New taxes and more spending epitomize first weeks of session

From the Senate Republican Office

A $17 million tax increase passed out of the budget writing Ways and Means Committee Friday morning to fund a new program characterizes the first four weeks of the legislative session: more spending and more tax increases. So far, the legislature has borrowed and spent $175 million and passed two tax raising measures to extract almost $111 million more from Oregon families and small businesses over the coming two years.

“While Oregonians are losing their jobs and income at a record pace, the legislature continues the same habits that put us in this mess,” said Senator Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day). “It is massive, unsustainable spending that has created the deficits we are dealing with today. More spending and more taxes are not the answer to our problems. Oregonians are expecting government to reduce spending, make tough decisions and help families make ends meet.”

On Wednesday the House passed House Bill 2157 to disconnect from the federal tax code, effectively eliminating $94 million of potential tax relief contained in the national stimulus plan. The bill is expected to pass out of the Senate Revenue Committee Friday afternoon and be rushed to the Senate floor early next week.

Thursday the Governor signed a bill into law that borrows $175 million to pay for deferred maintenance projects around the state. Taxpayers will end up paying $330 million over the next 20 years to pay off the borrowed money and interest.

Friday morning, the Ways and Means Committee passed HB 2436 that establishes a $15 fee every time an Oregonian buys or refinances their home, raising $17 million this budget cycle.

“We are raising $17 million in new revenue to create a new program when our budget is $2 billion in the hole,” said Senator Doug Whitsett (R-Klamath Falls), who sits on the Ways and Means Committee.

“Our goal should be to help Oregonians who are hurting purchase food, rent, and heat, and create lasting, local jobs at the same time,” said Ferrioli. “Adding to government’s bottom line by increasing spending and raising taxes is foolish in this environment.”

Republicans proposed a plan last week that would put money back into Oregonians’ pockets and create 2,453 lasting jobs. The plan would simply give Oregonians part of their tax refunds now, rather than next year, and put $100 million directly back into the Oregon economy. The plan does not cost the taxpayers a dime and would start creating jobs immediately.