Representative Sal Esquivel: Insanity of raising business taxes

From State Representative Sal Esquivel,

There is so much happening in our world it is difficult sometimes to focus in on topics for a newsletter. Many of the issues that are being dealt with at the national level are the same concerns we dealt with at the state level this last Legislative Session. I fear that more of the same is ahead. As many of you are aware there will be a special election in January. It is vitally important that we, as Oregonians, defeat the tax levies. Oregon stands to lose approximately 70,000 jobs from the private sector if these new taxes stand. Can we afford to lose that many more jobs? I say No.

I want to take a moment to talk about what the majority party keeps touting as “Corporate Taxes”. You have all heard the comments about “corporations don’t pay their fair share of taxes” — and “corporations only pay $10 a year in taxes”. Well it is time for some clarification. The $10 per year that corporations have paid is not a tax — has nothing to do with taxes, but is a registration fee. Anytime anyone registers a company with the State of Oregon they pay a registration fee. This fee varies — and to be honest with you — needed to be adjusted — but it is not a tax and has nothing to do with the amount of money corporations pay in taxes.

Do corporations pay taxes? Sure they do —if they make money they pay taxes — just like the rest of us. If they lose money — they do not pay taxes — just like the rest of us — until now. The new tax bills passed through the Legislature this last session puts a gross revenue tax on corporations that DO NOT MAKE A PROFIT! That is correct. If you own a corporation and DO NOT MAKE A PROFIT — you are going to pay a tax calculated on your GROSS sales. Not your net — but your GROSS.

I have yet to meet anyone that can explain to me how a corporation that did not make a profit will be able to afford to pay taxes on their gross sales — you would have to ask the leaders and members of the majority party for an explanation. However, you may want to bear in mind that most of them have never signed the front of a paycheck — just the back — and they do not, for one minute, understand what it takes to operate a business.

What do corporations bring to the table in the State of Oregon? JOBS — that is the best and simplest answer. If we have successful corporations in our state we have JOBS. People with jobs pay taxes — without corporations, No JOBS — No TAXES. And if you watch the news you will see that tax revenue in the State of Oregon is “lower than expected.” Well, what did they expect. When the legislature threatens corporations with more taxes, corporations are going to hire less people — guess what — fewer JOBS — so fewer TAX DOLLARS into the coffers.

The second tax measure deals with personal income tax on “the higher incomes” in our state. If this levy is allowed to stand, Oregon will tie for having the highest income tax burden in the nation. Apparently there’s a difference between tax rates and per capita income tax burden. In other states where this proposal has been carried out, “the wealthy” as they are referred to -simply moved! Whatever makes the majority party of Oregon think that “the wealthy” in this state won’t simply relocate, taking their business, their corporations, their families and their wealth with them just like they did in Maryland?

The lack of common sense on the part of my majority party associates at the Legislature simply astounds me. It is as if they do not comprehend where the tax dollars come from, where they are generated and how they arrive in Salem for them to spend.

If Oregon continues down this path of self destruction we will find ourselves living in a state that has no new business ventures, fewer tax producing corporations and employees, fewer jobs (we are already #4 nationwide in unemployment) and absolutely no one wanting to bring a new business to this state. What are they thinking?