I have previously reviewed and supported Oregon Ballot Measure 97. It is necessary, because giant corporations have been paying Oregon Income tax at the same or a lower rate than poor people like me. Recently, the Koch Brothers and their giant Republican Corporate Cronies have been flooding the airwaves with pure unadulterated lies about the measure.
$18.3 million in mostly out-of-state corporate money buys a lot of ads and spreads a lot of disinformation, doubt and fear about Measure 97. Don’t be fooled. Below are some of the top arguments you’ll hear against Measure 97.
It’s a sales tax! (Actually, it’s not.)
Oregonians do leave the state sometimes, so they know what a sales tax is: If you were to buy a smartphone, say, in Clark County, Washington, you’d pay 7.7 percent sales tax. It’s on the receipt. Oregon is one of just five states without a general sales tax, and Measure 97 won’t change that, because it isn’t a sales tax. Consumers wouldn’t pay it. Small businesses wouldn’t pay it. It’s a corporate minimum income tax that only the very biggest companies would pay. And that’s long overdue. Up to now, giant companies have employed legal and accounting maneuvers to claim that they make no profit — despite hundreds of millions in sales — and thus they pay almost nothing in state corporate income tax. For example, companies that donated to the anti-Measure 97 campaign had $600 billion altogether parked in offshore tax havens. That’s money they claim was earned in places like the Cayman Islands — so they can get out of paying state and federal income tax. If Measure 97 passes, they won’t get away with playing “poor” any more.
It’ll lead to higher prices on almost everything! (Actually, it won’t.)
Ask yourself this question: Are Cheerios more expensive in Vancouver than Portland? After all, tax systems vary quite a bit around the country. Do big companies like Target, Lowe’s, Toys R Us and Walmart charge more in states where they pay higher taxes? The folks behind Measure 97 wanted to find out, and teamed up with the non-profit Oregon Consumer League to do a study. They found that those companies charge exactly the same prices for their products in every state. Maybe it’s not surprising that companies that do business nationally set their prices nationally. But it definitely means there’s no reason to think they’ll raise prices just in Oregon if Measure 97 passes. [Skeptical of their findings? Thanks to the magic of the internet, you can do your own cross-state price comparisons here.] Oh, and one more thing: If the biggest corporations could just pass this tax onto the consumer via higher prices, why would they contribute $18.3 million to talk you out of voting for it?…
From <Northwest Labor Press>
Photo Credit: Willamette Week
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