at hand) you say that represents the will of the people.

            And on top of that you are asking me to be consistent?

            I think I can safely say you have brought new meaning to the term intellectually dishonest.

            I mean that’s an absurd position – if unions heavily outspend
            corporations, its the will of the people, but if the reverse is true it
            is not. What the hell is that?

          • 3H


            OK – So if an initiative is heavily influenced by corporate money (a 

            hypothetical) you ask me to condemn it as not the will of the people, 
            but when an initiative is heavily influenced by union money (the actual 
            situation at hand) you say that represents the will of the people.

            I didn’t say it wouldn’t be the will of the people if large amounts of corporate money flooded an election, and that election seemed to follow the money.   No where.   I did not say one was good, and one was bad.    I’m asking, would you still claim that it wasn’t the will of the people if large amounts of corporate money flooded an election, and the result of that election seemed to follow the money.

            I have not given an opinion either way.  Oddly, you haven’t seen fit to ask.  You seem to believe you know in advance.  

            I never said that one was OK and the other wasn’t.  You want intellectual dishonesty?  Twisting someone’s words to fit a conclusion you’ve created in your mind – created from an assumption you base upon my politics.  You don’t bother to ask because you think you already know my position.  That is intellectual dishonesty.   

            Not answering a question and instead going on the attack is misdirection.  Also a form of intellectual dishonesty.

            That is two strikes Rupert.  Want to go for strike three?

            Show me, by my words, where I said that large amount of Union money in an election is OK and large amounts of Corporate money is not.  Show me the quote.  

            Having a civil discussion with you is impossible because you simply are not interested.   You won’t answer the question, and then you twist my words to pretend that I said something I never said.  Let me clue you in on something – you don’t know me well enough to take the liberty with assumptions that you do.

            So, again, show me where I said that large amounts of Union money is OK, and large amounts of Corporate money is not.   

          • valley person

            Rupert, you should consider the possibility that people “agree” with you after you “explain” things to them so you will go away and bother someone else.

            Your fees was raised by what…$150? Stop whining and pay up. Get over it.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            I think when all you have to add is a sentence attempting to deliver an insult, but consisting of only astonishingly  poor grammar and totally incorrect figures it really is kind of funny

            Keep flailing away Dean, you are truly a dolt.

          • valley person

            Typo on fee(s) not grammar. Let he who is without sin…..

          • valley person

            It wasn’t an insult. I was trying to help you keep your friends. Lord knows you probably need all you can get.

  • Reper

    Huffman is taking on a big challenge. Interesting to see him take the lead.

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