Rebecca Tweed & John Tapogna
Rebecca Tweed is the Campaign Coordinator for Defeat The Tax On Oregon Sales, the official statewide coalition of Oregon consumers, taxpayers, small and large businesses, associations and organizations who have joined together to oppose IP28, the $6 billion tax on Oregon sales proposed for the 2016 state ballot.
John Tapogna is President of ECONorthwest, the largest economic consulting firm in the Pacific Northwest. John’s areas of expertise are in education, healthcare, human service, and tax policy. In education, he has directed evaluations of dropout prevention programs, the impacts of small class sizes, and the efficacy of small schools for clients like the Oregon Business Council, the Chalkboard Project, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to joining ECONorthwest, John was an analyst with the U.S. Congressional Budget Office.
The largest tax increase in Oregon history, and the proponents don’t care at all who gets put out of business, or out of their home, or just plain out of luck, as long as revenue goes into the state coffers. And the most regressive tax possible, too.
War has been declared, and you are all drafted. But first, let me tell you the true story of the time my uncle called me an idiot, and proved it in 30 seconds.
I was 19, a sophomore at Dartmouth, and thought I was all that and a bag of crisps. I mean, Ivy League, right? It was a summer family barbecue, and I was preaching (I was just a perfect little propagandized irrational liberal drone back then) that the War on Poverty wasn’t working because — wait for it! — businesses weren’t paying their fair share.
Cliffhanger. First a little more about the war that has started.
We’ve prevailed against sales tax proposals, and that’s good. But liberals never believe that businesses pay their “fair share”, and they’ve conned the public into taxing businesses more and more and more, and that’s bad.
So huddling sitting around the cauldron bar one night, someone cackled quipped, “Hey! We can get a sales tax by just hiding it as a tax on business sales!” And another, inspired by the boldness, “And let’s tax every level, from start to finish, so that it’s the biggest sales tax in history, but completely hidden.”
Some have said it would take witchcraft a big lie to get a sales tax in Oregon. That spell weapon is IP28
So, after my exclamation about business taxes being too low, my uncle slowly shook his head and said, “Tom, you are an idiot!” Well, my bag of crisps and I rose up, all Dartmouthy indignant, and complained, “Hey!” But he just kept talking, “I’ve had a business in Portland for 25 years, and I’ve NEVER paid any taxes!” Even more indignant, I exclaimed, “What do you mean, no taxes? You should be in JAIL!” Then came the coup de grace: “No, idiot, pay attention: I don’t pay any taxes. My customers pay my taxes!”
My mouth fell open, I rocked back on my heels, and I literally drooled on my shirt as the propaganda I had been fed got peeled off of me. I became a conservative on the spot, repented of being a complete economic idiot, and swore to myself that I would never trust a politician who did not ADMIT to this simple, and obvious, truth: businesses pay NO taxes, their customers do.
In the 40+ years since then, I’ve studied that moment over and over, and the hard facts just became inescapable: every business, and every person who has adjustments they can make, writes the check for any tax, but then transfers the cost somewhere else. Businesses quit hiring, lay people off, raise prices, or move. People who have discretionary income don’t buy as many pizzas, go on as nice a vacation, or don’t buy a new car, and start mowing their own lawn again. And the shifts in behavior keep happening until that tax hits the people who simply can’t adjust, because every nickel is for essentials: the poorest among us. And those are the people who pay the price, in lost jobs and opportunities as well as higher prices.
And here’s the 10-second, two-line bumper sticker distillation of those years:
All taxes tax the poor, because no matter who writes the check, the poor ultimately pay the price.
And THAT’S why the War on Poverty never worked, and couldn’t.
And before I forget: the first politician I heard admit that truth: Ronald Reagan
Which brings me back to the war, again. The one you and I are in, NOW!
To beat this thing called IP28, go tell your neighbors, “Don’t be like that Ivy League idiot Tom Harrison, who thought businesses were going to somehow magically cough up more money.” Ask them, “Why do the proponents of IP28 hate the poor so much, that they want them to pay 5-10-15% more for food?”
You get the idea. Remember, it’s war. Come to the induction ceremony, Wednesday night.
~ ~ ~
Portland Airport Shilo Inn ~~ 11707 Northeast Airport Way
Bring a friend! ~~ $20 select menu option ~~ no host bar
And of course, the cigar room, afterward
Next meeting after this: September 7th
Visit our full calendar page
Calendar feed links, in .ics format (Outlook, Google):
July 6th meeting • Full ExecClub Calendar • September 7th meeting