In what is becoming an annual event, voters have received ballots asking them for higher taxes — this year, it’s Measure 30’s $1.1 billion tax hike.
The hike will hit everyone — families, businesses, property owners, even senior citizens. It will cause long-term damage to the economic health of the state and do nothing to aid economic recovery.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill, a state trying to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
It is the hard work of Oregonians that brings prosperity, not the shuffling of money by politicians here in Salem.
These taxes will throw sand in Oregon’s economic engine, small businesses, which account for 75 percent of all new jobs. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, a 10 percent increase in the top marginal tax rate reduces small-business hiring by 10.7 percent. The Oregon Legislative Revenue Office points out that most small businesses in Oregon pay the top personal income-tax rate, which is significantly raised by Measure 30.
Higher taxes for Oregon’s 289,000 small businesses means fewer jobs all around; fostering a reduction of jobs is exactly the opposite of what a state with consistently high unemployment needs.
Oregon ranks 42nd among the 50 states in the Small Business Survival Index. The index lists our “major tax hike, including a tax surcharge on personal income,” among the eight most “anti-growth examples of tax increases.” Our current mentality is not just anti-growth; it causes reductions in economic activity.
Shortly after the Legislature chose to raise taxes, SUMCO, a piece of our local economy, announced that it would move elsewhere, taking hundreds of jobs with it.
The same events are taking place around the state with companies such as Louisiana-Pacific, Kuni Automotive, Gardenburger, Tyco and Smuckers moving to more friendly locations. With this tax hike, there is little doubt that others will follow, many more discouraged from moving to Oregon in the first place.
Adding to this economic damage is the direct hit to families, seniors and property owners. Families will lose hundreds of millions through higher income taxes, another $43 million will come from the pockets of property owners, and seniors specifically would pay an additional $42 million in taxes during this budget alone.
Many Oregonians facing unemployment in our struggling economy had to watch spending in their households. Is it unreasonable to suggest that legislators also show more prudence in their budgeting? After 15 years of growth in which the budget grew 151 percent, it is time for our elected officials to stop the unsustainable growth and begin more fiscally responsible practices, including the encouragement of economic growth.
An Oregon with no businesses and no jobs is an Oregon with no revenue. Defeating Measure 30 will increase Oregon’s tax base by creating jobs and fostering business activity, leading to necessary revenues for funding of essential programs and services.
A vote against Measure 30 is a vote for a more prosperous Oregon.
Russ Walker of Keizer is the director of Oregon Citizens for a Sound Economy and chief petitioner against Measure 30. The NO on 30! Campaign can be reached at www.stoporegontax.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or (888) 666-6829.