The battle is on again! Big business and the wealthy want a free ride at our expense!
Last Tuesday, a series of signs went up all over, especially along the I-5 corridor between Portland and Salem. You may have seen them. They're the ones talling you to "Vote NO on Job Killing Taxes."
This is especially galling when you consider that some of the backers behind this initiative are the banks! Would those be the same banks that just got BILLIONS of dollars in Federal BAILOUT money? Why YES, they would!
So what are these taxes? They are taxes passed by the Legislature as part of the shared sacrifice to balance the biennial budget. This involved increasing the Corporate Minimum Income Tax. It also increased the personal taxes for Oregon's wealthiest.
The Corporate Minimum Income Tax has been set at $10 since 1931! It's now been raised to $150 for most businesses. The largest corporations will pay a percentage. Currently, about 2/3 of the corporations in Oregon are paying the $10 minimum. We, as taxpayers don't get to pay taxes at pre-Great Depression rates. Why should businesses get away with it? It's time for shared sacrifice!
And the tax on the wealthy? That affects individuals who make more than $125,000 per year, or couples that make more than $250,000 per year. Wait, it's not as bad as they want you to think! The increase only applies to amounts over $125,000 (or $250,000). Again, it's time for shared sacrifice!
And what do these taxes mean to SEIU Local 503 members? It means jobs, plain and simple! These new taxes help cover $800 Million in revenue shortfall. All of the furloughs that state employees (including management) are being forced to take only amount to around $70 Million in savings. If we had to cover that extra amount in furlough days, we'd be far worse off than California. Imagine having to take between 110-176 furlough days over the biennium!
Of course with contracts in place, adding additional furlough days isn't an option. So what it means instead is massive layoffs! As a rough estimate (based on the average 6 months furlough we'd all be taking to cover that same amount), the simple math says that 1/4 of the state employees would have to be laid off to cover that amount. That doesn't account for savings on benefits, so that number may be slightly lower.
Which brings this full-circle back to the YES Campaign. Quoting the literature:
Vote YES for Tax Fairness!
Vote YES to Preserve Our Schools!
Vote YES to Protect Oregon's Future!
Vote YES on Measures 66 and 67! The members of SEIU Local 503 cannot shoulder the burden of balancing the state budget alone. It's truly time for the businesses and wealthy in this state to give something back!