The biggest story in Oregon politics this month was something that didn’t happen. On July 16, business interests abandoned an effort to repeal the Legislature’s $1 billion corporate tax increase to fund schools.
For decades, Republicans referred taxes to voters whenever they felt Democrats overstepped the will of the electorate. When timber executive Rob Freres wrote a $1 million check in June to fund an initiative campaign that would put the tax before voters, a 2020 trip to the ballot seemed inevitable.
But Democrats outfoxed Republicans at the close of the legislative session to pass a series of end-of-session bills to make a ballot initiative to overturn the tax increase more difficult.
Here’s what they did.
1. They made it more difficult to collect signatures.
Democrats passed Senate Bill 761, which sets new rules for gathering the tens of thousands of signatures needed for a ballot initiative. Campaigns used to be able to mass-email signature sheets to their mailing lists. Now, they can send the e-sheets only if voters ask for them. In addition, the sheets must contain the full text of the initiative, whereas in the past only a summary was required.
2. They picked who describes the measure to voters.
They also passed Senate Bill 116—requiring that if enough signatures are gathered to send the tax measure before Oregonians for a vote, that election must take place in January, when turnout is low and Democrats think they have a better chance of beating back a repeal. SB 116 also gives lawmakers the authority to write the ballot title, typically the responsibility of the attorney general. (The wording of the ballot title often influences whether an initiative succeeds or fails.) That “could well be the kiss of death for it,” says campaign finance expert Dan Meek.
3. They made sure the tax wouldn’t affect powerful interests.
To finance an initiative to repeal the tax, opponents need big donors. Democrats already made sure some potential opponents were satisfied. Nike, the state’s biggest company, supported the tax; state and local business associations agreed to remain neutral. Then at the end of the session, they “fixed” the tax increase so even fewer opponents would be motivated to fight it.
House Bill 2164 included a clarification that car dealerships could pass along the cost of the tax to customers. The bill also clarified that tips to restaurant workers would not be taxed. Lithia Motors and the restaurant lobby have previously fought tax increases, but these fixes were expected to keep them on the sidelines.
4. They required two elections.
Opponents say Democrats added language that would require two trips to the ballot to overturn the tax increase—one in January 2020 and another in November 2020. Two elections would mean two campaigns—and double the campaign bankroll—to repeal the tax. Legislators “have rigged the system so far in their favor that our chances of success at this point are very remote,” read a July 16 email from Oregon Manufacturers and Commerce announcing the decision to referendum supporters.
HB 2020 cap & trade
The most destructive measure yet proposed by our all Democratic Legislature and demanded by Democratic Governor Kate Brown. This measure has the potential to end business for over 1/2 of rural Oregon communities and businesses. Currently, our Republican State Senators have left the state to avoid being present for a quorum vote, thus preventing enough Senators being present to take a legitimate vote.
Oregon Issues – Massive Tax Increases
New proposed taxes by Democrat Governor Kate Brown and the Democratic majority legislature. $5.67 BILLION over the next 2-years of additional taxes. That’s $1350. for every man, women and child in the state. For a family of 4, that’s $5400.00.
Did you, Oregonians, get to vote on these new taxes? Do you approve of these astronomical new taxes? The result of these short-sighted tax increases will be the loss of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of jobs. Where? Mostly in the areas of the proposed State of Jefferson. Outside of Portland to Eugene, along I-5 and Redmond to Bend along Hwy 97, everyone else in the state is dependent on farming, ranching and logging to make a living. There just isn’t much else viable for work. The proposed Carbon Cap & Trade alone will devastate these industries and does absolutely nothing to reduce carbon emissions or reduce supposed “Global Warming”. It’s just another way that ‘environmental’ extremists (Liberal Socialists) are trying to control every aspect of our lives. By raising the cost of fuel and energy, it will make Oregonians non-competitive with our products even within our neighboring states, let alone a national or international market. We won’t even be competitive within our own state markets from out-of-state competitors.
Beware; OUR OREGON
I first encountered OUR OREGON about 4 election cycles ago when they first emerged in Oregon. They definitly had a political agenda. Upon investigating their leadership personnel, it became clear that these folks were all transplanted ‘union’ supporters/transplants from Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin and other heavy “union” controlled states. They were ‘planted’ here to drive heavy Union agendas, and a Democratic point of view. They were not native Oregonians, but tried to give that impression with their name and the Liberal bills and agenda they were promoting. Attached is their support for a bill in Oregon’s legislature, that on the outside would seem to be a good deal for our kids education, however I’m suspicisos. We already spend more on education than most other states, yet we are always hearing that there isn’t enough money…. where is it going? My wife is a teacher in the Bend-LaPine school system, and it isn’t going to them.
Is this a Tie-In? Kate’s ‘Bait & Switch’?
Why do we need an additional $2 Billion dollars (over and above the $5.67 Billion) when we already spend more on education than almost any other state? What we are not being told is that perhaps as much as half of what our education dollars are going to is the PERS retirement account, and not educating our youth. Kate is trying to rob dollars from almost every available source possible to pay for PERS. Why? Because she has been heavily supported by various public employee unions. Rather than fix PERS, she would rather we the people continue to pay, pay, pay to fund a monstrosity, whose debt is growing out-of-control, and not tell us that is what she is doing.
–Robbing School Funds
–Robbing State Accident Insurance Funds
–Robbing vital Public Safety Funds
–Robbing our State Kicker Funds
–BUT….. not reducing spending on non-critical programs.
-AND…. State paid for Abortions for anyone, legal or Illegal – without parental knowledge or consent!