Oregon

Oregon Governor Signs Tax Bills, Sparks Referendum Campaign

OPB | July 20, 2009 2:52 p.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:10 a.m. | Portland, OR

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By Colin Fogarty

The wealthy and corporations in Oregon will see higher taxes under two bills signed into law Monday by Governor Ted Kulongoski.

Lawmakers approved the measures to help fill a budget gap. But as Colin Fogarty explains, tax opponents plan to submit papers Tuesday to force referendum votes on the two tax hikes.


There is little doubt tax hike opponents will be able to collect the 55,000 signatures they need to qualify each measure for the ballot. The campaign is run by well-seasoned anti-tax activists and funded by deep-pocketed business groups.

They're appealing to an electorate with a long history of taking a dim view of tax hikes.

In 2007 Oregon voters rejected a tobacco tax increase. Veteran political consultant Pat McCormick has signed on to the anti-tax forces this year.

Pat McCormick: "I don't expect Oregon voters will approve these taxes. I think they're both going to be defeated. And I don't think there's anything in history that would suggest otherwise."

But tax supporters say what makes these increases different from past proposals is that they target specific groups without making life more expensive for most taxpayers.

Referendum petitioners have until late September to gather the needed signatures. If there's a vote, it would happen in January.

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