Will a proposed 5 percent sales tax pass in Oregon?
SALEM – Some state lawmakers are looking at a sales tax for Oregon, an idea that voters have said "no" to several times.
Senate Joint Resolution 36 would ask voters to decide whether to create a 5 percent sales tax. A companion bill, SB 824, contains a number of tax changes, including tax credits and income tax reductions designed to keep the income tax plan from costing Oregon taxpayers more.
The legislation got a first public hearing Monday. State Senator Mark Hass (D-Beaverton) is spearheading the sales tax legislation. He said he hopes that at least it sparks a discussion about major tax plan reform in Oregon, which has one of the most volatile tax systems in the nation.
“It is only one idea and it may not even be the best idea, but to anyone who is listening: If you don’t like it show me your plan," said Hass.
A tax opponent attending today’s hearing said the reform Oregon lawmakers need to embrace is on the spending side.
“This is a tax voters have already said no to nine times. It disproportionately hits seniors and the poor, and it only contributes to their spending problem," said Jason Williams, Executive Director of Taxpayers Association of Oregon.
Governor John Kitzhaber also attended the hearing, and spoke first. He addressed the broader issues he said must be considered, in terms of both taxing and spending reforms.
“I think it would be a mistake to start with a sales tax proposal. The question is: Is our current tax structure serving us well? I’d say it isn’t. It is a very unstable system, and it is not in line with our economic development job creation priorities,” said Kitzhaber.