President’s Column: Should Oregon Raise Corporate Taxes on the Top 1% of Large Corporations Doing Business in our State?
by José Padín, President
AAUP-Oregon, the big tent for the members of the American Association of University Professors in our state, urges — vote yes on Measure 97!
AAUP-Oregon represents faculty and academic professionals in Oregon —thousands!—and is almost entirely powered by member steam.
I attended a televised Town Hall meeting in Portland, on October 18, where supporters and opponents of Measure 97 made their case. Here are some of the things I learned:
- Oregon ranks dead last, out of 50 states, in corporate taxes.
- Measure 97 will increase the corporate minimum tax for the largest corporations, the majority of them out-of-state corporations.
- Measure 97 applies only to so-called C corporations with more than $25 million in annual Oregon sales, not all businesses, like the opposition claims.
- Less than 1% of businesses will see a higher tax rate. 99% of Oregon businesses would not pay a dime more.
- Measure 97 taxes Oregon sales, rather than profits. The opposition knowingly misleads voters by suggesting there is something sinister about this. This is not a major change to the Oregon tax code, as the opposition claims. It is current practice in Oregon.
- Any new revenue raised by Measure 97 must be directed to early education, K-12, healthcare, and senior services.
- Oregon schools need help: Twelfth grade graduation rates in Oregon are towards the bottom for all 50 states. (A new study released earlier this week shows that we dropped from 4th lowest to 3rd lowest in the nation.)
- Opponents continue to mislead and scare voters about the effects of the tax. Instead of studying the effects that taxing less than 1% of Oregon businesses would have, they use studies with hypothetical scenarios that assumed all businesses in Oregon would pay.
- There is no indication that higher corporate taxes in the 49 states with higher corporate taxes than Oregon have led to any of the catastrophes that opponents of Measure 97 predict.
As university educators, we worry about the chances of our Oregon children coming through the K-12 pipeline: unless we find the will and the way to invest in their education, many of them are out of the running for a higher education degree at our state universities.
At the Town Hall, I also learned a few things about the campaign for the “Nay-sayers”:
- They are lavishly funded by large, out of state, corporations — many of the same corporations that would pay a higher tax under Measure 97.
- I noticed large funders in banking, cable communications, and agro-chemicals, that have a very questionable record with consumers, Main Street, and “little people.”
- Nonetheless, the No campaign representing the 1% of corporations that stand to pay the new corporate tax claims to be taking a stand for the “average Oregon family.” Go figure.
Oregon faculty and academic professionals, the stakes are high in this vote. We urge you: inform yourself, talk at the kitchen table with family, and at the water cooler with colleagues, and clearly let them know your intention to vote!
Note: For more information about who is contributing to the opposition, go to www.defeatmeasure97.org.