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Conservatives Get It Wrong Again About Oregon's Business Climate

COST - Ernst & YoungConservative Republicans believe -- and are happy to tell everyone -- that Oregon has a hostile business climate, and Oregon's tax structure discourages business investment. As we've pointed out previously, this happens to not be true.

Now still another report debunks this Republican myth. A report released this month titled Competitiveness of state and local business taxes on new investment Ranking states by tax burden on new investment (PDF) prepared by Ernst & Young LLP in conjunction with the Council On State Taxation (COST) provides a state-by-state ranking of state and local taxes as applied to new investment. Their conclusion: Oregon has the second lowest tax rate in the nation on new investments.

The Oregon Center for Public Policy addresses the significance of this study in light of recent budget proposals in the state legislature and the constant Republican pressure to roll back the modest business tax increase from Measure 67 which was approved by the voters in 2010:

“This study is further proof that it would be a serious mistake for Oregon lawmakers to reduce business tax rates or grant yet more corporate tax subsidies,” said Chuck Sheketoff, executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. “Oregon business taxes are already low, and the loss of revenue would only harm Oregonians and the state’s business climate.”

...

As the COST study arrives, Oregon lawmakers are contemplating a number of bills that would grant more tax preferences for corporations and well-off Oregonians. Proponents claim that such tax changes will attract new investment in Oregon.

Among these are several proposals to give preferential tax treatment to income from capital gains, as well as tax-credit subsidies to insurance companies, real estate developers and corporations that undertake research and development.

But according to Sheketoff, the study released today by a lobbying arm of some of the nation’s largest corporations shows that “corporations in Oregon are getting off easy when it comes to helping fund important public services from which corporations themselves benefit.”

Sheketoff also argued that the legislature should leave alone Measure 67, approved by the voters last year. Some lawmakers are proposing to repeal or weaken the measure, which modestly increased the tax rate on profitable corporations and set a new corporate minimum tax.

Oregon needs to use its resources to invest in programs and infrastructure that create new jobs and a sustainable future, not to fund more tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations.

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