2015 Legislative Agenda

Bills deserving a “Yes”

Return the Rural SIP to Rural Oregon

The Strategic Investment Program, an enterprise zone-like program that reduces a business’ property taxes, exists in two versions, urban and rural. The rural program expects 75% less of a business both in investment and in taxes due, and was designed to draw major investments to rural Oregon. Recently, the Rural SIP has been wrongly, though legally, employed by urban communities, which have hundreds of industrial acres eligible for the Rural SIP. The fix returns the Rural SIP to Rural Oregon to work, and grow investments, as intended.

SIP Repair

The original SIP legislation is now over 20 years old. The required tax payments have never been indexed for inflation. Further, K-12, Community Colleges and Education Service Districts are left out of the decision making, despite the fact that they lose their funding. The legislation puts them back in the decision-making process and assures that all local revenue collected from a business, be it as property taxes or as fees, is distributed the way local voters have voted that property taxes will be distributed.

Aviation Funding Fix

Unlike highways and roads, airports in Oregon have been relying on public funding rather than user funding for a hunk of the cost of maintenance and improvements. This public funding at the expense of education and human services isn’t necessary, because Oregon’s aviation fuel taxes are among the lowest in the country. While Oregon road users pay 30 cents a gallon in fuel taxes, Oregon taxes jet fuel at only 1 cent a gallon, and avgas at only 9 cents a gallon. Clearly a fix is in order.

ConnectOregon Reforms

ConnectOregon funds multi-modal transportation projects. The legislation creates a ConnectOregon Infrastructure Bank that allows the state to continue to partner with local communities and businesses, without burdening the state’s future generations with debt. Other provisions increase transparency.

Gain Share’s Demise

Gain Share was a 2007 legislative mistake. The cost—based on returning to the counties half the income taxes of employees working at SIP properties—is projected at $95 m in 2015-17, unless the legislature acts now. This giveaway is not fair to the rest of the state.  Other communities have huge employers (the State, colleges, hospitals, theaters, and businesses in enterprise zones) who pay nothing in property taxes—yet they have never asked for GainShare. Washington County, on the other hand, does get property taxes from their SIP businesses, Intel and Genentech—$41 m last year.  And the state gave them $38 m in Gain Share revenue. This has to end, HB 2070 is the right bill. Learn more here.

Taxpayer Return on Investment Act-TRIA

Tax Fairness Oregon is a member of the Taxpayer Return on Investment Coalition which will have a revised Act proposed for the 2015 session. The goal of TRIA is to achieve transparency and accountability when state and local public agencies provide economic development assistance to private entities, and to build a rational relationship between benefits given to an entity and benefits received by the public. LC 1835 REVISIONS 2.1.15

Testimony

Raise the Minimum Wage, Close the Con-way Corporate Tax Loophole, Reduce Wage Theft, Increase Gas Tax and Index Gas Tax and Fees for Road Maintenance

WE OPPOSE:

  • Allowing increases in property tax outside compression as this decreases tax equity
  • Property tax reset on sale as this decreases tax equity
  • Kicker distributed per capita as this will make it harder to fix the kicker in the future
  • Increases in funding for ConnectOregon unless changed to predominantly a loan program

OTHER ISSUES WE ARE WATCHING:

  • Capital Gains Haircut with funds to Rainy Day–Take the top off the extra high years, and put it into a rainy day fund so as to reduce volatility, increase savings, and reduce the likelihood of a kicker. Also Estate tax? (Read 2011 HB 2412, included reduction to CapGains)
  • IDA sunset
  • NMTC sunset
  • Sunsets: Child Care (OCPP), Rural Medical (Steiner Hayward/OCPP)
  • Pay for extending good tax credits by ending Grand Bargain breaks for business
  • Hair cut to itemized deductions in various forms to increase revenue
  • Retirement Security with tax credits
  • Increase tax rates for corporate and high income taxpayers to top Measure 66/67 levels
  • Cap the amount of deductible executive compensation