Legislature's House Democrats sidestep State
Constitution to raise $670 million
by State Legislator House
District 56, Werner Reschke, guest writer for Herald and News
June 29, 2017
Friday, Oregon’s Democrat-led House of Representatives voted
to raise $667 million in new taxes on the backs of the
smallest of Oregon small businesses. Unfortunately, this is
nothing new. During the past 10 years Oregonians have seen
their taxes increase 48 times, with Democrats in near total
control of Oregon’s Legislature and Governor’s office during
the failure of Measure 97, Democrats have been seeking new
ways to increase taxes and raise revenue. The state is short
$1.4 billion, they argue, of what is needed to maintain
“current service levels” for our state agencies. While we
have a disagreement over how large shortfall is, House
Republicans have offered help in solving this problem by
supporting the following plan:
1: Kill all anti-business/anti-growth bills currently
circulating around the Capitol and identify a target
economic growth rate that will allow state revenues to
continue to grow naturally.
2: Enact systemic changes to the cost structure in
government so its growth rate is significantly less.
3: Look at how Steps 1 and 2 affect the budget gap and then
consider raising taxes for only new investments (for example
not to fund PERS, but to fund Measure 98).
Democrats have rejected Steps 1 and 2 and gone directly to
Step 3. While Democrats are in charge of the House — they
have the votes to do about anything they want with 35
Democrats to 25 Republicans — they are short one vote to
raise taxes which requires a super majority (36 votes).
House Republicans have held steadfast on the plan to solving
our budget gap.
Friday, Democrats brought House Bill 2060 A to the floor. HB
2060 A would raise the taxes of small businesses in Oregon
with fewer than 10 employees by $667,000,000 over the next
six years. According to the Klamath County Chamber of
Commerce, nearly 80 percent of all businesses in Klamath
County could be negatively impacted by HB 2060 A. Despite
the fact that the bill raises well over half a billion
dollars in new revenue, Democrats went around the Oregon
Constitution’s supermajority requirement and passed the bill
on a simple majority vote (All House Republicans and 3
Democrats voted no). Worse yet, this new tax will be levied
exclusively on the smallest of Oregon small businesses.
simple fact is the Oregon does not have a revenue problem,
it has a spending problem. Raising revenue on any group when
during the past six years state revenue has increased by 40
percent (and we are expected more records in revenue
receipts in the next budget cycle), is a gross misdiagnosis
of the problem. We all know when there is a misdiagnosis of
a problem then all sorts of incorrect solutions will come
forward. HB 2060 A is such an incorrect, and
bill is more than a difference of opinion. This is a matter
of following the laws we legislators swore to uphold and the
constitution the people of Oregon expect us to obey.
E. Werner Reschke, a
Republican, is the state legislator from House District 56,
which includes Klamath Falls and southern Klamath County.
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