Image Courtesy of Vote Yes On 97

Measure 97 is not a sales tax, only taxes corporations

Measure 97 is not a sales tax, only taxes corporations:

Opponents of Measure 97 have tried to paint it as a sales tax, a scare tactic to get Oregon to vote no


As election season comes to a precipice, Oregon voters are faced with what could be the first sales tax initiative on the ballot﹣except it isn’t. The measure, as stated by the Oregon Center for Public Policy, is a change to Oregon’s current corporate minimum tax. This corporate minimum tax is based on receipts by corporations and not sales to consumers. Companies that fall under Measure 97 will pay what they owe on their tax returns after adding up their sales in Oregon throughout the year. If the amount of Measure 97 is included in the price of their goods and services, they will pay higher taxes. They say a sales tax would be added to the sales price and the burden is carried by the consumer, having no bearing on the corporate profits or the corporation’s taxes. However by nature the measure should not affect consumers and what they pay but the corporations and their taxes. This is the real reason why the measure’s detractors present it as a sales tax — they don’t want their taxes to go up.

This is a common practice among big corporations not only in Oregon, but all over the country. Corporate executives are comfortable living with millions of dollars in salaries and don’t want to give up any portion of that in order to pay their fair share. If this measure doesn’t pass, this could mean companies would cut budgets in order to account for any financial shortcomings. Budget cuts could mean anything from changing the means of production to layoffs and downsizing.

This measure is also creating an enormous divide in state politics. In a meeting before the North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce, Republican pick Dennis Richardson said  the legislature is “an addict and the drug of choice is money!” However, Democratic candidate and state labor commissioner Brad Avakian argued that Richardson is not speaking on behalf of the interests of voters. Avakian reminded the Chamber that while Richardson opposes the legislature attempting to draw more funds, he was also occupying the most powerful position writing the state budget in Salem. He went on to say that Richardson was in a position to help make Measure 97 unnecessary by rerouting revenue to state services, but failed to do so.

The issue even reached the debate between sitting governor Kate Brown and her opponent Bud Pierce. Pierce stated that the measure would raise the cost of living for all Oregonians, and that the government should “learn to live within its means.” The chamber seemed divided as ever as they listened to each of the responses.

Measure 97’s goal is not to raise the price of living in Oregon, nor is it to institute some new sales tax. Its aim is to make companies earning above $25 million in annual sales accountable for the taxes they should be paying on that money.

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