Special Session: Political Theater

By Rep. E. Werner Reschke

The Governor has called a special session of the Oregon legislature for the week of May 21st. According to the Governor, the purpose of this special session is to pass one bill which will address an “obvious inequity in Oregon’s tax system”. With the changes to the Federal Tax code passed by President Trump in 2018, Oregon’s state taxes automatically connect to Trump’s new deduction. However, in February, State Democrats led the charge to reject those automatic tax breaks for Oregon’s small businesses and to keep Oregon’s previous state tax code.

The difference for Oregon’s small businesses, between the State accepting the code from the Trump tax plan and remaining with Oregon’s previous tax code, is over $1 billion during the next five years. A $1 billion cash flow infusion that was intended for the pockets of Oregon’s entrepreneurs and Etsy moms will now go to the State of Oregon, which already collects a record amount of revenue. Salem’s tax and spend politicians are elated.

The Governor’s call for a special session will only grant approximately 12,000 of Oregon’s 260,000 smallest businesses a tax break. Sole proprietors with at least 1 full time employee will see a reduction in rates. That’s it.

This “simple fix” could have easily been accomplished when the Oregon Legislature met in February. What the Governor calls a special session, I call an election year political stunt. The Governor and Democrat leadership who stripped $1 billion from Oregon’s small businesses in February now want to give less than 5% of those same businesses a tax cut in order to claim the Governor is a friend to small businesses.

As long as Oregonians continue to elect Democrats to run our State government, the machine in Salem will never have enough of your money. The question is, with record State tax receipts, who would better spend the $1 billion over the next five years from the Trump Tax Cuts: The State of Oregon or Oregon’s small businesses.

I voted to support all of Oregon’s small business. I will continue to champion the idea that more money in the hands of Oregon’s small businesses and entrepreneurs will benefit Oregonians far more than putting it into the hands of politicians and bureaucrats.

Political Theater. That’s all the special session is — to help Governor Brown present the facade of helping small business in order to win re-election, despite dismal polling numbers. It’s time for a change.

E. Werner Reschke represents Southern Klamath & Lake Counties in the Oregon State House of Representatives.