Merkley Senate Run Poses Big Tax Problem

Taxpayer Association Press Release 8-1-07:

Merkley Senate Run Poses Big Tax Problem
State Representative Jeff Merkley who is running for the U.S. Senate, may have to contend with nearly 10 years of tax increase votes.

“Having voted to raise billions of dollars in higher taxes and fees in Oregon, State Rep. Jeff Merkley now wants to raise billions more by seeking a run to the U.S. Senate in 2008. Few people in the legislature are more aggressive about passing new taxes than State Rep. Jeff Merkley.” said Jason Williams of the Taxpayer Association of Oregon. The Taxpayers Association of Oregon compiled a list of his tax votes dating back to 1999 to demonstrate a very forceful record of raising taxes at all levels of government (see below).

Largest tax increase in Oregon history: Voted Yes HB2152 in 2003, the largest tax increase in Oregon history ($800 million). Rejected by voters as Measure 30.
Higher income taxes (HB 2152) Rejected by voters.
New taxes on Oregon’s seniors (HB2152). Rejected by voters.
Increased property taxes (HB2152). Rejected by voters.
New small business tax (HB2152). Rejected by voters.
Income Tax Surcharge: A $700 million tax increase (HB4079 in 2002). An increase later rejected by voters when placed on the ballot as Measure 28.
New corporate taxes: (HB3068 in 2005)
Raiding Kicker Tax Refunds: Voted to suspend the “kicker” (HB3216 in 2005), voted to raid a 1/’3rd of the kicker funds (2001 as SB 963), voted against putting kicker in constitution which was overwhelmingly approved by voters (1999 as HJR 17)
Higher transportation taxes: Voted to double vehicle license fees (2001 as HB 2142) and higher airline fuel taxes (1999 as HB2199)
38 New Tax Increases: Lead Democrats in sponsoring 38 new tax increases in the 2005 session.
Make it easier for local governments to raise taxes: Paved the way for increased property taxes by supporting H.J.R. 15 in 2007, a resolution proposed to eliminate the double majority rule for property tax measures.
Opposed tax cuts: Twice Merkley twice opposed cutting capital gains taxes (2001 as SB 67, 2005 as HB 2332).
Oppose Bush Tax Cuts: Merkley voted against supporting the popular Bush tax cuts which bounced the nation out of the recession (2001 as House Joint Memorial 28).


Note on HB 2152-: Raises Income Tax Rate at graduated rates from 1%-9% to collect $544 million. Removes Medical Deduction for thousands of seniors based in part on age and on income level. Increases property tax burden by cutting in half the early payment discount (which is used heavily by seniors). Increases Small business taxes by raising the corporate minimum tax from $10 to as much as $5,000. Bill also eliminated business tax credits,

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to LinkedIn Post to Reddit

Posted by at 04:40 | Posted in Measure 37 | 13 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post

    His election capaign sent me an e-mail today stating he was running against Smith ( Sadly, Merkley is my Rep.).

    I e-mailed them back and encouraged him to run since he’ll have to give up his house seat to do so. I also told him that due to his horrible conduct this year and support of some very poor bills that I would do everything in my power to keep him from being elected.

    This guy is not worth the time I just spent writing this, he definitely isn’t someone Oregon should want or needs in the US Senate!

  • nme

    that means you can run to replace him!!!!
    Put a dude in the House!


    Dude, I live in Portland (what else needs to be said, lol!). They don’t vote for anyone who believes they need to get it together and become self reliant.

  • Wayne Brady

    This may save Gordon Smith’s bacon. Merkley is so scary, people may be forced to vote for Smith. What a concept.

    The fringe benefit here is we get Merkley out of the state legislature.

  • Dave A.

    I can hardly wait until the very long list of taxes Merkley voted for becomes public in 2008! As someone else pointed out elsewhere, better known candidates such as Peter DeFazio, John Kitzhaber, and Earl Blumenauer didn’t want to run against Senataor Smith. Smith will win in a landslide if Merkley is his opponent!

  • Oregonrain

    I have been looking for a conservative site like this. Its so boring blogging with people who think more or less the same way. I am glad to see Merkley jump in. Gordooon is so beatable.

    Lets take a look at some of the really “bad” things this Merkely has done. Lets see..”he voted against the Bush tax cuts. WOW. You mean the same tax cuts that helped take us from a surplus to the largest deficits in history. Those tax cuts. Good on you Merkely I like this guy more every time you folks on this site say he has done something bad.

    Voted to “Raid the Kicker”. Well there are of course two types one for Corporations and the other for real people. I wonder which he voted to “raid”. But lets just assume the worst case and say it was both. Who in this state wants to see our system be what economists see as “pro-cyclical”. That means that the worse the economy gets the more the state has to cut spending. Now that will strike like ALL of you folks as a GREAT idea. CUT SPENDING. (not that I oppose that)

    The fact is that the great depression was in part (after protectionist leg) triggered by this type of pro-cyclical type of economics. As things got worse Hoover cut the budgets more and more and so the economy ground to a halt.

    So under the theory here (that having no rainy day fund) what we want is NOT to have a rainy day fund…so that as the economy gets worse…and it will get worse one day…(especially once all the chickens come home to roost from the Bush era Wall Street binge) we do not want any money saved to perhaps try to balance things out a bit.

    I am sure I have given you folks over here on the conservative side some stuff to chew on…(or on me) but one more parting shot.

    Lets talk about the Iraq War which Gordoon supports…oops…no he does not…wait or does he…did he… Whatever, if you are going to go to war (good or bad) guess what…you have to actually PAY FOR IT. Oh, unless you are Gordoon. Then you just vote to have the gov print more money.



      The great depression was actually only a 7% dip in the market. What exasperated the problems was that there were no laws against leveraging yourself like there is today. For example, people were controlling $100,000 worth of stocks with only $1000 worth of the real stock. When the market dipped those people were on the line for the margin ($7000) and couldn’t pay so they lost everything.

      The above , coupled with the dust bowl is what everyone remembers though the dust bowl wasn’t much of a factor in the cause of the depression.

  • Oregonrain


    Those were also factors.

    I think the leverage of 1929 is a drop in the bucket compared to that now being done by Hedge Funds that are NOT regulated in any manner thanks to the Bush administration. Warren Buffet (one of the greatest investors in our life times agrees with me).

    In addition, in 1929 you did not need a supercomputer to figure out what the actual exposure was. The problem today (among many others created by Gordoon and the like) is that no one really knows what the total exposure is to some of these derivative “products”.

    Wall Street has been allowed to run wild and has been given huge tax incentives to do it. The mantra of this administration and people like Gordoon who cast the votes to allow it is to treat income derived from “capital” much more favorably under the tax code than income derived from WORK.

    In short if you got a lot of money from mommy and daddy in a trust fund it throw off dividend income which is not taxed while if you work pulling a green chain…opps you have to pay lots of taxes.

    That is what Jeff Merkley voted against. God Love him.

    Funny..other than you there does not seem to be a taste on your site to debate all this. I think it shows how bankrupt the republican platform of “ideas” has become. Its about time.



      Sorry, I just threw the depression thing in cuz many people think that it was the dust bowl that started it. Merkely is way too liberal for my tastes, I’m sure he’s a nice person and has voted for a decent bill on occaision, his overall voting record is what I judge him on and don’t like.

      However I don’t believe that Hedge Funds are in a position to do the same damage as leveraging did in ’29. In ’29 a large portion of the average general public were playing the market. In this day and age most of the general puiblic invest through brokers into much safer vehicles, though some still invest foolishly. We’ve had much higher than 7% drops recently and other start-ups and day traders most were able to ride out the storm and make a tidy profit on the back end.

    • Jeffrey Borrowdale

      Tax Cuts are never good for the economy; the idea that Hoover made the economy worse by cutting budgets is absurd. On the other hand, the Bush tax cuts on investments did spur economic growth and resulted in a net INCREASE of revenues, just as they did when Kennedy cut taxes in the 60s and Reagan did in the 80s. As you seem to recognize, the problem is SPENDING, a problem driven by EARMARKS, Republicans feeling like they need to compete with the Democrats in promising free stuff from the government to voters and out of control entitlement spending, such as Bush’s PRESCRIPTION DRUG boondoggle.

      When you cut taxes to give the economy a shot in the arm, you need to do it on the leading edge, not on the trailing edge of consumption, so companies expand and invest in capital equipment. The bottom half barely pays any tax anyway and consumes a lot of government services, so it makes sense to cut the taxes of people who are already paying more.

      Your trust fund example comes off as Marxist. The vast majority of investors are in the middle class and work hard for their money (as did someone who left that trust fund behind, which I assume you’d like to steal and redistribute).

      Government spending is 30% of GNP and is a huge drag on the economy. It clearly needs to come down. The problem is that tax raisers like Merkley are almost NEVER spending cutters, so taxes AND spending end up going up and up.

  • John Verbeek

    I do not yet buy the argument that Oregonians should pay more taxes.
    Inflation raises our taxes automatically, including real estate taxes on our homes, and including inflation in Oregon’s population. Moreover, the alternative minimum tax has been adding to the tax burden of many tax payers, and because it is not adjusted for cost of living increases, will increasingly continue to do so. Then there is last year’s tax kicker still (?) sitting on a shelf. On top of this, there is additional fund raising through bond issues.
    How much revenue is enough?

    Therefore, I am less concerned about the revenue side, as I am about the spending side of the equation. Where do these revenues with their increases go? The fact reported by last Sunday’s Oregonian, that proceeds of a recent school bond issue primarily ended up covering salary and benefit increases is quite discouraging. I felt a little bit deceived. I thought I was voting for more teachers and smaller class rooms when the issue came up in the election. Public servants sounding strong but who in fact uncourageously are scaring if not bullying me, and other people, into tax increases repetitively owe us more transparency, and owe us alternatives from the spending side (budget cuts).

    We the people should be given the information and the tools (clear written ballot) to decide. It s our future. Salem is there for us, not the other way around, is it?

    • Oregonrain

      Well I am not a Marxist I assure you. I wanted to wait until the next shoe dropped in the stock market before I responded. I am afraid the the leverage in the system is much worse than 1929 at this point. Warren Buffet agrees with me. Who do you site for your statement that leverage is less?

      Now to be honest no one really knows how much leverage there is. John, you are a smart guy but I promise you that you really do not know. You have an opinion not facts.

      The Federal Reserve has just reported ( an hour ago or so ) that they just injected $24.0 billion into the banking system. John, they do not do that unless there is a problem a big problem. I am thinking that some really rich people are getting called away from their vacations in the Hamptons right about now.

      Its cool with me as I have been 33% in cash the last three weeks so all is well. Not the talk one would get from a Marxist. I just wonder if you think its reasonable that I guy like me will pay less taxes on what I make today pushing buttons than someone who is really working?

      There is no debate that it is “fair” for me to make a pile of money pushing buttons at the beach. That is the way it works and I would do nothing to change that. The real question is….is it reasonable that those gains be taxed at 15% when wages are taxed at a much higher rate? That is what Gordooon is for.

      I do not support “taking peoples money” that has been worked for. I just do not think that people who did not work for it, my trust fund example…should get better tax treatment than people who do really work for it.

      On your other comment I would never support bond measures (borrowing) to support operations of a public school. I might if the economy was in a mess but now …no. The example you site should be looked into and have it determined if the bonds were sold on the basis of providing operating funds or capital. If they are misusing the proceeds that is a problem and probably actionable as securities fraud.

      I agree of course that as inflation rises so do taxes. The only problem is that so does the cost of lets say…ah bridge repair. Just as an example.

      John my really issues with Gordoon is that he panders to folks like you and the others on here. He tells you that you can have it all….a war…lower taxes…bridge repair…whatever. Guys like Gordoon tell you that all the spending is fraud waste and abuse. There is a ton of that especially with the Bush administration. But the fact is that more and more of the budget is getting spent on debt service. Should we just stop paying that?

      Finally, someone pointed out that 30% of the GDP is spend on gov at all levels. Wow….I learned something here. Thanks! That does sound high for sure. But…the fact is only about 25% of the GDP is taken up in revenue. That 5% of GDP difference is what people demand and people like Gordooon promise you that…guess what people really do not want to pay for.

      Take care.


      • CRAWDUDE

        As far as the leverage question, CNBC just reported a couple minutes ago what I had already mentioned. The hedge fund investors are the already wealthy, not the average person. Those are the people who will lose in the event the funds fail, that’s why the dip in prices today but the experts they interviewed didn’t think it would be a sustained drop.

        One side note since it’s almost Sept. Sept. is a month that stocks traditionally drop, no explanation for it other than many businesses and financials use the fiscal year for accounting and that is the month they consolidate their finance reports. Very hard to use Sept. data to gauge the next fiscal years outlook.

Stay Tuned...

Stay up to date with the latest political news and commentary from Oregon Catalyst through daily email updates:

Prefer another subscription option? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, become a fan on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Twitter Facebook

No Thanks (close this box)