Measure 59 Threatens Fiscal Disaster for Oregon

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This fall, voters in Oregon will decide on one of the nation's more fiscally disastrous ballot initiatives. Known as Measure 59, the initiative would eliminate the cap on a personal income tax deduction that state taxpayers can currently take for the federal income taxes they pay. As the Oregon Center for Public Policy points out in a report released this week, the vast majority of state residents would see no benefit at all from the initiative -- but would certainly feel the consequences if it were enacted. The report notes that only about one in four Oregon taxpayers would witness a tax cut if the initiative became law, with the vast majority of the cut accruing to families and individuals with incomes in excess of $83,000 annually. Of course, the cost of the initiative, (which could range from $1.1 to $2.4 billion over the state's biennium depending on the fate of the Bush tax cuts) would be seen across the state. After all, a $1.1 billion revenue loss is the equivalent of a 70 percent pay cut for each and every public K-12 teacher in the state, to give just one example.

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