Why is Oregon’s economy continuing to decline?

Oregon Transformation

Why is Oregon’s economy continuing to decline relative to other states? According to the 2011 American Legislative Exchange Council‐Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index report, which forecasts and ranks the 50 states with respect to economic performance and economic outlook, Oregon has been declining in its economic outlook rank since 2008, ranking 35th, 39th, 41st, and now 43rd in 2011.

So what are the reasons behind Oregon’s economic decline?

In an article released by the Wall Street Journal in May, the authors of this state competitiveness index report cited two main policies that are extremely important in determining job creation and potential rise in income levels:

1) States with no income tax outperform high income tax states.
  • Oregon is now tied with Hawaii for the highest income tax rate in the nation.
  • Since Measures 66/67 have gone into effect in January 2010, Oregon has lost approximately 8,000 high income tax‐filers, resulting in loss of state revenue and countless jobs.
  • Oregon ranks 48th for highest corporate income tax rate.
2) States with right‐to‐work laws grow faster than forced unionism.
  • Oregon is 1 of 28 states requiring employees of unionized employers to become union members, pay union dues, or face loss of employment.
  • According to the article, “between 2000 and 2008, 4.8 million Americans moved from forced‐union states to right‐to‐work states. That’s one person every minute of every day.” With Oregon’s state revenue forecasts continuing to fall short of expectations and our increasing public employee benefit obligations, without policies that promote economic growth, Oregon will continue to rank at the bottom of economic performance nationwide.