Here's Hoping for a Monty Python Tax

Blog Post
April 10, 2009By Chuck Sheketoff

MontyPythonTaxRuleIn a hilarious (albeit adult-only) skit on how the British government should address a fiscal deficit with taxation ( link), Monty Python’s Terry Jones says “To boost the British economy, I’d tax all foreigners living abroad.” (family-friendly WMV of just quote). That’s the kind of tax even a Grover Norquist or Bill Sizemore ought to support.

In 2005, the Oregon legislature gave three municipal utilities in the state of Washington a property tax break related to their ownership of a regional transmission line that runs through Oregon. The utilities were challenging the taxation in court and losing, so their lobbyists went to the legislature for relief.

The end-of-session tax bill, HB 31, retroactively relieved these out of state, publicly-owned utilities from a judgment totaling about $4 million. Even worse, the legislature didn’t impose a sunset date on the tax break, allowing the utilities to escape taxation in perpetuity.

Today’s HB 3115 gives the 2009 legislature a chance to right the wrong. HB 3115 would, among other things, end this tax break for these out of state entities with out of state customers.

The bill is about as close to a Monty Python Tax as the legislature can get.

Will the legislature help boost the Oregon economy by taxing out of state utilities owned by out of state residents serving out of state customers for their interest in a transmission line in Oregon, or will we all just look like a Flying Circus?

This post was originally published on on April 10, 2009. The original post can be found at