Parties on both sides of Initiative Petition 28 (IP28) addressed a full house at the Salem Chamber’s Public Policy Session held January 8th. Oregon’s government employee unions are gathering signatures to place IP28 on the November 2016 ballot.
Under IP28, all C-corporations with Oregon sales exceeding $25 million would be subject to a new minimum tax rate of $30,001, plus 2.5% of gross Oregon sales over $25 million annually. According to the Legislative Revenue Office, IP28 is estimated to increase taxes on companies doing business in Oregon by an additional $5.3 billion per two-year budget cycle, making this the largest tax increase in state history.
Ben Unger and Dr. Daniel Morris, both with Our Oregon, spoke in support of IP28, stating that the purpose behind the Initiative is to increase funding for schools and services. According to their research, public services and education have seen cuts since the 1990s with the passage of Measures 5 and 50.
Alison Hart with the Oregon State Chamber spoke against IP28, calling it a “hidden sales tax” since it would tax gross sales – not profits – which would then be passed on to the consumer, raising the costs of products and services and ultimately making Oregon businesses less competitive. Hart also stated that, despite the proponents’ claims, the money raised from this tax would go to the General Fund, meaning there would be no guarantee how they money would be spent, or if the money would go to public services or education.
Questions from the audience raised concerns about the impact the new tax would have on businesses and the state.
A ballot was taken at the end of the presentation. The results were as follows:
• Oppose: 22 votes
• Support: 0 votes
• Abstain / more info: 3 votes
Results will be forwarded on to the Salem Chamber’s Board of Directors for consideration.
For more information, please contact Nick Williams, Director of Public Affairs for the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce. Public Policy sessions are open to all dues-paying members of the Salem Chamber.