Despite record government tax revenue, we face budget deficits as early as the 2019-21 biennium. Significant tax increases will be proposed and certainly passed, if the Democrats obtain supermajority majorities in the House and Senate, and if Governor Brown is re-elected. However, the real calamity will occur when the next recession occurs.
During the debate on Federal tax reform, we were told by many sources that Federal tax reform would only benefit large corporations. We were told that Oregonians would pay more in Federal taxes. We were told that Federal tax reform would be used to punish Oregon and other “Blue States” who voted strongly against President Trump and the Republican Party in the 2016 elections. This was all we were told.
Oregon’s Legislative Revenue Office, a non-partisan agency of Oregon’s state government, has studied the recently enacted Federal tax reform. They report the following: Federal tax reform will save Oregonians an average of $1.48 billion in federal taxes and $29 million in state taxes annually. 70% of Oregon tax filers will pay less in federal taxes, 20% will see no change, and 10% will pay more in Federal taxes. The average annual federal tax savings for Oregon tax filers will be $840. Non-professional small business owners who “work” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, a group long-ignored by federal tax policy, will stand to gain the most. The pundits did not tell us this part of the story.
It is clear that many of those who told Oregonians what Federal tax reform would do, either lacked knowledge about what they were talking about or were not telling the truth. The citizens of a democracy are dependent upon accurate information from “reliable” news sources and “knowledgeable experts” to know the truth about what is occurring in society. Citizens need confidence in the reliability of these sources. Sources that do not tell the whole truth lose credibility in the eyes of the citizenry. Citizens will question their news reporting and accuracy, even when it is factual. It is very disappointing to see so many career politicians speak inaccurately about Federal tax reform. Politicians, are you aiming to score political points rather that accurately putting forth legitimate arguments? Are you thinking more about the next election and your status rather than advocating for your constituents?
America was founded in a dispute over taxes. The issue of appropriate taxation will never go away. We will always struggle to determine who will pay taxes, and how much these taxes should be. Let us examine the tax questions in the truly American way, with vigor, with passion, with openness, and most importantly, with honesty.
We need competent leaders who are public SERVANTS who have their constituents’ interests at heart, not men and women who crave not to be leaders, but to be famous. If our current leaders cannot or will not truly represent us, then we need new, genuine leaders to be our advocates.
In 2014, Oregon adopted the correct public policy by expanding insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. With this expansion, more than 95% of Oregonians now have health insurance coverage.
Through the Medicaid (Oregon Health Plan or OHP) expansion, the federal government initially gave the State of Oregon the entire cost of approximately $5 billion dollars to enroll 375,000 more children and low-income working adults into the Oregon Health Plan. Beginning in 2016, the State of Oregon was responsible for a small portion of the expanded OHP program’s costs. By 2020, the State of Oregon will pay $500 million dollars (only 10% of the total), to receive $4.5 billion dollars from the Federal government to insure these 375,000 Oregonians. The ratio of $1 Oregon dollar for every $9 federal dollars received will remain in effect thereafter for health insurance for Oregonians in need.
In the current 2017-2019 budget cycle, the Oregon must contribute approximately $400 million dollars to receive $4.6 billion dollars from the federal government to keep the 375,00 Oregonians insured. This biennium, our State government will receive almost $21 billion in tax and lottery revenues from the hard work of Oregon’s citizens. This is already an increase of $3 billion dollars over the tax and lottery revenues in the 2015-2017 biennium. Certainly, the Oregon legislators could find $400 million in the $21 billion budget, or $1.90 out of every $100 revenue dollar received.
Oregon’s career politicians knew that the generous 100% federal payment for the OHP expansion was coming to an end. Oregon now needs to chip in only a small percentage of the generous Federal assistance to maintain the expanded OHP. The legislature failed to properly budget for this long-known payment. The legislators have submitted Measure 101, a series of new taxes to pay for Oregon’s part of OHP expansion for Oregonians in need. Why can’t the legislators find $1.90 out of every $100 revenue dollar received?
By demanding the passage of Measure 101, career politicians are holding health insurance for low-income citizens and children hostage for another increase in taxes on hard-working Oregonians. The needed money is there, if career politicians had the courage and foresight to plan for known budget items.
Remember the lies of the just-defeated Measure 97, the unfair gross receipts tax initiative. We were told that our state government would fail if it did not pass. Measure 97 did not pass; state government did not fail. Nothing changed, except that we kept more of our own money in our pockets.
Vote “No” on Measure 101. No more new taxes! Tell Oregon’s “we need more money” legislators that existing tax revenues are enough to pay for health insurance for our most vulnerable citizens. Oregonians already give more than enough money.
This fall, you will have an opportunity to remove these bumbling career politicians by voting for Measure 19, Term Limits for State Legislators. Measure 19 removes entrenched career politicians and lets in fresh new leaders to lead Oregon to a brighter future.
Join our efforts for a better Oregon!
*Photo courtesy of www.movetoportland.net
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” said Colin Kaepernick, as he refused to stand during the playing of the national anthem before NFL football games. Mr. Kaepernick’s actions have led to widespread protests during the national anthem by other NFL players, which have elicited a strong response against the protest by many Americans. Here are a few thoughts to consider.