Ballots have arrived. Now it’s time to vote! Our partners at Oregon Business & Industry (OBI), the state’s major business association, has advised its members to vote on two ballot measures, one statewide measure and one Portland measure with statewide implications.
Measure 104: Requirements for Raising Taxes
Measure 104 addresses confusion created by a 2015 Oregon Supreme Court decision about the constitutional requirement that revenue-raising measures must pass in the Oregon House and Senate with a three-fifths majority vote in each chamber. Voters approved the requirement for a three-fifths vote on tax measures in 1996, and the legislature understood it to apply to any measure raising revenue. But Legislative Counsel has interpreted a 2015 court decision to mean the requirement doesn’t apply to revenue-raising measures that eliminate or change a tax deduction, like for mortgage interest, even if the effect of the measure is to raise more revenue.
Sponsors of Measure 104 believe that passage of their measure will restore the original understanding that the three-fifths vote requirement applies to any measure that increases revenues.
Measure 26-201: Portland Gross Receipts Tax
Portland Measure 26-201 would create a 1 percent gross receipts tax on businesses selling goods and services within the city of Portland. Remember Measure 97? Just two years ago voters statewide soundly defeated a similar gross receipts tax because, while the initial tax is levied against big companies, the true taxpayers are consumers who pay the tax in the form of higher prices for the everyday goods and services they need.
Not just goods are subject to the tax. So are many services. Essentials such as cell phone service, internet access, transportation, and insurance will cost more, not just toothpaste, gas for the car and hardware from a big box store.
While Measure 26-201 applies only to Portland, if it passes it could lead to more local gross receipts taxes across the state and even statewide.