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Recently, Oregon Governor Kulongoski unveiled an ambitious budget for 2009-2011. At the same time many other states are looking to where they can cut spending and are battening the hatches for stormy economic seas ahead, Kulongoski has proposed massive government expansion and spending increases, not the cuts needed to ensure fiscal stability.
Despite the fact that most states are seeing dramatic drops in revenue, and people everywhere have been hit hard by the current economic downturn, Governor Kulongoski is counting on increased taxes on everything from cigarettes to gasoline to registration and title fees, and even a new mileage tax to fund his proposals. Take Action and oppose these tax and spend plans.
The Governor plans to pump millions into health care programs, counting on $112 million in new tobacco tax revenue with a $.60 per pack hike in the state tobacco tax, putting well over $3.00 per pack into government pockets. These plans include expanding Oregon’s version of SCHIP, a redundant health care program that will bring more bureaucracy to a bogged down system. The irony, of course, is that Governor Kulongoski also wants to enact programs to help people stop smoking while counting on those taxes to fund his growing government.
Unfortunately for him, Governor Kulongoski is going to be pretty disappointed at the end of the day. Cigarette taxes almost never bring in the promised revenue and are a historically unpredictable source of revenue. In addition, as taxes increase smokers will seek cheaper avenues such as the black market, the internet, and across state lines. This hurts local small businesses like convenience stores that see 34% of their in-store profits from cigarette sales.
The Governor also unveiled a new proposal to tax the mileage people drive to fund his new transportation spending package. The proposal would mean a tax increase that would fall most heavily on those that commute long distances to work, and would mean additional costs for those required to install the new GPS technology in their automobiles. The proposal also raises grave privacy concerns as the plan would track everywhere people go.
Governor Kulongoski shouldn’t be pursuing plans like these that hurt taxpayers and businesses. He could make life much better for many Oregonians and promote long term growth by rolling back regulations that increase costs and unnecessarily burden Oregon families and businesses.
We believe that government goes to those who show up. Show up and tell your elected officials that Oregonians want economic freedom and less government, not more taxes.