FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2009
Contact: Michael Cox (503) 986-1904
Republican Leaders Cry Wolf Again – How Long Will Oregon
Republican Leadership Opposes Regular Review of Tax
SALEM – House Republican leaders are crying wolf again.
House Bill 2067 does not raise taxes, it allows for an orderly review of certain tax breaks not required under federal law or the Oregon
Constitution. With a total of 380 tax expenditures on the books, House Democrats have called for a regular review of tax breaks and
giveaways to make sure Oregonians are getting what we pay for.
“Smart budgeting requires a regular examination of what Oregonians are paying for
and what we are getting in return,” said Representative Jules Bailey (D-Portland), Vice-chair of the House Revenue Committee.
“We should ensure we are meeting our goals of making our tax system fairer for Oregon families and small businesses.”
The state of Oregon currently spends more on tax expenditures, over $30 billion per
biennium, than it spends on education, healthcare and public safety combined. House Democrats want to make sure that Oregon
families are not asked to shoulder a bigger share of the burden just because corporations and wealthy individuals are taking advantage of tax
loopholes. House Republican leaders oppose even having the discussion.
“Republican leaders clearly believe that corporations and wealthy individuals should
never have to justify the millions of dollars they receive in tax breaks and loopholes,” said Representative Phil Barnhart (D-Central Lane and
Linn Counties), Chair of the House Revenue Committee. “Republicans seem more interested in protecting these tax giveaways
than basic programs that benefit most Oregonians.”
House Democrats are in favor of continuing or expanding those tax expenditures that help
Oregon families, but say the state needs to look at ending tax breaks that are unfair. For example, there are tax breaks that
reward corporations for outsourcing jobs and locating their businesses overseas in tax havens. Whether this policy is in the best
interest of the state deserves a discussion, House Democrats say.
“The only conclusion we are left with is that Republicans blindly support tax
credits like this,” said Representative Chuck Riley (D-Hillsboro). “Take for example the ‘Pollution Control
Tax Credit,’ which essentially rewarded corporations for not violating laws against polluting our state. That tax break
expired in 2007; if the Republicans had their way it’d still be on the books – even worse we would never have the
“The truly unfortunate thing about the way the Republican leadership is conducting
itself is that the pettiness of their tactics stands in such contrast to the severity of the economic crisis we are facing,” said House
Majority Leader Mary Nolan (D-Portland). “House Democrats intend to pursue a hard nosed audit of tax loopholes and make the
responsible choices to move Oregon forward.”