Monday, January 11, 2010

Yes on 66 and 67: Pony up, Fat Man!

Oregon is enmeshed in a special election right now to reform tax policy.  Many voters have already received ballots (although I haven't yet received mine).

This election will determine state income tax policy for both individuals and corporations.  There are two measures on the ballot.

Measure 66

This measure is a referral of State House Bill 2649, which would increase personal income taxes by adding a temporary tax bracket for individuals earning between $125,000 and $250,000 with a rate of 10.8% and a temporary tax bracket for individuals earning over $250,000 with a rate of 11%. These taxes expire January 1, 2012. HB 2649 also adds a new permanent tax bracket for individuals earning over $125,00 per year with a rate of 9.9% per year.*

According to Eugene School District 4J, Measure 66 would:
  • Increase tax rates on the amount of taxable income over $250,000 for households ($125,000 for single filers) by 1.8 to 2 percentage points.
  • Eliminate income taxes on the first $2,400 of unemployment benefits received in 2009.
  • Provide approximately $472 million in funds currently budgeted for education, health care, public safety and other services.
Measure 67

Measure 67 is a referral of HB 3405, which would increase taxes on corporations. HB 3405 increases the corporate minimum tax from $10 to $150. It establishes a corporate minimum tax of 1/10 of 1% of sales, with a cap of $100,000. It adds a new tax bracket for corporations with taxable income over $250,000 with a rate of 7.9%. The rate for this tax bracket falls to 7.6% after January 1, 2011. After January 1, 2013 the bracket only applies to taxable income over $10 million dollars. HB 3405 also increases most business filing fees, and specifies that the proceeds will go to the general fund. The fee increases range from 50-100%.*

Again, referring to information provided by Eugene School District 4J, Measure 67 would:
  • Raise the $10 corporate minimum tax:
    • Most businesses would pay a minimum tax of $150.
    • Corporations with over $500,000 in Oregon revenues would pay minimum tax of about 0.1% of Oregon revenues.
    • Sole proprietors would not be impacted.
  • Raise the tax rate for C corporations by 1.3% on profits over $250,000.
  • Increase certain business filing fees.
  • Provide approximately $255 million in funds currently budgeted for education, health care, public safety and other services.
Why vote "yes?"

These measures are opposed by well-funded interests, including the Associated General Contractors of America, Oregon Restaurant Association, and Oregon Chamber of Commerce.  In other words, fat cats. That list of opponents is, in itself, powerful incentive to vote for the two measures. (Apparently, some local Portland rag wrote an op-ed in opposition, too.  But who the hell reads newspapers nowadays? Particularly, corrupt, has-been newspapers that knuckle under to every blowhard that casts a stern glance in their direction.)

Please consider:  When times were less difficult, when everyone was working and making money, it was often easier and less expensive to let piratical corporate entities have their way than to try to coerce them into doing the right thing and contributing to the communities off which they leech.  But times have changed, haven't they?

Intel or Nike may not have been among the benefactors of the obscene (in retrospect) tax-payer funded bail-outs that were required to salvage our financial system.  But they are members of the Oregon community.  They profit from the publicly-funded infrastructure.  They reap the benefits of having an educated population. And they have grown fat off Oregon labor.

I'm not inclined to feel an ounce of charity to these faceless corporate entities.  Pony up, punks!

As far as the new tax brackets created for upper income individuals --we're in the stew, folks.  Unemployment is high, the number of persons living in poverty is on the rise, and our schools which provide the best hope we have for a better future, are in dire need of funding.  Folks, can't you see that we're all going to have to chip in if we're going to come out of this mess with a society that is worth saving?

Please join me in voting "yes" on Measures 66 and 67.

*Information courtesy of Business/Economy Reporter Ersun Warncke.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The "faceless corporate entities" employ THOUSANDS of your neighbors and friends.

The reason we enjoy the highest level of living on this planet is free market capitalism. ON that, there can be no debate. It wasn't communism, socialism or eat the rich class warfare.

The reason I'll be voting against BOTH of these ill conceived measures is governments refusal to live within it's means and trim the budget. While the rate of inflation stays around 2% Oregon State government wants to increase their budget at about 9% per annum.

You're right: times are tough. It's time for the government of Oregon to do what we all have done, cut back.