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Legislators Skeptical Of Kitzhaber Tax Reform

Oregon governor John Kitzhaber told business leaders on Monday that he’s gearing up for another stab at reforming the state’s tax structure. The governor, speaking at the Oregon Leadership Summit,  didn’t have a specific proposal. He says he’s consulting business and labor leaders for two months, and plans to continue conversations through next year. The Democratic Senate president, Peter Courtney, was skeptical.

“There are just not enough major organzations and key players that want this that bad.  I’m sorry – I know you think there is, I know it’s part of your agenda, I may wind up insulting everyone here. I just don’t think you want it that bad. I don’t think the unions want it that bad. I don’t think we want it that bad. We say we do, the kicker needs to be reformed, the money should go here, here, here. I just don’t think we want it that bad,” said Courtney. 

Governor Kitzhaber agreed with Courtney that there’s not broad support to overhaul the tax system. But he says that for the first time in 20 years, Oregonians can see a clear connection between the economy, state services and the tax structure.

Representatives of the Oregon Business Council disagreed that there’s a lack of commitment to tax reform.

The Republican co-speaker of the House, Bruce Hanna, says any attempt to overhaul tax policy should come with a closer look at state spending.

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