On Tuesday, voters in Oregon made their voices heard, using the ballot box to tell their elected officials that they agreed with the legislature's decision in June of last year to raise taxes on businesses and the wealthy to help close the state’s yawning budget gap. By a substantial margin, they approved Measure 66 – which will raise income tax rates for married filers with incomes over $250,000 – and Measure 67 – which will overhaul the state’s corporate minimum tax and create a new top corporate income tax rate.
ITEP's distributional analyses of the plan's progressive impact, cited in analyses by the Oregon Center for Public Policy, helped to inform this important debate.
The vote marks the first time in more than 70 years that Oregon voters approved an income tax increase via the ballot, suggesting they understand the need for a balanced approach to addressing the state’s fiscal woes and setting a sound example for the many states facing similar difficulties.
With a victory of this magnitude comes a certain amount of momentum – and policymakers in Oregon have made clear that they intend to use it achieve further progressive reform. The day after the vote, Governor Ted Kulongoski announced that his top priority for the upcoming legislative session is to put an end to “budgeting from crisis to crisis” and to change existing law so that future budget surpluses will be reserved in a rainy day fund rather than returned to corporate and individual taxpayers via so-called “kicker” rebates.
To learn more about Oregon’s unique “kicker” and the disastrous consequences it has for sound fiscal management, as well as for further perspective on the passage of Measures 66 and 67, visit the Oregon Center for Public Policy.