Tax reform will wait, except for rollback on small businesses
This session, we had not only an opportunity, but a moral obligation to rebuild the broken pieces of our budget and revenue systems, which have been crumbling for more than two decades.
The Joint Committee on Tax Reform has spent several months trying to put together a sweeping reform of the way we do taxation in Oregon. This week, we were informed that the committee could not come to an agreement on the proposals before it, so unless something changes soon, the committee members have indicated that tax reform will have to wait until our next full session in 2019.
I firmly believe that the committee's initial attempts were grounded in reality: the need for a serious re-evaluation of the role of corporate taxation in our state, along with an equally serious program of cost containment. Unfortunately, it does not appear that a solution is achievable at this time.
We did, however, have the opportunity to consider a bill that adjusts the tax rate on small businesses, HB 2060. Back in 2013, tax rates for this segment of the economy were lowered in order to encourage job creation. HB 2060 changes some of the parameters of the tax brackets so that only businesses employing 10 or more employees will be able to qualify, thus raising the rates on those employing fewer than 10 employees back up to pre-2013 rates. Although the bill also targeted certain sectors such as agriculture, food service, warehousing, etc., that are prevalent in my district, I could not support a bill that would end up targeting the smallest of these businesses that may already find it difficult to compete. The bill did pass on a narrow 31-28 margin, and is now over in the Senate.
Graduation is now complete for the schools in my district, and I just wanted to extend my congratulations to all of the graduates. I hope your future is filled with accomplishment. I also hope you will remember the importance of public service as you build your professional and personal lives. Wherever you live, your community will need your enthusiasm, creativity and generosity. You will gain more than you give, I promise.
It's parade and festival time! I was so please to be able to participate in the St. Helens Kiwanis Parade on Saturday, June 17. It was a great day, lots of participants as well as onlookers, and no rain. I will be joining in the Clatskanie Celebration on the Fourth, assuming we are not in the Capitol.
Around the district, Vernonia and St. Helens also have festivals and fireworks to celebrate our independence.
Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!