Rep. Greg Barreto: What drives Oregon business away

barrettogrgeLawmaker profile of State Representative Greg Barreto
By Taxpayer Association Oregon

“We need to keep businesses in Oregon,” says Oregon Legislator Greg Barreto. In fact, the major reason he ran for office was his frustration with Measures 66 and 67, which proposed tax increases on business. Both passed. Barreto says that Oregon has 40 different taxes trying to get passed this year. “We need to keep in mind that business owners & entrepreneurs donate and create jobs. Oregon is chasing these people out,” Baretto says. He cited as an example a donation of $9 million to the Salem-Kaiser School District to get a tech career curriculum going and fund a building and equipment.

Greg Baretto is especially interested in HB 3405, the Oregon minimum tax law. “Right now,” he says, “if a business makes no money in a bad year, the state will tax on the gross sales.” He advocates striking that part from the bill. This year, according to the Tax Foundation, 31 states have a lower corporate income tax rate than Oregon, whose rate is 7.6%. Iowa has the highest rate at 12%; Texas and five other states charge no corporate income tax at all.

It’s hard for Oregon to compete with states that have no corporate income tax, especially when we are raising ours. HB 3405 and HB 2649 increased taxes in the state’s corporate minimum tax by $733 million, raised taxes on households and corporations making more than $250K a year, and raised income taxes on businesses.

Even so, the 2014 Forbes’ Best States for Business List ranked Oregon #18 overall, with a Business Cost Rank of #12. The Tax Foundation’s 2014 State Business Tax Climate Index ranked Oregon #12. In terms of per capita real GDP growth from 2007 to 2013, Oregon is #2 in the nation, second only to North Dakota, according to the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis.