The Skanner endorsed a “yes” vote on Oregon Ballot Measure 97 for good reasons.
Over the last 30 years, Oregon has actually decreased investments in education, services for seniors, and health care. As a result, Oregon now has one of the worst high school graduation rates in the U.S. when a good education is necessary to be competitive. Oregon’s elder population is also increasingly living in poverty, and health care is still difficult for many Oregonians to afford. Minority communities in Oregon are particularly hard hit by Oregon’s lack of investment in these needs.
Meanwhile, large corporations are paying less in taxes than anyone else in Oregon. Taxes paid by Oregon businesses are listed by national accounting firms as the lowest in the entire U.S.
Ballot Measure 97 will restore the largest corporations’ responsibilities to Oregon’s families, and will solve the fiscal needs for public education, aid for seniors and health care. It affects only one-quarter of 1% of all companies doing business in Oregon, only those corporations with sales in Oregon of over $25 million. 82% of the revenue raised from Measure 97 will come from huge out-of-state corporations, such as Comcast and Wells Fargo. Measure 97 does not apply to other business entities, and not to individual taxpayers at all.
Revenues from Measure 97 are dedicated to healthcare, public education and senior services.
Large corporations opposing Measure 97 try to scare voters into thinking that the tax will be passed on to consumers. However, as documented by studies by 71 economists and by the Oregon Consumer League, it will not affect consumer prices because the few corporations affected by Measure 97 will still have to compete with the prices charged by the 99% of Oregon businesses not affected. Further, national corporations like Comcast and Walmart have national pricing strategies that do not vary between states.
Big corporations want to defeat Measure 97 because they want to keep paying as little as possible, regardless of their responsibilities to pay their fair share. If the opponents’ dire predictions about Measure 97 were accurate, why would Measure 97 have the support of the Oregon Consumer League and thousands of working Oregonians?
Robert Stoll was a founder of the non-profit Albina Opportunities Corporation, providing loans to minority and women businesses in Portland.