After outcry, Kotek delays tax plan (until after election?)

Taxpayers Association of Oregon

Last week we were the first to report that Oregon Governor Tina Kotek’s affordable housing task force, called Governor’s Housing Production Council, included 20 pages of recommendations which involved five different tax suggestions as seen below:

The tax suggestions were an income tax increase, a new payroll tax, a new retail sales tax, a property tax increase and a doubling of the gas tax.

Since these tax suggestions were released weeks before the super-short February Special Legislative Session, we asked people last week to call their lawmakers.   Thank you for those that did!

Now Governor Kotek has come out to delay any tax talk. A Willamette Week headline writes “No new taxes for housing in 2024.The governor’s Housing Production Advisory Council presents ideas to increase revenue, but Kotek pumps the brakes.”

This means Kotek will not be pushing for taxes in February, but may do it in 2025 , after the all-important Presidential election.

Here is the problem.

#1. The task force is made up of lawmakers and political leaders, and they may indeed recommend new taxes from their list of tax suggestions during the February Legislative Special Session.

#2. Governor Kotek is planning to fund $600 million this February Session on her affordable housing priorities.   This means Kotek may try to spend/commit the money in 2023, but find ways to pay for it later in 2024.  Kotek wants to expand more free tax cash for renter hand-out programs, and if she does, who will surprised if the program explodes in the amount of people who want the free money.   It may start out at $40 million, but then the State finds itself needing to pay $80 million in demands.  Then Kotek can declare a renters’ crisis, and demand a tax increase to pay for the obligation her plan created.

This is is why it was so important that taxpayers spoke their mind last week.  We won’t wait for tax surprises at the last minute.  We won’t wait for budget gimmicks that put taxpayers in debt.

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