Oregon House Republicans Press Release 6-21-07:
DEMOCRATS PUSH CONSTITUTIONAL TAX INCREASE WITHOUT PUBLIC INPUT
Democrats Continue to Break Promises of Transparency and Collaboration SALEM”” Desperate to pass an unsustainable program, Democrats are now attempting to place a tax increase in the state constitution. As they seek passage of Senate Joint Resolution 4, the Democrats are violating the will of Oregon voters by pushing a tax increase without a supermajority vote.
“Democrats are so desperate to pass a tax increase they’re willing to clog our constitution,” said House Republican Leader Wayne Scott (R-Canby). “Even worse, they’re thwarting Measure 25 and throwing the supermajority rule out the window. Democrats only respect the will of Oregon voters when it’s convenient to their political agenda.”
In addition to abusing the constitution, Democrats continue to subvert the legislative process by pushing bills without public notice or public hearings. Breaking earlier promises of making the House “more transparent and collaborative,” Democrats on the House Elections, Ethics and Rules Committee yesterday scheduled and passed SJR 4 on a party-line vote within a couple of hours.
“The idea of amending the constitution with a tax increase has little precedent,” said Rep. Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer), a member of the House Election, Ethics and Rules Committee.
“Considering the implications of a constitutional amendment, Oregonians should’ve had the opportunity to publicly comment on this major legislation. I’m shocked at the Democrats’ disregard for our rules on public hearings.”
The Democrats are pushing SJR 4 and its tobacco tax increase as a source of funding for the “Healthy Kids” program. House Republicans have rejected earlier versions because tobacco tax revenue will not sustain the new insurance program into the future.
“This Legislature is proposing to increase tobacco taxes, and we’ve already passed legislation to expand the statewide smoking ban,” Rep. Scott said. “Combined, these two measures will contribute to a long-term decline in tobacco revenue. It’s simply wrong to mortgage children’s health care on such an unsustainable revenue source.”