April 23: Tax Freedom Day comes early for the wrong reasons

Article by Jason Williams and Wayne Brady,

Taxpayers can celebrate that National Tax Freedom Day will celebrated three days earlier on April 23rd. That celebration may be short lived for Oregonians and Marion County area residents who are seeing more taxes on the horizon.

Tax Freedom Day is the theoretical day in which taxpayers have earned enough income to pay off their collective government tax burden as calculated by the Tax Foundation. Our freedom comes earlier in part to slower economic growth and a one-time federal stimulus check arriving in the mail soon.

Several local, state and federal taxes are being proposed that could dramatically increase our tax burden and push Tax Freedom Day into May.

Statewide, Oregonians are seeing three taxes being proposed by Governor Ted Kulongski that would have a serious impact on the family budget. Earlier this year the Governor showed consideration for a gas tax increase to be enacted in the 2009 Legislature. Raising gas taxes during economic trying times and record high gas prices is a recipe for economic disaster.

The Governor announced during his State of the State address the need to revisit the tobacco tax that voters just rejected by 60% last November. Having one of the nation’s highest cigarette taxes is not enough for some politicians. Neither is the fact that the state budget is growing by over 20%. There was enough budget room to fund government pork programs, but not the children’s programs that Kulongoski says is so important.

There is also talk of the Governor considering a statewide property tax. State Senator Ted Ferrioli was exposed to this trail idea while serving on the Governor’s Federal Forest and County Services Taskforce. Senator Ferrioli resigned as soon as the proposal was introduced.

Nationwide, taxpayers are looking at the Alternative Minimum Tax hitting thousands of new Oregonians next year. The dreaded AMT tax is expected to rise from 4 million taxpayers to 30 million taxpayers in the year 2009.

As we look to the advancements of Tax Freedom Day we must recognize that taxpayers still pay more in taxes than they do for food, clothing and shelter. We have a long ways to go. If we enact all of these local, state and national taxes, we will reverse our gains and increase the hardships on ordinary working taxpayers trying to get by.