Kitz explores sales tax – shuts out Republicans

by NW Spotlight

The Oregonian is reporting that Governor Kitzhaber has been “quietly and informally” meeting over the last six months to “find common ground among a broad swath of interest groups, including business, labor and local governments,” on restructuring state taxes.

The labor group mentioned in the article was SEIU, that combined with fellow public employee union AFSCME, contributed $750,000 to Kitzhaber’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign. The “business” organization mentioned was the Oregon Business Association (OBA). The OBA was founded to represent businesses with “more moderate to progressive views.” OBA supports the elimination of the personal and corporate kickers, and is headed by former Democratic state legislator Ryan Deckert.

Kitzhaber has been having state revenue officials analyze a number of tax scenarios, most of them looking at some form of a sales tax “against lowering Oregon’s highest-in-the-nation income taxes.”

According to the Oregonian, Republicans have been excluded over the last six months: “Republican House Co-speaker Bruce Hanna was surprised to learn about the talks, as was Rep. Vicki Berger, Republican co-chair of the House Revenue Committee.”