Most Seniors Left Out Under Measures 88 and 91

News Release
October 16, 2000

Only one-quarter of elderly Oregon taxpayers will get any tax relief from Ballot Measures 88 and 91, according to a new analysis of the measures released today by the Oregon Center for Public Policy, a non-profit, non-partisan research institute. These measures increase the deduction for federal income taxes.

The wealthiest six percent of elderly taxpayers will reap more than three-fourths of the tax reduction of Bill Sizemore's Measure 91, averaging more than $4,000 in tax relief. Three fourths of seniors will receive no tax cut from Sizemore's Measure 91 scheme.

"This analysis shows the disparate impact of Measure 91," said Charles Sheketoff, executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy.

"Only a fraction of Oregon's elderly will get any tax relief, and those that get the lion's share of the relief are the six percent of elderly Oregonians with income over $100,000 a year," said Sheketoff.

Under Measure 88, which was referred to the voters by the Legislature, taxpayers would be allowed to deduct $5,000 in federal taxes paid instead of the $3,000 currently allowed. While the distribution of the tax cut would be less regressive than Measure 91, while the wealthiest 6 percent with incomes over $100,000 will reap 30 percent of the tax cut with a $177 average tax cut.

"Both Measure 88 and 91 give three out of four elderly Oregonians nothing," said Sheketoff. "Both measures primarily line the pockets of only the wealthiest seniors, while robbing state resources necessary to provide important public safety, health, in-home, and nursing care to all of Oregon's seniors."

The Oregon Center for Public Policy is a research and education organization established to assist low- and moderate-income Oregonians by expanding the debate on a variety of fiscal issues. The Washington, D.C.-based Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy (ITEP) calculated the impact on elderly taxpayers for the OCPP. ITEP has engaged in research on tax issues since 1980, with a focus on the distributional consequences of both current law and proposed changes.