Ballot titles new partisan low

By Senator Ted Ferrioli

Another low tide mark in partisan politics was set this afternoon. A supposedly impartial committee assigned with drafting the official ballot titles is close to adopting language that is strikingly subjective and partisan, painting the personal and business income tax referrals headed to the ballot in January in a sharply negative light. I wish I could say I am surprised, but this is just another in a long line of desperate attempts to deceive the public at any cost, while the majority in the legislature tries to exploit an economic crisis for the purpose of increasing taxes and growing government.

The infractions of the committee are numerous:

The committee ignored state law that requires ballot titles be crafted in an impartial manner. In the end the committee produced a final product that is nothing more than a state-paid advertisement for the tax increases.

The committee didn’t just skew the language to favor the tax increases, they left out important information that might reflect negatively on the tax increases, like the fact that these tax increases are retroactive to the beginning of this year. The ballot title also ignores that very important fact that these tax increases are permanent, not a temporary fix that expires after two years.

The ballot titles also leave out important but incriminating facts, like that companies not making a profit will see their minimum tax go from $150 to $100,000.

The ballot titles are also quick to include statements that are purely speculation, such as what type of cuts would have to be made if the tax increases are defeated. Unless the committee has a crystal ball, there is no way they can know what the specific cuts would have to entail.

Both ballot titles are full of such speculation, inaccuracies and artful spinning of reality, more than I can list here. Don’t take my word for it, go read the ballot titles for yourself: Measure 66 and Measure 67.

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Posted by at 04:18 | Posted in Measure 37 | 34 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Warren

    So, what did we expect from those clowns in Salem?
    Now, that leaves it up to us – the voters – to educate the public just what the measures are really about. We need to work with the ORP together with the Oregonians Against Job-Killing Taxes coalition to get out the vote! We CAN do it!

  • Jim Ray

    How many times & ways does it have to be said? They are all BASTARDS!

    Now let’s vote NO and show ‘em who’s boss.

  • Jerry

    These fools are so afraid of the people actually deciding something it is really funny to watch.
    They are the worst.
    Absolutely.

  • Reper

    Can we do a referendum on the committee?

    • Jim Ray

      Yes! On 11-9-10 the referendum will be held.

  • Moe

    Morons

  • Andrew

    Yeah, Teddy, just like you folks using your crystal ball to claim that a single effing job will be lost if the measures pass.

    Pot, meet kettle.

  • Richard

    At least we got rid of the immigrant loving RINOs never mind the cultural voter essentially replaced them with far left Democrats. Lesson is you get what you vote or not vote for.

  • Joe Jericho

    I don’t care what they say. They say raises taxes, I say no. I think a lot of people will vote that way. Only the willy, nilly will hedge on it. Oregon government sucks. I hate ‘em.

  • Sagano

    I thought a NO vote on taxes was a YES vote, or was it the other way around?

  • Anonymous

    There is no doubt that these ballot titles are anything but impartial and the obfuscation is shameful to say the least, but…

    “The ballot titles also leave out important but incriminating facts, like that companies not making a profit will see their minimum tax go from $150 to $100,000.”

    Ted, can you please explain this statement in greater detail? Perhaps provide sources that would help to confirm its validity?

    • Tom in Oregon City

      I can reply to that: the minimum tax is based on REVENUE, not PROFIT. The minimum tax is bracketed based on revenue, so it is possible for a company which is losing money on high revenue (like GM does frequently) to still be socked with a punishing “minimum tax”. Read the bill.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for the reply Tom. I did read the bill, though I must be misreading/misunderstanding it. As I understand it the bill does distinguish between revenue and profit. In order for an unprofitable company to be levied a $100,000 tax they would first need to generate $100,000,000 in revenues. Now, if a company is generating that kind of revenue then I think it’s fair to assume that certain of its executives are pulling at least seven figure salaries. Whether the company is profitable or not is no longer my concern (unless of course I’m a shareholder, which would redirect my attention back to the aforementioned executives), but as a property owner in the state of Oregon I have zero problem with a company of that size being taxed for doing business in Oregon. $100,000 is not a great expense for a company of that size.

        • v person

          Well put. To boot, that executive probably lives out of state and pays no income taxes here, yet his non profitable company is using Oregon services left and right. Time to pay up.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          >$100,000 is not a great expense for a company of that size.

          I sure hope you are not in business if you claim to know what is and is not a great expense without knowing anything about the balance sheet.

          You have absolutely no idea whatsoever how great an expense an additional $100,000 is for a company unless you know the full financial situation of that company. To claim otherwise shows judgment based not on knowledge but on greed and envy.

          I am constantly amazed at how liberals will in one breath say a company will gladly skimp on a product to save one penny and then will not make the connection that if that is true, then certainly they would flee the state for $100,000.

          We have the highest corporate taxes in the world. I would suggest your idea of basing tax policy on your envy and greed over executive salaries is hardly conducive to a healthy economy. You might think otherwise but please, when those companies move and take the jobs with them let you be the first to take credit for that.

          • Anonymous

            Oh my! I hadn’t noticed this bit of wisdom, Rupert. Hence the late response.

            “I sure hope you are not in business if you claim to know what is and is not a great expense without knowing anything about the balance sheet.”

            Ummm… yes, actually I do. It’s 0.1% of total revenue. If you’ve ever studied economics I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase “…all things being equal…”, but what industry are we discussing? Oh wait, that’s right, we’re generalizing! So how will we determine who bears the burden of the tax if we can’t analyze price elasticity of supply and demand? Shucks! I guess we’ll have to do it the old fashioned way, by relying upon assumptions. Darned economic theory.

            “You have absolutely no idea whatsoever how great an expense an additional $100,000 is for a company unless you know the full financial situation of that company. To claim otherwise shows judgment based not on knowledge but on greed and envy.”

            Where does this greed and envy stuff come from? I’m thinking in terms of equity and efficiency.

            “I am constantly amazed at how liberals will in one breath say a company will gladly skimp on a product to save one penny and then will not make the connection that if that is true, then certainly they would flee the state for $100,000.”

            Because I’m not as far right on the political spectrum as you I am a liberal? And even if I were, how exactly do you figure putting words in my mouth (translation: I never said any such thing!) is a legitimate form of argument?

            “We have the highest corporate taxes in the world. I would suggest your idea of basing tax policy on your envy and greed over executive salaries is hardly conducive to a healthy economy. You might think otherwise but please, when those companies move and take the jobs with them let you be the first to take credit for that.”

            You think Oregon has the highest corporate taxes in the world? It’s all starting to make sense now. You have no idea what you’re talking about. I brought up executive salaries as an example of fat that could use trimming. Envy? No. I don’t begrudge anyone success, financial or otherwise. In Senator Ted’s hypothetical example he suggested the existence of an unprofitable company with revenues of $100,000,000. It was his example, not mine.

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  • Bill Sizemore

    Notwithstanding the comments above, some of which are reasonable, why is it the Democrats always have to cheat on ballot titles. The attorney general, who writes ballot titles under existing law, is totally their man. The Oregon Supreme Court, which is the final arbiter of ballot titles clearly leans their way. Maybe that’s the problem. The attorney general is kind of expected to be honest and the Democrats and public employee unions don’t like that one bit when it comes to ballot titles. This I know. And the Supreme Court may lean their way philsophically, but there are people on that court who cannot be trusted to skew the ballot title as far as the Democrats and unions want it skewed.

    The solution, create a special ballot title committee, stack it with partisans, and hope the Supreme Court will do what they sometimes do, i.e. bow to the legislature and say “Well, that’s close enough for government work,” and leave the ballot title alone.

    This one could go either way with the court, but if these ballot titles stay intact as currently drafted, even Mark Nelson may not be able to stop this freight train.

  • Sybella

    It sounds good to trash the businesses. Anonymous you are making an assumption that the owners are taking down 7 figure salaries. You don’t know that at all, you just think you do. dean you are making the same assumption. Do either of you know how to spell assume?

    One thing I do know, you will see higher unemployment. It takes money to hire, train and retain good employees or even bad ones for that matter. If a business must give all their profit to the government, where do you think the finances come from to hire, train or even retain those employees.

    For that matter where in the world do you guys think your income comes from. Must be that money tree in your back yard.

    This tax increase is equivalent to killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

    • Anonymous

      You don’t run a business do you Sybella? And, yes, I am assuming. As I said, “I think it’s fait to assume”. If you think it’s not fair, well, that is your right. Businesses have expenses. Wages and salaries are expenses. Taxes are expenses. I am in no way trashing business. I am very pro business. I am also very pro Oregon. And you, Sybella, are assuming that you understand my position within the political spectrum. I am not a democrat. I am not a Liberterian. Nor am I a reactionary like so many individuals who post regularly on this blog. Bottom line, the issue here is not whether or not this is a good piece of legislation (it is), the issue is whether or not these particular ballot titles have been “crafted in an impartial manner” (they have not).

      Anyhow, Sybella, we disagree. This tax will have no effect on unemployment. It is a very fair tax and one that the state of Oregon needs. Once again, the cost to a $500,000 business is $500, to a $100,000,000 business is $100,000. Relatively insignificant and one that most respectable business people have no problem paying (even business people love Oregon).

      • Rupert in Springfield

        Well, the bottom line is most respectable people, certainly those who know anything about business, don’t make assumptions about a business they know nothing about. You clearly are and in addition are trying to pass off your own incomprehension that a high gross revenue tells you nothing about profitability as some sort of sound tax policy. It isn’t. You are simply trying to pass off your envy as altruism. That’s not respectable, it’s ugly. Therefore, I hope you will pardon us if we take your judgment of what is respectable with a grain of salt.

      • Sybella

        Actually, I do and it’s a fairly large successful business. I know what I’m talking about. Have you ever run a business with more than one or two employees?

        • Anonymous

          Sybella, I have no interest in getting into a pissing contest with you. Answer to your question: yes. I come from a long line of entrepreneurs. I was specifically addressing the issue of a corporate minimum tax. Your business is profitable (sincere congratulations) and therefore the issue I was addressing will not effect you (unless your business ceases to be profitable).

          Rupert, as usual, hilarious. You, my friend, and the king of reactionaries. So, I hope you will pardon me if I take your judgment of what is respectable with a grain of salt. Furthermore, I never suggested a relationship between revenue and profit. I was simply attempting to illustrate that a 0.1% tax is a relatively minor expense for the privilege of doing business in Oregon, regardless of the size of the unprofitable business in question. As for assumptions, they are among the fundamental principles of economic theory. At least that’s what my Econ 101 professor and all the text books told me when I was getting my business degree. That said, I can do nothing other than to make assumptions about the salaries of executives of corporate entities that generate that kind of revenue as I don’t have a single one of their contracts in front of me. Often times their earnings are tied to performance, often times they are not; I can tell you that few CEO’s are as egalitarian in their leadership style as Warren Buffet or Jeff Bezos.

          http://media.oregonlive.com/mapesonpolitics/other/RESEARCH%20REPORT%20on%20301302.pdf
          http://www.ocpp.org/2009/COST_2009_FY08_State_And_Local_Business_Tax_Burden_Study.pdf
          http://www.ocpp.org/2009/iss20091012TaxMeasuresWhoPays_fnl.pdf
          http://portland.bizjournals.com/portland/stories/2009/08/24/focus1.html?q=oregon%20ceo%20salaries

          And one more thing Rupert, keep your personal assumptions to yourself. If you made your little envy vs altruism comment to my face I’d be tempted to break your nose.

          • Davis

            “I can do nothing other than to make assumptions about the salaries of executives of corporate entities…”

            May I then assume that you “earned” your business degree at the University of Moscow (USSR – pre-1990)? To believe that ANY rate of taxation on loss is acceptable, simply for “the privilege of doing business in Oregon”, is beyond the pale.

          • Anonymous

            University of Oregon and like hell it’s “beyond the pale”. Oregon currently has the second lowest business tax rates in the U.S. and like every other state in the union we need to pay for our roads, schools, etc. (i.e. infrastructure/services that are being used by businesses).

            A 0.1% “taxation on loss”, as you call it, is in many circles called a “cost of doing business” and is still well below the national average.

          • Anonymous

            Fukk it, you figured me out Davis. I’m a communist.

            Glad to see that attempting to have a reasonable discussion on this blog is futile and ultimately results in assassination attempts on my character, motivations, the quality of my education, and now semantic complaints over my choice of words.

            By the way, here is the definition of “privilege” from Dictionary.com:

            “any of the rights common to all citizens under a modern constitutional government: We enjoy the privileges of a free people.”

          • Davis

            Confession is good for the soul.

            If Oregon were really such a friendly state in regard to the cost of doing business, especially in terms of taxation (and, yes, taxes are a “cost of doing business” — which is why no corporation really pays taxes since all costs are folded into the prices we pay), we could not keep them out, even if we wanted. Instead, they incorporate just about everywhere BUT here — Nevada and Delaware are two states that come immediately to mind. I’m sure raising taxes on corporations is really going to improve this state’s stature as a business-friendly state.

            BTW, before you next try a cut-and-paste, you might want to read it first. To equate “rights” and “privileges” is to either undeservedly elevate the latter or denigrate the former (i.e. freedom of religion, speech, or assembly is much more than a privilege!). Privileges grow out of the human rights our government is sworn to protect.

          • Anonymous

            Oh, and now you’re a social philosopher who has the ability to divine the intention of my meaning! You are truly an extraordinary individual Davis. Yet, I’m still going to vote YES on measures 66 and 67. Suck it.

          • Sybella

            Actually my business is an S Corporation subject to the minimum tax. I’m very knowledgable about taxation and the results of it. This is not a good tax for anybody.

          • Anonymous

            You’re right, Sybella, I misspoke. The minimum tax does apply regardless of profitability. As an S-Corp you will be subject to a $150 flat “fee”. I do hope the additional $140 expense does not sink your business and that you are able to find a way to avoid too many lay-offs. Best.

  • Anonymous

    Davis, are you familiar with the Tax Foundation? In case you’re not, their mission statement is as follows:

    The mission of the Tax Foundation is to educate taxpayers about sound tax policy and the size of the tax burden borne by Americans at all levels of government. From its founding in 1937, the Tax Foundation has been grounded in the belief that the dissemination of basic information about government finance is the foundation of sound policy in a free society.

    Here are the results of a 50 state comparison of business tax climates:

    http://www.taxfoundation.org/files/sbtci_historical_2010.pdf
    http://www.taxfoundation.org/files/bp59.pdf

    Weird, huh? They seem to agree with me that Oregon’s tax system is relatively favorable for business. Our biggest problem is that we are geographically unfriendly to business. Our tax system is a reason to do business here, not the other way around.

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