Dems push for a sales tax for Oregon

by NW Spotlight

This week KATU reported that “a group of Portland-area lawmakers think the time is right to propose a sales tax in Oregon,” even though Oregon voters have rejected a sales tax nine times. Three Democratic state legislators are backing the idea: Sen. Mark Hass, Sen. Ginny Burdick and Rep. Tobias Read.

The 5% sales tax proposal calls for (initially) cutting property and income taxes in half, and (initially) cutting the capital gains and corporate taxes. Willamette Week reports that the sales tax, combined with the other tax cuts, would raise an extra $1.9 billion a biennium for the state budget. The current state General and Lottery Funds’ budget is $14.8 billion (biennium).

The addition of a sales tax for Oregon would give legislators another knob to turn to increase tax revenues.

As was noted in Oregon Catalyst back in November, state spending in Oregon doubled in ten years, growing from $30 billion to $60 billion. The Oregon All Funds budget doubled from the budget ending in 2001 to the budget ending in 2011. The state’s General and Lottery Funds’ budget, a subset of the All Funds budget, went up by 35% during that same time.

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Posted by at 06:31 | Posted in Oregon House, Oregon Senate, State Taxes | 27 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Bob Clark

    How discouraging. Folks are swallowing hard on the crack-cocaine-like addiction of unbridled government spending at both the local and federal levels. This attempt at the sales tax is about expanding government spending at a time when Oregon personal incomes remain stagnate. I suspect the promotion of the income-sales tax platform as being more stable than just the income tax alone is bogus. The state of California has also a combined income and sales tax platform, and yet California is a financial basket case (and those with means often flee from it or hire high priced attorneys to work the tax code for tax relief). California’s tax revenues I suspect were just as volatile as those of Oregon during the last decade (will research).

    At the federal level, Obama is really selling unrestricted printing of money with the wink of the eye saying we just need another “fix” and then we’ll try getting off our federal overspending binge at some point in the foggy future. The press and media only are too glad to sweet talk citizens into taking the “fix.” Obama is the Joker who’s taken over as Gotham’s mayor by throwing continuous parties for the common folk (while emptying the city’s treasury). The GOP tries to stop the drug induced partying but the crowd may be lost. It could be a heck of a bad hang over someday. So, I find myself starting to think more in terms of Clint Eastwood’s “Kelly Heroes.” Preserving’s one lot (or getting even richer…finding the gold that is in the Kelly Heroes vane) becomes more inviting than trying to wake up the stoned electorate.
    Portland City Hall meanwhile wants to undo property tax limits so it can continue blowing millions of tax payer dollars on hotels and intrusive, unproductive arts glitter (just take a trip to the east end of the Hawthorne bridge where a street car art project has been erected, taking out a loop for entering and exiting the Hawthorne bridge efficiently…the loop was taken out not by the tracks mine you but rather the Arts project itself). (Also there is $17 million dollars effectively given away to an upper end hotel downtown, and now tens of millions are contemplated for subsidizing the bad penny called the convention center hotel).

    • wgallamore

      Sorry for the “negative waves,” but how do you propose we keep more of our gold?

  • Burton Keeble

    Tobias, Mark, and Ginny are The Three Taxkateers. They never met a tax they didn’t like. Most unfortunately, over 2/3rds of HD 27 and SD14, and SD 18 feel the same way. 🙁

    Once they get the sales tax, it will go up incrementally, while the excepted items (food, clothing, etc.) will become less and less.

  • valley person

    Funny, I thought Republicans liked the sales tax because it is more regressive than the income tax. Did I miss a memo announcing when this changed?

    • Yeah, you missed something.: unlike the progressives, the republicans actually care about people. The progressives want energy prices to skyrocket and do not care who gets hurt. They want $10/gal gasoline and think transit is a viable substitute for a car.


    • Ballistic45

      Todays Republican Leadership want the same agenda of one world government under elitist control that Democrats do… The GOP has slid way off to the left and curse those like Ron Paul and his supporters for remaining on the spot the GOP use to inhabit.. Conservatives actually care about people… They do favor Sales tax over Income Tax but NOT a COMBINATION OF BOTH… Dem-o-rats claim they represent the Middle Class and Poor yet EVERYTHING they have done HURTS the Middle Class and Poor the most.. From Legislation and Regulations that increase Cost of Living and Job losses to loss of choice and Rights… Yeah, Both Parties have used the Constitution as A$$ W|PE for decades.. The Republican Party is DEAD, they have betrayed their supporters to many times and are still doing so in the House of Representatives today.. They are now CINO’s, (Conservatives In Name Only)… It’s time for true Conservatives to find a NEW party who will honor their oaths and pledges and promote the values of their supporters….

      • valley person

        The GOP never inhabited the spot where Ron Paul sits. They have always been for more defense spending, against drug legalization, and pro big business.

        • Ballistic45

          Ron Paul is closer to the original foundation of the Republican Party than any now controlling the party… YES, Republicans support a STRONG Military because the PRIMARY purpose of the FEDERAL Government is the Safety of the Union from enemies both Foreign and Domestic… I would love to here a conversation between Pres. John Kennedy and Obama… I don’t think Kennedy would support the direction the Dem-O-Rats have taken this nation… Todays Dem-O-Rats mauntra is “Think Not of What You can do for your Country, Think What Your Country can do for YOU….

    • jeannie

      I like the sales tax because the people who spend more, pay more. The buyer of the $100 tennis shoes pays more tax than the buyer of the $30 shoes. That doesn’t sound regressive to me. A property tax is very regressive because ownership of property is not related to ability to pay the property taxes year in and year out. With a property tax, we never really own our home despite having paid off the mortgage. We’re essentially renting it from the government.

      • valley person

        The sales tax is regressive because the poorer you are the higher percent of your income you have to spend, he richer you are the higher percent you get to save. Since richer people tend to own more or more expensive property, that tax as a bit more progressive.

        But my point was that Republicans normally do not favor progressivity in taxes anyway, so why not get behind a sales tax?

        • guest

          Juror juror on the wall, what be the fairest tax of all?
          – Flats Domino

          • jeannie

            Lovin’ it! Thanks for the laugh, oh most welcome Guest.

        • jeannie

          Sales tax laws can be written to exclude various goods and/or services. Lower income people spend nearly all of their money on food and shelter. Exclude certain necessities and the poor will not pay a greater share of their income. Besides, sales taxes are a minor burden on the poor compared to the inflationary tax and spend policies of the federal government in collusion with the Federal Reserve.

          • Inflation seems not a great problem at present, or in the recent past. The poor will feel the pinch of a sales tax each time they pay their rent, buy an old car, etc. The poor also buy cameras, furniture, etc.

  • cecil91

    And then cut property and income taxes in half? Sure you will. Notice the article said “initially.” This smells like a set up for a classic bait and switch. I wouldn’t trust a democrat with any more money than I have to, because democrats are always seeking ways to distribute other peoples’ money for bleeding-heart causes.

    • jeannie

      The bleeding-heart cause is necessary to lend an air of moral authority to the self-serving intentions of the redistributor. Today’s “forgotten man” is the same as that described almost 100 years ago by Yale’s William Graham Sumner: “As soon as A observes something which seems to him wrong, from which X is suffering, A talks it over with B, and A and B then propose to get a law passed to remedy the evil and help X. Their law always proposes to determine what C shall do for X…” So the “forgotten man” is C, whose consent is missing. In today’s world, if C complains about this injustice, he is hammered by the self-righteous who demand that C pay his “fair share” – whatever that means.

      • valley person

        Sumners description sounds a bit off to me. Many people with means support raising taxes on themselves as well as others like them to pay more to help out X. I think one place Republicans have boxed themselves in intellectually is with this mistaken notion that only the poor favor taxing the rich more. Its just not true.

        • jeannie

          You’ve just made Sumner’s point: People want to raise not only their own taxes, but those of others. No one is stopping these generous souls from writing a check today. The catch is that they want to force others to back their version of a solution to X’s problem.

          • valley person

            Well, if Warren Buffet says please raise his tax rate, he means himself and others in his income bracket.

            No one is stopping you or other conservatives from refusing to cash your government checks. If you are so worried about deficits and taxes, don’t take any government funds.

          • jeannie

            Nothing is stopping Mr. Buffet from writing his check, but he doesn’t have the right to obligate the others. If the government is silly enough to send me money, I will have no qualms about accepting it, just as I have no guilt about using any public service for which I am required to pay.

  • Ballistic45

    Like an addict, government WILL NEVER HAVE ENOUGH……… And like an addict they will turn to robbing from others to maintain their addiction…. Like an addict they will always have excuses for their behavior none of which is their fault….

    • conservatively speaking

      Oregon’s ‘governmentium’ paradigm covets a sales tax to provide a third leg of $upport to keep spending from teetering off a fiscal cliff.

      Do not expect any income and/or property tax mitigation (or elimination) to ever occur. Bottom line – all a sales tax will net is an additional layer of taxing sensibilities beyond reason. Remember, too, sales taxes are not income deductible – and even now, there’s rumblings of property taxes losing income tax deductible status grab-ass well. Frankly, sales taxes are acutely regressive – yet look at those progressives who support it – and look out!

      Stop the insanity, close PERS and left wing politicians out before our ship of state goes hulking like a Bismark off the Pacific Shelf.

  • mike

    I truly believe a sales tax is the only way to help Oregon teach its children. Face it, teachers are way overworked and way, way underpaid. With a sales tax we could pay them upwords of 100K per year, which is what they are worth. Remember, they are professionals like doctors and lawyers. They must be paid the same or more and this would be the way to do it.

    • jeannie

      We could pay teachers more today without a sales tax if we weren’t paying for retirees with underfunded pensions. Ponzi schemes always end the same way, hurting those who trust in them. The government’s scam is much worse, of course, since workers and taxpayers have no choice but to participate. Besides, even with extra money, the teachers will always come in last behind the consultants, administrators, building contractors and textbook publishers. Of course, the union will get to skim off even more, which will make the politicians who live off the dues of the overworked teachers very happy indeed.

    • Ballistic45

      Are you kiddy? Don’t you Dem-O-Rats Every Learn from History? California has BOTH sales tax and Income tax… They are in more debt than many NATIONS… New York and California, the East and West Mecca’s of Liberalism are the most in debt states in the Union..

      At some point you will run into the fact that there is a bottom to taxation, the bowl is EMPTY…. If you took EVERY THING from those making over $250K, the businesses they own the investments they have, the homes, cars, boats, the clothes off their backs, and all their income.. It would not fund the Federal Government for even ONE FRIGGIN YEAR, THEN WHAT? Who you going to tax next, those making $50K and over, then $20k and over, then anyone.. THEN WHAT… You want this nation to work, put in on a Budget, cut spending just like any sane family would do on limited income.. This Nation hasn’t had a Budget in 4 years…. This State and the Obama Administration can only spend like Sex Menaces loose in a Whore House using Our Tax Payer Debit Card that is maxed out, do they quit spending NO, they want to raise the debt ceiling once again…. We are in trouble people… Both Parties have brought us to this point… We are quickly coming to a point where a Military Coup or Civilian Revolt will be the last resort for Freedom loving People… Obama and the Republicans are playing games with our economy, they are drilling holes in the hull of the Titanic hoping to save the ship….

  • Gullyborg

    “would raise an extra $1.9 billion” – and THAT is the problem with the idea! Unlike most in this state, I am at least open to the idea of a sales tax IF other taxes are cut to the point that the net revenue is the same. But what we can clearly see here is, this proposal is not just a different way of taking the same amount of money from us – it is a disguised way to take MORE. STOP TAKING MORE OF OUR MONEY!!!

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