Democrats present many new tax bills

By Sen. Doug Whitsett (R-Distr 28)
Last Friday we were provided an estimate by the Legislative Fiscal Office that our state revenue collections will be dramatically less than anticipated by the state economists. Revenue for the remainder of this budget cycle ending June 30 will be at least one billion dollars less than anticipated. Revenue for the next two year budget cycle will be more than two billion dollars less than anticipated. These reductions in revenue are caused by a rapidly contracting private sector economy with resultant declining taxable profits, cutbacks in employment resulting in higher unemployment and lower payroll taxes, and a sharp drop in consumer spending.

In response to this economic reality, the House Democrats have
introduced nearly 20 bills that will increase taxes and fees on
Oregon’s economically beleaguered citizens by nearly two billion
dollars in just the first five days of this legislative session. Some
of these draconian tax and fee changes include increased:

  • Gas tax and vehicle fees… $1 billion
  • Hospital and medical insurance taxes….. $696 million
  • Tobacco taxes… $112 million
  • Corporate minimum tax….$83.6 million
  • Liquor sales revenue redistribution…$30 million
  • "Enhanced" tax collection …. $20.7 million
  • Transfer of 911 tax revenue… $8.1 million
  • Adjustments in energy tax credits…. $4.3 million

addition, both House and Senate Democrat leaders actively promote
borrowing up to Oregon’s credit limit. Their purpose is to spend the
money on just about anything that they believe may create jobs.
believe that their motives are well intentioned. Having said that, the
wisdom of a strategy to borrow, tax, and spend our way out of debt
totally escapes me. Someone once wisely opined that when you find
yourself in a hole you should first stop digging.    
believe that now is the time to sharply reduce the size and the cost of
government, to decide what services are essential and what services are
not required for survival. The time to max out our credit card is
definitely not when our sources of income are diminishing and our
ability to repay those debts is uncertain at best. The time to increase
taxes and fees is definitely not during a recession when many of our
citizens and taxpayers are in economic survival mode.
has increased its debt by three fold since 2002. Exclusive of that
cost, Oregon has increased its government spending by more than 25
percent since 2005. Many of us have pointed out that this rate of
borrowing and spending was unsustainable. Economic events over the past
months have made it clear that we must reduce the growth and the cost
of state government. Our office will do all that we can to make that
Look for more information from Sen. Whitsett in the
Jan. 27 edition of the Upper Rogue Independent. To contact him call
(503) 986-1728, email or write 900 Court
St NE, S-302, Salem, OR 97301.

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