2012 Taxpayer Agenda: 5 great Legislative Session Ideas

By Taxpayer Association of Oregon

The 2012 Legislative Session contains hundreds of bills and ideas. We have focused on five great ideas already pioneered and sponsored by various lawmakers to help reform government and cut taxes.

1. Repeal Measure 67 Business Tax

Measure 67 was a tax on virtually every business in Oregon. Measure 67 even raised taxes on businesses that were not making a profit. State Representative John Huffman is authoring legislation to repeal it to help turn the economy around and get small businesses hiring again.

2. Stop the “Facebook” Tax
Facebook recently built a data center in Central Oregon that helped employ over 1,000 Oregonians. Those jobs helped in an Oregon county suffering with over 15% unemployment. Right after the new building was complete, Facebook was hit with a surprise tax bill that was 15 times higher than expected. The debate over the tax bill arose over the state expanding tax definitions so that internet companies are taxed like utility companies and over taxing intangible assets like their “brand name”, software and patents.

State Representative Mike McLane is sponsoring a bill to fix the tax expansion rule over this specific Facebook case (which deals with data centers and enterprise zones). There is also the larger messages this bill delivers which is (1) Oregon businesses need tax predictability (2) Oregon welcomes high tech firms and (3) we must stop tax expansion where tax are increased by simply adjusting the definition of what is taxed.

3. Eliminate hidden cash tax reserves
State Senator Chris Telfer is a CPA who began a serious in-depth investigation of unspent funds being held in the state budget. Her investigation was met with reluctance and resistance by various state budget officials and agencies. Telfer discovered $680 million in unrestricted funds. Some of these funds are simply “leftover” unspent tax dollars that could be used to fund the budget instead of badgering taxpayers for more money to bailout government.

4. Sunset laws for state regulations
Since 1997, Texas has had sunset laws for their state agencies & state commissions. Sunset laws force agency regulations and policies to undergo a mandatory review and approval process or be abolished. Sunset laws help weed out wasteful, duplicative and outdated government rules. State Senator Bruce Starr is working on a bill to create Sunset laws in Oregon.

5. Oppose all tax increases
Because the state budget is falling below forecasted revenue of $300 million, there is danger that taxpayers will be hit with tax and fee increases. Rep. Jim Weidner is calling on the February Legislative Session to balance the budget with existing revenue and not harm taxpayers or our economy with more taxes.

If you like these ideas please consider…..
(1) Emailing, Tweeting & Facebooking this article (very effective!!!)
(2) Contacting the lawmaker sponsors, Representative John Huffman , Representative Mike McLane ,   Senator Chris Telfer Senator Bruce StarrRepresentative Jim Weidner
(3) Or make support our campaign to promote the 2012 Taxpayer Agenda across the state.