Today’s “yes” vote on Measures 66 and 67 is good for Oregon, good for our economy and good for working and unemployed Oregonians. Oregonians have taken an important step toward an economy that works for everyone.
Our “yes” vote says that Oregonians will stand up and protect the foundations of our community — our schools, our health and human services, our public safety system. Our “yes” vote says that when an economic storm arrives, we will stand together and protect the most vulnerable among us. Oregon voters showed the country how to put a state on a sound fiscal path to recovery.
Today, Oregonians rightly rejected a well-heeled corporate campaign of fear and deception. While many Oregon businesses are good community citizens, others apparently wanted to shirk their responsibility to pay their fair share for the vital public services upon which their success depends. Hopefully corporate Oregon learned important lessons today: Don’t lie to voters. Don’t be greedy. Support the common good.
As important as Measures 66 and 67 are for the well-being of our state, they are only one of several reforms necessary for creating a fiscally sound tax system based on ability to pay.
The legislature should take the “yes” vote as permission to curb the fiscally irresponsible kicker that primarily benefits the most well-to-do, so that Oregon can better save for rainy days. Let’s hope corporate Oregon was sincere when it said it supports kicker reform and building up the Oregon Rainy Day Fund. If corporate Oregon wants to restore its credibility, now it must back up its campaign rhetoric with money and use its lobbying muscle in support of kicker reform.
Oregon still needs corporate tax disclosure to figure out how to best reform the corporate tax system. We need to celebrate those corporations that responsibly pay taxes and we need to shed light on the loophole lobby and corporate freeloaders who shift the tax burden onto households. Corporate tax disclosure will create the climate change Oregon needs to accomplish long-overdue, long-lasting reform.
Oregon still needs to address the problem that low-income Oregonians are asked to contribute more to state and local taxes, as a share of their income, than any other income group. The problem will worsen when the new gas tax kicks in, so the legislature needs to act to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit to help working families with children make ends meet.
And Oregon still needs to close tax loopholes and put an end to unnecessary tax subsidies that rob Oregonians of funding for the public structures that benefit all Oregonians, not just the privileged few.
As we celebrate today’s success, Oregonians and the legislature must stay committed to moving Oregon forward toward an economy that works for all.