Taxpayer Association update: Tax on seniors. Car phone ban

Taxpayer Association of Oregon Update:
By Jim Welsh,

1. Tax increase on seniors
2. Questionable tax panel
3. Two bills on cell-phone driving ban

Limited Medical Deduction for Elderly Taxpayers
The House Revenue Committee held a hearing on HB 2069 which limits the amount of federal deduction for medical expenses that an elderly taxpayer may subtract on Oregon taxable income. No stone shall be unturned. This is further evidence that the Revenue Committee will continue to remove, alter, and reduce the taxpayers ability to itemize deductions that have been allowed in the past. This change will limit deductible medical expenses annually to $6,000 instead of the 7.5% previously allowed. So the limitation will affect a taxpayer with income over $80,000 per year, and this is one more example of how the higher income taxpayer will be required to contribute more tax dollars.

Creation of Tax Expenditure Review Panel
The Senate Finance and Revenue Committee heard SB 26 which creates a Tax Expenditure Review Panel that is directed to review tax expenditure policy, advise Department of Revenue regarding purposes for which particular tax expenditure was enacted and make recommendations to Legislative Assembly and department regarding methodologies used to determine whether tax expenditure has achieved its purpose. It is supposed that this is an attempt to provide for good governance. And, the taxpayer would say, it is a good idea, if and only if, the Legislative Assembly will take action when the tax expenditure is not achieving its purpose.

Prohibits Use of Mobile Communication Devise While Driving
The House Transportation Committee heard HB 2038 which prohibits a person of any age from operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile communication device except when using the mobile communication devise with a hands-free accessory. The legislation also authorizes the suspension of driving privileges for repeat offenses. Most of us realized that this legislation was coming. There are several bills pertaining to this issue. This bill is probably the one that will get approval as most of us know that using a hands-free accessory is the safest way to use a mobile communication devise.

Prohibits Use of Mobile Communication Devise While Driving
The House Transportation Committee also heard HB 2377 which also prohibits a person of any age from operating motor vehicle while using mobile communication device except when using the mobile communication devise with a hands-free accessory. The only difference in this bill from HB 2038 is the provision to authorize the suspension of driving privileges for repeat offenses.

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