Here We Go Again – Another Cigarette Tax Increase for Oregon

Some people never learn. Even after the abject failure of Measure 50 last fall, when voters told Governor Kulongoski that they didn’t higher cigarette taxes for unnecessary programs, he’s going to try again. Kulongoski promised in his state of the state address last Friday to renew his efforts to get the tax hike passed. TAKE ACTION and tell Governor Kulongoski that a bad idea last year is still a bad idea.

Just because it is a new year doesn’t mean that the facts are any different. Here’s what you need to know to fight this latest attempt to raise taxes:

·        Cigarette taxes are an unstable source of revenue, especially as higher prices force smokers to seek cigarettes through cheaper avenues including the black market.

·        Cigarette taxes punish one small portion of the population for politicians’ bad spending habits and pipedream programs.

·        Small business owners who run convenience stores, gas stations, and local bars wind up getting hit hardest by the tax.

·        If politicians in Oregon really wanted to improve the state’s healthcare system, they need to remove the red tape, mandates, and big government regulations that keep the market from working in this industry.

On top of the new push for higher cigarette taxes, the Governor also proposed raising the corporate minimum tax. Again, this is a plan that failed last year, but the Governor can’t help himself.   The money isn’t intended for anything specific, just to top off the rainy-day fund so the government has more money to use how it pleases.

Oregon has traditionally enjoyed budget surpluses – that’s why residents get a “kicker” at the end of the year. A check that pays back your money that the government hasn’t used. Clearly, all these new taxes aren’t because Oregon has a revenue problem. There is a spending problem.

Year after year Kulongoski has tried to raise taxes – and not just on cigarettes and businesses. There is a long pattern of higher taxes for everything from car insurance, property, sales, income, and even higher taxes on seniors. 

TAKE ACTION and tell Governor Kulongoski that Oregonians have had it with these schemes – he needs to learn from the past, and he needs to learn to live within his means.


Russ Walker
FreedomWorks Northwest Regional Director                                                             

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