The first month of the session is over and many are wondering what House Democrats have planned for Oregon. It’s common to let people know where you’re headed. Republicans in the House and Senate have offered agendas, but our Democrat colleagues have been silent or vague about their plans.
With the deadline for introducing bills passed, we finally know what elected Democrats plan for Oregon.
Eliminate Tax Deductions: It appears the top bill for Speaker Kotek is HB 2001, which eliminates many federal deductions that count against state income taxes, your mortgage interest deduction, medical deductions, and deductions for charitable gifts. This would raise taxes on nearly every Oregonian. Oregon has the third highest income tax rate nationally and this would make Oregon’s tax system more unfair.
Five Percent Sales Tax: House Democrats are taking another run at this favorite, asking Oregon voters to institute a 5 percent sales tax (HJR 28).
Eliminate Incentives for Job Creation: HJM 13 urges Congress to eliminate tax incentives for businesses to create jobs. Oregon’s unemployment is over 8 percent and the number of jobless outpaces the number of job openings five to one. Even introducing this bill is irresponsible.
No PERS Reform: Noticeably absent is any reform of the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) which is drowning local and state government. PERS is generous compared to the private sector. Real PERS reform buys back school days, lowers student-to-teacher ratios and increases money for unemployment benefits.
I for one am a little disappointed so far.