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Measure 97 in Oregon

October 22, 2016
By

Why big corporations need to pay their fair share

measure-97I am a Canadian living in Oregon who is constantly shocked to watch Americans shoot themselves in the foot (and the head) when it comes to demanding that corporations pay taxes. Yes, pay some taxes to help the community.

I have been even more astonished to watch ordinary working Americans support Donald J. Trump for president. Among his many transgressions, he has proudly stated that it “makes me smart” when it was revealed that he avoids paying taxes. And he still has not made his tax returns public. Nasty man!

Now, Oregon, the state with the lowest corporate taxes in the United States, has an opportunity to make businessmen like Trump and other big corporations pay their fair share of taxes. It all depends on how Oregon voters respond to Measure 97 on November 8.

By voting yes for the measure, voters will be telling big companies doing business in the state to pay modestly increased tax. If it passes, only the largest corporations – 0.25 per cent of them in Oregon –would be taxed more.

Nevertheless the fight is on to stop the measure. Out-of-state corporations have poured almost $18 million into fighting the union-supported measure, and advertising has spread disinformation throughout the state.

These ads show doctors warning that the measure will increase health care costs. Other opponents worry that corporations will leave the state, arguing that the measure will result in job losses. They add that small businesses will suffer. Some state that consumer prices will rise. And on it goes.

These are the tired and baseless arguments of the Republican right-wing true believers and they are being debunked on every point. For example, on small business, Measure 97 supporters say that a mom-and-pop coffee shop won’t be taxed, but an international chain like Starbucks will.

Studies show that prices don’t rise with increased corporate taxation. Besides, big out-of-state companies like food retailer Albertsons, Chevron and Shell, and lumber giant Weyerhauser will pay taxes that would mean a positive game changer for all Oregonians. These are just some of the companies that do more than $25 million annually in the state.

What the new corporate tax will do is add new money to improve education, health care, and senior services. These services have been chronically underfunded for years. With the proposed injection of corporate taxes, the state could reverse the downward spiral for many residents.

“It is the best chance in a generation to create national momentum toward getting big corporations to pay their fair share,” says Oregon’s Labor Press.

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