FreedomWorks: Legislature considers $800 Million in new taxes

Russ Walker,
FreedomWorks Oregon Chapter

This week the Democrat co-chairs of the Ways and Means Committee announced their budget plan. It includes an $800 million tax increase on the “wealthy”. In reality the tax is a job killer, a massive increase targeting small and family businesses. All in a time when Oregon has 12 percent unemployment, the second highest in the nation and still growing.

According to House Speaker Dave Hunt (D- Clackamas County) the budget keeps the promise Democrats made to voters “”¦that we provide a fair and balanced approach that shows we are tightening our belts and does not balance the budget on the backs of middle class Oregonians or those that need our help the most”¦” But that is exactly what the co-chairs’ budget does: it punishes the middle class for pursuing the American dream. The irony is that while the Democrats raise taxes on small and family businesses they are giving tax credits to their political friends and large corporate entities. Moreover they are expanding the state budget by an astounding 9 percent this biennium.

The tax increase punishes the middle class with a 22 percent increase in taxes on small and family businesses. It raises taxes for the top 10 percent of income earners (filers), which are married couples making over $250,000 per year combined or individuals making over $125,000 per year. Typical of the Democrat leadership to target a perceived minority with a massive tax increase. They also rely on the fact that most Oregonians have no idea that over 65 percent of those filers are small and family businesses that are struggling to survive and keep their few employees employed. They cannot absorb a 22 percent increase in their taxes.

This tax is a massive job killer that hits small and family businesses the hardest. Those small businesses are the engine of Oregon’s economy and their success is crucial if Oregon wants to climb out of its current recession. The more they have to send to the government, the less they will have to spend on creating new jobs””or paying current employees.

There are 31,000 filers that are impacted. Of the 31,000 filers 20,000-21,000 are small businesses, LLC, S corps or partnerships that report their income on K-1 reports. Another 6,000-8,000 filers use a schedule C and are sole proprietorships, which is typical for many family farms and small businesses. That means of the 31,000 impacted filers 26,000-29,000 of the 31,000 filers impacted are what are called “pass-thru entities”. This tax increase hits the middle class and those that who need the most help today, small and family businesses.

It is sad that the current Democrat leadership in the House and Senate and the Governor are so short sighted that they are prepared to increase job killing taxes on the engine of Oregon’s economy, in a misguided effort to reward those that eat at the public trough. At a time when many of us are trying to find ways to spend less, this tax increase will allow Oregon’s politicians to increase state government spending by an astonishing 9 percent in the next biennium. At a time when Oregon families are seeing no increase in the personal income and many are struggling to make ends meet.

What they should do is cut wasteful and unnecessary spending, encourage economic growth by reducing barriers to market entry and providing tax relief to hard working families and small businesses, and reform state land use regulations that create huge obstacles to economic development.

Oregon needs more jobs, not more job-killing taxes.

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Posted by at 05:59 | Posted in Measure 37 | 36 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Jessie

    The Dems are doing the right thing. Returning the money to its rightful owners. The poor.

    • Syella

      Jessie, the poor do not create jobs they fill them. Get rid of the rich and you will have more poor.

  • working man

    Come on Mr. Walker. People making $250,000 per year can afford to pay higher taxes. How could anyone could even spend that much money?

    If that is what it takes to save our schools from devastating cuts and continue much needed services to the poor and the elderly, then let the well off pay up.

    If you think voters are going to by sympathetic to your predictable Republican plea to protect the wealthy at the expense of everyone else, then you are confused and misguided.

    • anonymous

      Dear Working Man,
      If you “worked” for me, IOW, I am the employer and you are the employee, I would make this suggestion to you.

      Why in the hell, if you think your’re so damned smart/capable, don’t you start your own business doing what you do now. Until such time as you do, I’d suggest you keep your mouth shut, do your work, and appreciate everyday the fact that I TOOK THE RISK, CONTINUE TO TAKE THE RISK, to employ sad sacks like you!

      • Sybella

        You are so right. Why doesn’t the working man \start his own business. I know why, he doesn’t have what it takes. I’m with you, when he gives up his home, his retirement and his family to become an employer, then he can talk. I’m a business owner, my business goes through more than $250,000. You know where that goes and how it’s spent. It’s to pay the salary of idiots like workingman. Bet he’s a lousy worker, sitting around complaining and whining.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      Look – To a large extent you are right. Someone making $250,000 a year can pay more taxes. You ask them to be understanding of the reasonableness of that position. To pay for those services you do not feel obliged to pay for.

      I would say to you that you should also have the same understanding and reasonableness when you are denied a raise.

      I doubt you will. I have a feeling you will squeal like a stuck pig. I have a feeling I will never meet the “working man” who actually acts as reasonable as he expects “the rich” to act when it is his money being affected.

      Will you pay more for all these services you list? Of course not, they are not important enough to you. You expect others to pay. Well, please be understanding when your job is cut because your employer moves elsewhere. Then it will be your turn to pay. I will hope your response to that situation will be as reasoned and as selfless as you seem to expect of others. I doubt it though. The response from you will be as predictable as ever. You will complain about evil employers shipping jobs overseas, not paying a living wage, yadda yadda. In short you will be standing in an empty field, all the employers having left, and will bemoan the fact that there is no one there to provide you with a job and to pay for the services you demand but wont pay for.

      What then?

      Will you mortgage your house, sell your kids college fund and start a business to step up to the post you will accuse the greedy of abandoning? Will you pay those living wages to others in your new found business?

      That’s what I expect of you, no less than you expect of others. When that day happens I will be there at your business to apologize and thank you for your selfless acts, your bravery and your ability to put your money where your mouth is.

      But that day will never come and we both know it. You would never do that which you ask of others. And that, incidentally, is why you work for others.

      With economic matters one thing remains the same – In the field of our own endevour we are all conservatives.

      • contrarian

        Why make the assumption that Oregonians who make more than $250K a year are not willing to pay a bit more in taxes to help get public schools, prisons, and other services through this downturn? statistically they voted majority Democratic. Why complain on their behalf?

        And why asume that higher taxes on teh upper end will eliminate jobs? Clearly some jobs, i.e. teachers, ehalth care workers, prison guards, state troopers, will be retained thorugh these taxes. If high incomes are based on professional services (doctors, lawyers, architects) or company profits (business income) then higher taxes won;t necesarily mean laying off anyone at all. Its unlikely that a doctor is going to doctor less, or a lawyer sue less, because their taxes have gone up a small amount. And a busniess owner is not going to shut down or lay off if that would cost them more in lost production and sales.

        In other words, the whole argument in the initial post is suspect.

        • Jay Bozievich

          Contra,

          As a small business owner and an “S” corp., I hope to be in the personal income classification that would be effected but I know any change in corparate taxes will hit me/the business directly. I have one employee and several contract employees other than my wife and I. If we have to pay more taxes it may cause us not give a raise to that employee or to any of the cotract employees we use.

          Now take that times several other small businesses in our area and the spending power of our employees will all be dropping due to inflation. A local restaurant may then see a drop in business as our employees cut down on discretionary expenses. The restaurant then lays off a waiter and a dishwasher to balance costs.

          That is just one example of how taxing small business costs jobs!

          You comments make it obvious that you do not understand that the private marketplace is the most efficient distributor of capital not government. Given the choice between having money remain in the private hands to be used to employ people or confiscated through increased taxes and used to employ people by the government, you always get more jobs from private use money.

          The only exception to that rule is the minimal amount of capital it takes to have enough government to maintain the rule of law. IE. protect life and property from harm or dimishment by force or fraud and to enforce contracts. Having that in place enables the private market to function at its most efficient.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          >Why complain on their behalf?

          Well, because the consequence of what you are suggesting is that we make policy based on polls, or that we hold referendums only open to people making more than $250K or business owners.

          If you want the services, pay for them ( yes, I know I just opened myself up to hearing about how you will, because you are yet another liberal who will tell me about his upper income bracket ). Why is it liberals are never spouting their “we are all in this together when it comes to actually paying for this nonsense?

          >And why asume that higher taxes on teh upper end will eliminate jobs? Clearly some jobs, i.e. teachers, ehalth care workers, prison guards, state troopers, will be retained thorugh these taxes.

          Because I operate under the assumption that the person who earned the money is better able to spend it than government. I base this on two things – one, its simply a matter of social justice, robbing peter to pay paul for something john is unwilling to pay for is wrong, two government tends to hire at inflated wages, thus providing some really cushy jobs only for a chosen few.

          >If high incomes are based on professional services (doctors, lawyers, architects) or company profits (business income) then higher taxes won;t necesarily mean laying off anyone at all.

          More money going to taxes does not result in less money to hire people? Interesting. Ok, so now we know you do not operate a business.

          >Its unlikely that a doctor is going to doctor less, or a lawyer sue less, because their taxes have gone up a small amount. And a busniess owner is not going to shut down or lay off if that would cost them more in lost production and sales.

          Hogwash. The doctor or Lawyer will quite likely not only doctor less, but they will doctor zero, by moving. Business will simply move.

          Ok – We can now assume you are one of those liberals who has never heard of nor complained about “shipping jobs overseas” as this sort of thing is one of the prime motivators for such action.

          I would suggest you maybe look up Freightliner. They moved for just this reason. You might want to also look up the Fortune 500, we have only one such company in the state.

          Seriously, I would suggest you open a business, start paying the kind of taxes involved, and see if it doesn’t cross your mind to move every now and then. You really need to get educated on this topic.

          >In other words, the whole argument in the initial post is suspect.

          Actually your understanding of the economics of running a business is the only thing that is suspect in your post.

          Another thing that is suspect is your identity. This line of reasoning is very much reminiscent of our good old friend Dean.

          I would suggest thinking over your post a little more before pressing the submit button on this sort of thing. I mean you didn’t even run a basic spell check, so I think the amount you thought about this is pretty clear. And that’s coming from me, a terrible speller.

          • contrarian still

            “Hogwash. The doctor or Lawyer will quite likely not only doctor less, but they will doctor zero, by moving. Business will simply move.”

            Really? You are certain that $250K per year doctors and lawyers living in Oregon (most likely voting Democratic) and currently paying $22,500 in state income taxes,, are going to head for the exits if that amount goes up “22%”? That is a tax raise of $4950. So now the doctors and lawyers will pay $27,450. They are moving to one of the 7 states with no income tax based on that piddling amount?

            If your argument is correct, why doesn’t everyone already live in Alaska? I mean, no income or sales tax, and they send you a royalty check just for breathing. The place should be overrun with doctors and lawyers. And if its too cold there is Nevada as an alternative. Businesses should be flocking there, since they have zero income tax and zero corporate tax. But wait, their unemployment raite is nearly 11%. Not possible right?

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >Really? You are certain that $250K per year doctors and lawyers living in Oregon (most likely voting Democratic) and currently paying $22,500 in state income taxes,, are going to head for the exits if that amount goes up “22%”? That is a tax raise of $4950. So now the doctors and lawyers will pay $27,450. They are moving to one of the 7 states with no income tax based on that piddling amount?

            Nope, because I never made that argument.

            You are trying a pretty tired logical trick, construct a logical fallacy based upon an argument never made. Frankly I think this trick only works from one liberal to another. I mean there must be some reason why liberals always try this stunt when cornered. I guess it works on someone, not me.

            I never said people would move in every instance and I never said they would only move to zero income tax states.

            Nice try though. You really might want to check into the Freightliner issue and the Fortune 500 thing. I think you are woefully uniformed if you have to resort to trying to shift the argument to something I never contended.

            Nice use of the spell check this time around though!

          • contrarian still

            Rupert just above:
            *Nope, because I never made that argument*

            Rupert just above that:
            *Hogwash. The doctor or Lawyer will quite likely not only doctor less, but they will doctor zero, by moving. Business will simply move*

            No, you did not say “in every instance.” You said *quite likely* (asume what…75% certainty?) in the case of doctors and lawyers, and “will simply move” in the case of businesses, then went on with Frieghtliner, as if that had something to do with a tax that wasn’t even raised back then. Frieghtliner moved its manufacturing to take adavantage of NAFTA and very cheap labor rates in Mexico.

            You clearly *contended* that doctors and lawyers making over $250K will likely move somewhere else. When you make an argument that is challenged, stick with it and back it up or admit you over stated your case. Don’t say you didn’t make it when it is captured electronically forever more.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >Don’t say you didn’t make it when it is captured electronically forever more.

            I look at it this way, I know liberals love to look to everyone else to do their work and pick up where mommy left off. However I do not accept that responsibility. Your mis reading is not my responsibility, it is yours. I did not say in every instance and in no way would anyone take what I said to mean every person, every doctor and every lawyer making over $250k would move

            You simply got caught in a tired liberal trick that doesn’t work and now are mad about it. Even if you misread the argument initially, I clearly pointed out to you that in no way did I mean in every instance, to continue to misread it now only compounds your initial error.

            Therefore, if I could give any advice to liberals in trying to argue their point, I would tell them to get away from the logical fallacy of trying to defeat an argument by extending it to the absurd case. It simply doesn’t work and results in the situation we have here, you trying to put off a bad logical construct on your part on me. Sorry, that will fail every time with me. I’m surprised you still continue with it since I have pointed it out several times before to you and yet you still persist in this failed approach. Don’t you think its time you come up with something a little more substantial than whiney insistences that I meant in every instance when clearly I did not? If that’s all you have, your argument is pretty poorly thought out.

            So, got it now? I did not say in every instance and if that is the sole counter to the argument give it up. If you have anything more I’ll deal with it, but let’s give up the tired liberal second grade nonsense. I get enough of that from my kids.

          • Anonymous

            I make more than $250000 and hire 9 people. That 250000 pays their wages and payroll taxes. Now after all that why on earth should i be happy to give whatever is left to the government. I’m tired of working for the other guy.,

          • Sybella

            If I’m reading this correctly that tax is to be levied BEFORE business expenses are taken out. That sucks, not only for the business, but for the consumers. If it was only on profit, that wouldn’t be as bad, but on gross sales. That dean is befor you pay any of your expenses or even take any home for yourself.

          • contrarian still

            Its a tax on income earned after deductable expenses. It is NOT a tax on gross receipts. I posted this lalready but apparently someone removed my post. Can’t let reality get in the way I guess.

            As for Rupert, I acknowledged that you did not say “in every instance.” So how many “instances” will there be of Oregonians who earn over $250K per year closing their doctors offices, lawyers offices, and businesses and moving somewhere with lower incomce taxes? You made the claim. Tell us your prediction. 10%? 50%?

          • contrarian

            The response had to do with equating Republicans with Progressives, not with Conservatives. I assumed John was using “progressive” as a substitute for “liberal.” I agree that not all Republicans meet the current definition or character of conservatism.

            A progressive is generally defined as one who pushes policies that widen social and economic equity, and favor the little guy over the rich and powerful. I don’t know any Republican politician over the past 30 years who fits that description, whether we mean California or the Nation as a whole. Do you?

          • Anonymous

            That’s correct, that’s why this is so wrong.

        • You can’t hide tax evader

          De-an sucks eggs!

        • Anonymous

          While you think this is such a good deal. Are you willing to pay higher prices for the things you purchase. Obviously you have enough money, why shouldn’t you? That is exactly what will happen when that tax hits. In fact you may even find you can’t buy some of the things you did. Especially when that business that item decides it just isn’t worth it.

  • John in Oregon

    I wonder Jessie, > *Returning the money to its _rightful owners._ The poor.*

    By virtue of what do those “ownership rights” accrue? By producing wealth? Or by the Progressive incantation that all animals are equal?

    As Syella said when you punish productivity you get less not more.

    In the United States the poor are free to advance. Each year new high school graduates enter at the bottom. As those before them move up. Many ultimately to become wealthy earners if only for a time.

    Punish productivity and you get less. Reward sloth and you get more.

    In the face of reality contrairian asks *Really? … They are moving to one of the 7 states with no income tax based on that piddling amount?*

    Yes. Precisely. In less than 30 years the progressives have taken California from a top ten world economy to bankruptcy. Punished productive people, entrepreneurs, and business take the hint, its time to leave. Transforming the silicon valley into the silicon desert. The last productive person to leave won’t need to remember to turn out the lights, there just won’t be any power.

    Basking in the euphoria of the progressive stupor, taking a page from the California play book the State of New York this spring chose to punish the rich. The rich can afford to be penalized they chant.

    New York hopes dashed by plunging revenues. In just short months the productive vote with their feet as they flee Times Square for Texas and the heartland.

    • contrarian

      “In less than 30 years the progressives have taken California from a top ten world economy to bankruptcy.”

      Since 1983, the past 26 years, California has had Republican governors for all but 4 of those years. Progressives? I don’t think so John. I don’t know any progressive Republicans and never have since Teddy Roosevelt.

      • Sybella

        dean, I know this is hard for you to believe, but just because somebody is a republican, it does not in any way make him or her a conservative. Just for once, drop the democrats did this and the republicans did that and quit pointing fingers. Look at facts for a change.
        Use your head, I know this is hard to believe, but it was put on your shoulders for something besides keeping your ears apart.

        • contrarian oops

          Meant to post this here, not above:

          The response had to do with equating Republicans with Progressives, not with Conservatives. I assumed John was using “progressive” as a substitute for “liberal.” I agree that not all Republicans meet the current definition or character of conservatism.

          A progressive is generally defined as one who pushes policies that widen social and economic equity, and favor the little guy over the rich and powerful. I don’t know any Republican politician over the past 30 years who fits that description, whether we mean California or the Nation as a whole. Do you?

          • Sybella

            When I said drop the dems and repubs did this or that, I also meant the progressives or liberals or conservatives.

            What I meant was for you to use your head for a change and look at reality.

    • John in Oregon

      You are correct that Teddy Roosevelt was a progressive although the most notable of the time was Woodrow Wilson. Progressives of the time included John Maynard Keynes, Herbert Hoover, Walter Lippmann, and FDR among others. LBJ was also a progressive despite the break with Lippmann over Viet Nam.

      But then you go on to say > *Since 1983, the past 26 years, California has had Republican governors for all but 4 of those years. Progressives? I don’t think so John. I don’t know any progressive Republicans and never have since Teddy Roosevelt.*

      This is a particularly naive assumption. That one may ascertain the character of a government by the expedient of divining the party label of the Governor.

      As to the claim of Teddy Roosevelt, the last Republican progressive, never since, never again. Be still, my beating heart, were it only so. Herbert Hoover, John Foster Dulles, Avril Harriman, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., Nelson Rockefeller, Arlen Specter, Lincoln Chafee, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

      • contrarian

        Our standards for what and who constitute a progressive clearly are different. Deukmajian and Wilson are “progressives”? That is a real low bar. The Dukester vetoed a gay rights bill, vetoed proposed tax increases, cut spending for bicycle infrastructure, froze state employee hiring,wrote Cals capital punishment law, and tripled the prison population. That is a progressive?

        Wilson supported Prop 13, phonics teaching, 3 strikes (helping to set the stage for state bankruptcy,) Prop 187 (anti-illegal immigrants,) affirmative action, and he cut back funding for infrastructure, again setting the stage for later bankruptcy as Arnold tried to catch up on potholes. Progressive? We report, you decide.

        As for Arnold, he is merely a political chameleon. He tacks right when the wind is that way, left when the wind shifts. That is not progressive, It is non-gressive.

        California’s gradual demise can be traced directly to Prop 13, which passed in 1978. That corresponds pretty well with your 30 years of decline doesn’t it?

  • John in Oregon

    Minor point. Woodrow Wilson was the Governor of New Jersey not California.

    > *I assumed John was using “progressive” as a substitute for “liberal.” I agree that not all Republicans meet the current definition or character of conservatism.*

    Good point. I was NOT using progressive as a substitute for Liberal. I use the following definitions.

    Conservative: Adherence to the founding constitutional principals.

    Libertarian; a person who advocates liberty, esp. with regard to thought or conduct. A person who maintains the doctrine of free will. (distinguished from Progressivism)

    Liberal: Favorable to reform as in political or religious affairs in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, esp. as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties. Favoring or permitting freedom of action, esp. with respect to matters of personal belief or expression: Of, pertaining to, or befitting a freeman.

    Progressive: Favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform through Government action. Managing society for the benefit of economic equity and social justice. Promoting guaranteed outcomes as opposed to opportunity. Replacing “natural law” with state action, esp as a counter balance to free will and liberty. The practice or doctrine of giving a centralized government control over economic planning and policy. See also Statist.

    Natural law holds that rights naturally belong to the people or that rights are given by God to the people. Hence the phrase “God Given Rights.” Therefor Government has no power or authority of its own and Government may exercise only those powers granted to it by the people.

    As you can see the definition of Liberal is the classic definition (IE JFK who was in many ways more conservative than GW Bush.) There is no particular reason for a Liberal to be in conflict with either the founding constitutional principals or liberty.

    LET ME STATE AGAIN. It is not possible to ascertain the character of a government by the expedient of divining the party label of the Governor. It is only possible to determine the character of government (IE, liberal, conservative, progressivist) based on its actions.

    Although the most visible aspect of California government is massive spending growth, I have no problem with stating the recent actions of California government are substantially Statist in nature.

    Contrarian Dean points to a number of causes of the “California Meltdown.” > * Prop 13, phonics teaching, 3 strikes (helping to set the stage for state bankruptcy,) and a “cut back” in funding for infrastructure.* Taking those in turn.

    Prop 13. Property tax limitation. The pattern in California is the same as in Oregon following Property Tax limitation. Following the property tax limitation measures State and Local government spending did not fall in either California or Oregon. In fact the rate of growth in government spending continued to grow without change.

    Phonics teaching. Lets add English immersion to get some meat to that. The result was that teaching outcomes improved and costs fell.

    Three Strikes. Equivalent to measure 11 In Oregon. This claim is that Prisons are bankrupting the states of Oregon and California. . The Oregonian just made a similar claim in supporting Salem throwing out measure 57.

    Lets use Oregon numbers, California is similar. In the 2007-2009 Biennium prison spending represents 2.1 percent of the all-funds budget. Can anyone argue with a straight face that an expenditure of two percent of the total Oregon state budget is responsible for bankrupting the State?

    Does it not seem more likely that the problem is unrestrained increases in government spending? Increased spending, taxes, and regulation hostile to business that cause productive people and enterprise to flee the state.

    • contrarian

      “Does it not seem more likely that the problem is unrestrained increases in government spending? ”

      No, not if facts mean anything to you. California’s taxation and spending have been restrained since Prop 13. Property taxes can’t be increased except when people vote in new bond measures. And other state taxes can’t be increased without a 2/3 vote of the legislature. According to the Tax Foundation, California’s combined state and local tax burden dropped from 11.6% of state GDP in 1977 to 10.5% in 2008. Relative to income, taxes have GONE DOWN, not up over the past 30 years.

  • John in Oregon

    > *California’s taxation and spending have been restrained since Prop 13. Property taxes can’t be increased except when people vote in new bond measures.*

    If any of this is a restraint of State spending, it’s a very poor one. U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census show that in 1978 after Prop 13 was in place California state spending was 16.5% of the taxpayers income. In 1989, ten years later California state spending was 20% of the taxpayers income. Since taxpayer income grew rapidly between 1978 and 1989, California spending in real dollars grew even faster. The pattern is the same for Oregon.

    According to Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee, “In the midst of a historically severe state budget crisis, the Census Bureau has released new data indicating that when it comes to spending money, California stands alone among the states. The new Census Bureau report tags total state spending last year at $233.6 billion… The total includes not only the state’s general fund spending, roughly $100 billion, but proceeds of special fund revenues, such as gasoline taxes, borrowed money and federal funds… Not surprisingly, California’s total spending last year was $33 billion more than its total revenues, with bond proceeds accounting for most of the difference.”

    Based on a analysis of the California State budget Adam Summers stated, “California is facing a historic budget crisis and has only itself to blame. State lawmakers have been on a spending binge for years and voters have added to the problems by approving massive bond measures and multi-billion-dollar boondoggles like high-speed rail that they cannot afford.”

    “What Caused the Budget Mess? California’s Spending Has Nearly Tripled Since 1990. Don’t blame tax revenues for the deficit, they increased 167 percent.”

    The study examines two decades worth of state budgets and concludes that runaway spending is to blame for this fiscal disaster. The study shows that since former Gov. George Deukmejian’s final budget in Fiscal Year 1990-91, state spending-including the General Fund, special funds, and bond funds-has skyrocketed 181 percent. Spending nearly tripled from $51.4 billion in FY 1990-91 to $144.5 billion in FY 2008-09. In FY 1990-91 the state spent $1,350 per capita. Today, the government spends $2,644 per person.

    Oregon’s spending patters are similar.

    • contrarian

      How do you square your figures with those of the Tax Foundation?

  • John in Oregon

    > *How do you square your figures with those of the Tax Foundation?*

    That is a very perceptive question. Asking it is important to understanding what is going on. This answer is applicable to both California and Oregon.

    There are a number of sources of data that attempts to nail down the “Tax Burden” for the states. These groups like the Tax Foundation look at the tax side of the equation. In California that is the Property tax, the Income tax and the Sales Tax. These are relative easy to calculate, although the calculation should take into account things like deductions which can increase the tax take without changing the tax rate. Of course Oregon doesn’t have the sales tax, otherwise the situation for Oregon would be the same.

    That isnt the only source of state and local “revenue.” Some others are rates, fees, charges, permits, surcharges, bonding, and excise taxes. Some examples are sewer and water rates, auto licensing fees, system development charges, building permits, $1 per phone 911 surcharges, revenue bonds and the beer tax.

    By the way California and now Oregon has used bonds to borrow money for general fund spending.

    These revenue streams are all but impossible to calculate which is why they don’t get counted by the Tax Foundation. Just the same they represent a very real burden on individuals and business.

    Most serious attempts to get a handle on state and local government burdens have focused on state and local expenditures. Budgets and audits are publicly available and reasonably reliable.

    Bojack has been doing exactly that when analyzing the City of Portland. That’s exactly the reason the Census Bureau, the Sacramento Bee, and the Summers study I cited above focus on expenditures. It gives a more accurate picture of the burden of sate and local government on individuals and business.

    By the way some new breaking information.

    Last year the state of Maryland couldn’t balance its budget so they created a millionaire tax bracket. Tax the evil rich. Governor Martin O’Malley, a dedicated class warrior, declared that these richest 0.3% of filers were “willing and able to pay their fair share.” The Baltimore Sun predicted the rich would “grin and bear it.”

    One year later, nobody’s grinning. One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. They voted with their feet. Expect more to leave this year. Does this sound like California???

    Second. The Obama administration has floated the trial balloon proposing a new VAT sales tax in order to get even more money to spend. That ought to make Oregonians and the bottom 95% really, really happy.

    • contrarian

      “One year later, nobody’s grinning. One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. They voted with their feet.”

      Given that we are in the midst of a pretty significant recession that has impacted a lot of formerly wealthy investors, isn’t it just as likely there are simply fewer folks in that very upper tax bracket, as opposed to assuming they up and left for another state?

      Do you have any evidence they moved out?

    • John in Oregon

      > *Given that we are in the midst of a pretty significant recession that has impacted a lot of formerly wealthy investors, isn’t it just as likely there are simply fewer folks in that very upper tax bracket, as opposed to assuming they up and left for another state?*

      No for two reasons.

      First, the tax filing in April, last month, is for 2008 and the downturn did not hit until the forth quarter. The big losses came after December.

      Second, the information from the Maryland state comptroller’s office is that they are no longer on the tax rolls at any income. That is clear evidence they left the state.

    • John in Oregon

      By the way that was an excellent question to ask.

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