Taxpayer Association of Oregon
Lawmaker profile series
by Rebecca Tweed
State Senator Jason Atkinson (Central Point””R) has introduced legislation for a tax credit for making contributions to charitable institutions. The tax credit would work similar to the current Oregon Political Tax Credit which gives you $50 as an individual or $100 as a couple for donating to a campaign, candidate or political action committee. The charitable tax credit means you can use this tax allotment for donations to YMCAs, Rescue Missions, Goodwills, etc. This isn’t the first time Senator Jason Atkinson had introduced this bill, having tried in the 2005 legislative session as well, but it is the first time he thinks it will pass. “I have a lot of support this time around and I think it will happen, despite the fact that Democrats hate tax credits with a capital H.,” says Senator Jason Atkinson. “I think Oregonians would support this as well””it allows them to support their charities and get a pat on the back for it.”
Currently, the political tax credit is around $16million worth of contributions across the state. “Imagine what would happen if that amount of money was going to our local charities. We know the government can’t do what hearts and minds can do,” says Senator Atkinson. “Philanthropy has fallen with the stock market; let’s encourage neighbors to help neighbors.”
Aside from the charitable tax credit legislation, Senator Jason Atkinson prefers not to introduce many bills. “As a Republican, I don’t believe my role philosophically is making more government,” says the senator. He has introduced two big bills, two conservation bills and the rest of them are constituents’ concepts and needs.
One particular bill Senator Jason Atkinson is bringing forward is the result of some teenagers from Medford approaching him. Because of the city’s definition of what a “business” is, high schoolers have to get a business permit just to host a car wash, bake sale or lemonade stand. The Senator’s legislation will allow for individuals 17 and under to host such events without a business permit.
“We’re putting a stop to this immediately. It’s stupid to think that an 18 year old needs to file a business permit to raise money,” says Senator Jason Atkinson. “The kids are trying to do things in the community and the city is making it difficult for them, which doesn’t fly with me.”