We’re now getting ready for the 2020 short session when we will screen only 250 bills, rather than the over 4000 bills of the long 2019 session. We’re studying, strategizing, and meeting with legislators and coalition partners.
We expect three issues to be our primary focus. Of course, we’ll be a watchdog for others’ good and bad ideas as well.
- Working on wealth disparity. Despite Democratic control of the state legislature, in the last six years three actions have increased the wealth divide in Oregon. In 2013 the legislature created a tax break for business owners (with 72% going to people with incomes greater than $500,000 per year), in 2019 for as part of the new Corporate Activities Tax, legislators lowered the bottom income tax rate, giving our poorest citizens nothing, and our wealthiest $640 per year, and in 2019 legislators didn’t act on HB 2144 disconnecting Oregon from the capital gains tax breaks in the federal Opportunity Zone program enacted as part of Trump’s tax legislation.In 2020 we’ll work to get this Opportunity Zone business finished. Oregon has historically taxed all income the same, whether from employment or capital gains. If we don’t disconnect from the Federal Opportunity Zone tax breaks we’ll be giving Oregonians with spare money to invest huge tax breaks. If you are interested in understanding this better, here’s a reading list, and our prior email to members on the Opportunity Zone issue.
- Making sure the wages required for business subsidies are not diluted. In 2019 Business Oregon (BO) tried to get two different bills passed that would have reduced what businesses must pay to get property tax breaks and other subsidies. We succeeded in killing the bills in 2019, but will be on the watch to see if BO comes back with equally faulty ideas this session.
- Protecting the new Corporate Activity Tax (the CAT) from additional exemptions.We’ve heard of Democratic legislators wanting new breaks written in for dairy businesses, fisheries, and timber. Portland businesses want a tax break for their Portland gross receipts/Clean Energy Surcharge and Medicaid providers want to not pay the tax on what they receive for Medicaid patients. We’re saying NOPE to these changes, unless those who want them can round up the supermajority it would take to increase the current .57% rate enough to pay for them. Watching out for other issues.
We’re watchdogging groups looking at the property tax breaks for farm equipment, seniors and renters. Screening every bill is part of our work to watch for sneaker bills.
You are always welcome to say you want to help!