Dems pass payroll tax

From House Republican Press Release 6-25-07:

HB 2575 Deducts $35 Million from Oregonians’ Paychecks in 2009-11

SALEM””On a party-line vote, House Democrats today passed a new payroll tax on Oregon workers to fund a government-run family leave insurance program. Once the program is fully operational during the 2009-11 biennium, House Bill 2575 will withhold over $35 million from the paychecks of 1.2 million Oregonians.

“Democrats are sneaking through a payroll tax at the end of the session,” said House Republican Leader Wayne Scott (R-Canby). “This is another tax increase to create another unsustainable program.”

House Democrats passed the measure with 31 votes. Speaker Jeff Merkley (D-Portland) ruled HB 2575 was not a tax increase requiring a supermajority vote. House Republicans challenged the ruling, arguing many Oregonians taxed under HB 2575 may not actually benefit from the program. However, the majority Democrats shut down this discussion and sustained the Speaker’s ruling.

HB 2575 deducts one cent per hour from workers’ paychecks, and deposits the funds into an account administered by the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI). Rep. Bruce Hanna (R-Roseburg) said BOLI has no experience running an insurance program, and there’s no assurance the fund won’t run out of money. No actuarial work has been done to ensure it’s sustainable, and the legislation does not establish a reserve fund to protect taxpayers from any unfunded liability that might occur.

Added Rep. Hanna, “how many private insurance companies can come to Oregon and set up a new program with no reserves and no actuarial work?”

Rep. Kevin Cameron (R-Salem) said Oregon workers will be hit by the payroll tax during the 2007-09 biennium, yet taxpayers won’t receive any benefit from the $9 million that will be deducted from their paychecks. He said the revenue is only going to be used to “create a bureaucracy that’s bound to fail”¦or until the Legislature is forced the raise the payroll tax again.”

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Posted by at 06:11 | Posted in Measure 37 | 17 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Jerry

    Sorry folks, but I don’t want to pay for someone’s kid to have health coverage.
    I am outta here!

  • Anonymous

    Typical Democratic reasoning. At least at this point the employees will be paying for their own????


    This isn’t for health care, it’s a program to pay more people who don’t want to work from the pockets of those who do. 35 million isn’t even close to what they’ll need…………….they’ll be back for more!

  • Jay Bozievich

    It amazes me how the Democrats call this an insurance program but insist that Social Security is not. The D’s plan to lift the the cap on SS because they claim it is basically a tax they can use for income redistribution. But, in this case they are claiming the family leave program is an insurance program and it is a fee that does not need a super majority????

    Their inconsistent logic and twisting of language is just amazing. Kind of like the “tax expenditures” stuff they came up with a few years ago.


      Hopefully it’ll be sent to the Oregon Supreme Court and they will strike it down……….lol!

  • r huse

    Lets do the math $35 mil withheld from 1.2 mil. That’s basically $29 per person that this fund builds. Do you think the benefits and admin costs per person are going to be $29? I sure don’t.

    Do you think that legislators don’t own a calculator and couldn’t do this simple math on their own? I don’t.

    Do you think there will be academy award winning feigned surprise when gee, this program is under funded and we have to increase the tax? I do.

    Anyone who thinks that people wont take full advantage of this, kick back, stay home with the sick cat, get paid, hope they get fired so then they can sue is a blithering idiot. The only bigger group of idiots will be those who continue to work harder and harder to pay the bills for this sort of nonsense.

    Unfortunately I count myself in the latter group. Too stupid to move, even stupider to have hope that sanity will grip the legislature

    • Anonymous

      The idea of giving up your home to move is hard. When I moved to Oregon, I thought I had found home. As soon as we can we’re leaving the state. Anybody interested in buying a business?

    • anthony

      A few points of clarification:
      1) Sick cats aren’t covered under FEMLA so they would be covered under family leave.
      2) It is illegal to fire someone because they utilize FEMLA benefits, so employers won’t be firing anyone utilizing this unless they want a lawsuit
      3) The benefits are fairly modest and time-limited in order to keep the cost down. In most cases, an employee would make substantially more working than utilizing this benefit. It is designed as a cushion and not intended to fully replace regular income.

      I’m sad that you think Oregon isn’t a great place to live. I have lived here for over 10 years (Washington before that) and love all that it has to offer. Yes, it has its share of problems, but you won’t escape those elsewhere just trade these for another set. I, personally, am happy with the sentiment of this bill – that working families shouldn’t have to choose between feeding their families and being there for them when they need help (newborns or catastrophic illness.) You may disagree with the implementation, but I hope you at least share my belief that families are important and we should care about their well-being.

      I hope you both stick around – but if you don’t, God bless you wherever you end up.

  • anthony

    Um, have you guys actually read the bill or just this article? HB 2575 sets up Paid Family Leave insurance for people who want/need to take time off from work under the same circumstances that the Family Emergency Leave Act covers (Birth, catastrophic injury, care for a sick/dying family member) FEMLA (both OR and US) require employers to allow for time off without pay under emergency leave circumstances and require that the employee retain an equivalent position when they return.

    Many families would like to utilize FEMLA but are unable to because they cannot take time off without pay. HB 2575 sets up a program whereby an insurance program covers this time off (moderately) and allows a mother to be with her newborn (for instance) without incurring substantial economic loss. It’s good for families and good for Oregon. At a modest $29 per year, the it’s a humane investment in Oregon’s working families to help them when, children especially, need their family the most.


    I already pay for humane programs, Medi-care, SS, workmans comp. unemployment etc…. No I don’t want to pay someone not to be at work so they can have a kid they obviously can’t afford since they want to go on the dole to have it.

    They make different insurance vehicles that can be purchased by these people to cover such events, I suggest they do so and quit spending their money on lottery tickets and SUV’s. Either way I’m sick of footing their bills!

    Of course this is just my opinion, everyone is entitled to their own.

    • anthony

      I hear what you’re saying and understand the sentiment. We’re definitely coming at life from two different angles and have two different views of how and when the state can make our community a better place to live.

      I do want to address one statement about “having to go on the dole” – My opinion on this isn’t so much one of need as it is desirability. Many families can afford the day to day cost of a child (or children), but it is those initial weeks of bonding with a child and helping a mother with the day to day tasks that really can have a long-term positive impact on the family.

      While a new father may be able to afford the cost of the child, but have to remain working to so, I would love to offer him the opportunity to be with that child through those formative first weeks. It’s not only good for the father, but good for the mother and great for the child. I know that not everyone shares this value with me and wouldn’t voluntarily pay into this program, but I am personally hoping that this passes.

      Thanks for listening.

  • Ken Thomas

    Why are so many politicians interested in creating a government agency to compete directly with private business? Is it kingdom building? Is it ego’s? There are many, many private insurance vehicles available for this and health care, why does the state feel it necessary to add their guaranteed-to-be-inefficient activities to the competition?

    Whatever happened to the concept of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY? Whatever happened to the FAMILY providing help and support?

    Are we really ready to accept institutionalization by the state? That is exactly where this is heading. Personal Privacy, Personal Achievement, and eventually Personal Freedom will be a thing of the past once the state makes us all part of thess kinds of organized and structured mandated systems.

    First its reducing everything in our schools to the lowest common denominator instead of awarding achievement… now its reducing the workplace to the lowest common denominator and rewarding a lack of responsibility and achievement.


      I believe right now we are living in a state that is governed by socialists and some out and out communists. The voters put them in power so I guess I can only do my part to try and get them out of power in upcoming elections.

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