League urges people to vote 'Yes' on tax measures

January 20, 2010 11:05 am

By Sara Wilson,

president League of Women Voters of Curry County

The League of Women Voters of Oregon has carefully studied the results of voting “Yes” on Initiatives 66 and 67.  

The League, along with many other organizations including the Oregon PTA and AARP, is requesting your “Yes” vote on these initiatives.  Because of increased unemployment, the funds available to provide vital services are inadequate. To provide the level of services available in the 2007-2009 biennium the state needed an additional $4 billion. To make up the difference the Legislature cut $2 billion from the budget and used stimulus and reserve funds to make up $1 billion more. Finally, the Legislature added two new taxes that are the subject of this election. These will raise $733 million.

What will these increased taxes cost you? Unless your income is in the top 1 percent of Oregon taxpayers the answer is ZERO.

Measure 66 increases the marginal rate paid on income taxes of the wealthiest Oregonians. For an individual making over $125,000, and for families making over $250,000, the tax rate will increase from 9 percent to 10.8 percent on amounts above those levels. Those making over the threshold levels will be paying an extra 1.8 percent until the 2012 tax year. Then the rate will drop to 9.9 percent. For example, a couple making $260,000 in taxable income will pay an additional $180 in income taxes for the next few years. Individuals earning less than $125,000 and couples earning less than $250,000 will pay no additional income tax. Measure 66 also exempts the first $2,400 of unemployment insurance from income taxes.

Measure 67 raises taxes on many businesses. For sole proprietors, there will be no change in business taxes. S-Corporations will now have a minimum corporate income tax of $150, rather than the $10 that has been in place since 1931. Partnerships, LLPs and LLCs will pay a new tax of $150. Now they pay nothing. C-Corporations (the biggest corporations in our state) have, until now, had a minimum income tax of $10. In fact, two-thirds of these corporations paid only $10 in 2006. Measure 67 makes two changes. The first is a modest increase in taxes on significant profits. These corporations will pay an additional 1.3 percent on profits over $250,000. The increase drops to 1 percent in 2011. The rate that businesses pay is currently 6.6 percent, so the increase will cause the corporations to pay the extra 1.3 percent only on amount over the $250,000. Notice that these incareased taxes are on profits over $250,000, not on revenue.

Measure 67 also institutes a new minimum tax for C-corporations based upon a sliding scale. This scale starts at $150 for Oregon sales of less than $500,000. For corporations with $500,000 or more in Oregon sales, the tax will be no more than $1.50 on every $1,000 in sales. Finally, there will be a cap of $100,000 for corporations that have Oregon sales of $100 million or more. Only big companies with large revenue streams will be affected. Small businesses with modest sales are not affected.

It is extremely important that these measures pass. If they do not, the Legislature will be forced to cut even more vital services. Because over 90 percent of general fund revenue pays for education, health care and public safety, any more cuts will be extremely painful. This is especially the case because the economic downturn has caused an increased demand for state services.

The League urges you vote “Yes” for both measures on the Jan. 26 ballot. For more information, go to www.defendoregon.org.