Measure 30: Both Sides of the Issue

Eugene – Oregonians face a major decision, whether to approve a temporary tax increase. And several local groups are trying to sort through the issue for voters. Supporters of Measure 30 held a rally Wednesday night in downtown Eugene.

Supporters of the three year income tax surcharge are kicking off a weekly rally leading up to the February third vote. Other groups are also trying to sort through the measure.

At noon Wednesday, the Kiwanis Service club invited two experts to debate the issue at their weekly lunch, Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-South Lane District, and Russ Walker with Citizens for a Sound Economy. They both agree the state is responsible for maintaining critical services, but disagree on how to do that.

“These are not only services we have traditionally looked at, but also one’s that have been passed by the voters,” said Prozanski. “And we have to pay for them. We either pay for them as we go or we borrow bond money for the future and ask our kids to pay for the services we receive today.”

“They’re holding voters hostage,” said Walker. “When voters turn down this tax increase, there will be a special session and the legislature needs to do what they’re elected to in the first place, which is balance the budget with existing revenues.”

Walker adds Measure 30 is more than just an income tax increase. He claims the measure passes seven new taxes, including taxes on property, businesses and seniors.

But the recently passed federal stimulus package will offset the surtax for most Oregonians, meaning no taxpayer will pay more in total taxes than in the previous year, unless you move into a higher tax bracket.

If voters reject the $800 million package of tax increases, leaders say schools, health and human services and law enforcement would suffer.