Results for Think Out Loud (Other Results)

Tax Measures

By January 26th you'll be voting on two tax measures. The Oregonian has a handy calculator to see how each proposed tax could affect you. Measure 66 would raise income taxes for families that earn more than $250,000. It would raise nearly $500 million to balance the current state budget. Measure 67 would raise the minimum tax corporations pay from $10 to $150. It also changes the way some corporations are taxed. It would raise more than $250 million to balance the current state budget. The race is very close according to a poll (pdf) by OPB, Fox 12 and the Portland Tribune.

Segmentarticle - Jan. 22, 2010

Tax Referrals

On Friday, anti-tax signature gatherers are expected to deposit enough valid signatures to the Oregon Elections Division in Salem to force a referendum on the $733 million tax package passed by the Oregon Legislature this year. The Democrat-controlled legislature passed these hikes to deal with a huge budget shortfall and a terrible economy. Republican lawmakers were against the tax increases from the start. It was not surprising when a signature-gathering campaign began. And political observers, like Jeff Mapes, say it won't be surprising if sufficient signatures were received. (The campaign will announce the precise number at noon.) The referendum would then go in front of voters on the January 26 ballot.

Segmentarticle - Sept. 25, 2009

Negotiating Tax Changes

Democrats in the Oregon Legislature had a plan to raise $275 million in taxes from businesses and high-income earners. But last week, it was clear that the measure didn't have enough support to pass the House. So, Democratic lawmakers scaled back their plans and passed a bill that was almost unrecognizable compared to what they started with. Now the legislation goes to the Senate, where Democrats could strike a deal to add back some of the original features of the plan. They will still have to win over House Republicans, who will get a chance to vote on the bill again if the Senate makes those changes.

Segmentarticle - April 30, 2013

Tax Literacy For Immigrants

Getting your taxes done right is complicated enough if you're a lifelong, English-speaking native. For immigrants who may not speak English and may be coming from countries with little to no tax enforcement, filing taxes can be even more difficult. Matthew Erdman is a lawyer who helps Latino immigrants file their taxes. He says he's had clients come to his office with boxes full of unopened letters from the IRS that they've avoided out of anxiety or general tax illiteracy. Erdman says some undocumented immigrants worry that filing their taxes may attract unwanted attention from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. There are a number of places in Oregon where immigrants can get help filing taxes, but there are also predatory tax preparers that aim to take advantage of people not familiar with the tax system. What is the best way for immigrants to navigate taxes?

Segmentarticle - March 21, 2013

Tax Fraud in Oregon

The Oregon Department of Revenue is working on regaining public trust after failing to catch the largest tax fraud in state history. State officials discovered Krystle Reyes's $2.1 million fraud after Reyes reported her debit card had been lost or stolen. The department determined that four employees were responsible for the enormous oversight. Department director Jim Bucholz elected to reprimand the employees rather than firing any of them, citing advice he received from labor lawyers about the situation.  In his recent testimony before a legislative committee, Bucholz highlighted the fact that Oregon's Department of Revenue has caught more and more tax fraud cases every year. The reason for the increase is unclear, but it's part of a national trend.

Segmentarticle - Sept. 18, 2012

Proposed Portland Arts Tax

On Wednesday, the Portland City Council will vote on whether to refer the Arts Education and Access Fund to the November ballot. The $35 citywide income tax would apply to all Portlanders over the age of 18 whose incomes are above the federal poverty level. If voters approve the tax in November, it's expected to raise about $8 million in the first year and $12 million per year after that. A little over half of the money would go towards funding arts and music programs in Portland area elementary schools. The remainder would go the the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) which would choose local arts organizations to receive a portion of the funds. If it passes, the arts tax levy would likely join at least two other tax levies on the November ballot. Multnomah County is considering a library levy and Portland Public Schools may put another levy before voters as well. Oregonians have a mixed record when it comes to voting on local income taxes. Multnomah County voters approved an income tax in 2003, but Eugene residents voted down a citywide income tax for school funding this past May.

Segmentarticle - June 26, 2012

Arts Tax Measure

The Creative Advocacy Network is asking Portlanders to pass a ballot measure that would result in a flat $35 income tax to fund arts programs in schools and nonprofit arts organizations. A little over half of the money would go to Portland area elementary schools to fund arts and music programs. The remainder would go the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) which would distribute the money among local arts organizations and education programs*. Back in June when the city council voted to refer the measure to voters, Mayor Sam Adams came on our show to advocate for the tax. He said, When we look at the dearth of arts and music offerings in elementary schools, it's an affordable thing that we can do. There is no organized opposition to the Portland arts tax, but there are plenty of skeptics. Opponents take issue with the fact that the tax is regressive. Economist Eric Fruits is also quick to point out that it's unclear how the funds would be distributed to arts organizations and how those funds that don't go directly to schools would benefit education.

Segmentarticle - Oct. 22, 2012

Estate Tax Measure

This November, Oregonians will vote on a proposal that phases out existing inheritance taxes on large estates, and all taxes on intra-family property transfers.  Ballot Measure 84 (pdf) is backed by Kevin Mannix who is the chief petitioner and vocal supporter. The main coalition opposed to the ballot measure is Defend Oregon, a group made up of individuals and organizations who want to keep the estate tax alive in Oregon.

Segmentarticle - Oct. 8, 2012

Gas Tax Alternative

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has a new pilot program to create a way to tax drivers of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. Gas tax revenue has decreased as more drivers choose fuel-efficient vehicles or electric cars that don't use gas at all. Oregon and other states have been looking at ways to charge people for road usage based on the miles they travel rather than how much gas they buy.  ODOT scrapped a similar pilot program in 2009 because its dependence on a GPS device raised the hackles of privacy advocates. The new system would offer a GPS option if drivers choose to track their mileage with their cell phones. But they can also choose other types of devices like those used by pay-as-you-drive insurance companies that sync with a car's odometer and don't use GPS at all.

Segmentarticle - June 18, 2012

Washington Sales Tax Exemption

Are you a resident of Oregon who shops in Washington? If so, do you make sure to tell merchants where you're from in order to avoid paying the state sales tax? Well that exemption may change as Washington lawmakers are considering repealing the long-standing sales tax exemption for out-of-state visitors. Supporters say that that the revenue is needed to help fund all-day kindergarten and that visitors with sales taxes in their home states don't mind paying Washington's sales tax. Washington business groups oppose the move, saying it would discourage tourism. Oregon, Alaska and Montana are among the small number of states that do not have a sales tax. The current exemption only applies to visitors from those states. We'll find out where HB 2791 stands and check in on a number of other issues that Washington lawmakers have been dealing with in their short 2012 session.

Segmentarticle - March 1, 2012

Green Tax Breaks

On paper it sounds good: provide taxes incentives for alternative energy companies to locate in Oregon and watch the companies — and the new jobs — roll in. Of course, tax-related issues are rarely that simple. We discovered that earlier this year when we did a show exploring the state's business energy tax credits — or more wonkily — BETCs ("Betsies"). So now the story's developed, and we figure it's time to take a second look. The Oregonian recently reported that the Department of Energy and the Governor's Office purposely underestimated the cost of the BETC program: Current and former energy staffers acknowledged a clear attempt to minimize the cost of the subsidies. "I remember that discussion. Everyone was saying, yes, this is going to be a huge (budget) hit," recalled Charles Stephens, a former analyst for the Energy Department who left in 2006. "The governor's office was saying, 'No, we need a smaller number.'" Dave Barker, an analyst who is still with the agency, told The Oregonian that the initial cost estimates started high but got lower after he was told by his superiors to plug in smaller figures. "What I would hear pretty consistently was, 'We want to keep it conservative,'" Barker said. The Governor's office denies that claim. (Kulongoski has ordered a review of the costs of the BETC program. The results of that review are due by the end of this month.) Meanwhile, The Oregon Department of Energy has come out with new temporary rules that tighten up the costs of the energy credits. What does seem clear is that the cost of the BETC and other green financial incentives is rising — and many question if it's a price the cash-strapped state can afford to pay.

Segmentarticle - Nov. 24, 2009

Total Tax Makeover

Oregon lawmakers are planning for more cuts and looking for more cash as they face the worst predicted budget shortfall in decades. Possible hikes in taxes and fees are under discussion, on things from beer to gas to car registrations. Income tax provides the vast majority - around 70% - of Oregon's budget. Several bills proposed to raise more revenue now would increase taxes on people earning six figure salaries. Another would introduce what most policy makers say is still against Oregonians' DNA: a sales tax!

Segmentarticle - March 25, 2009

Tax and Stimulate

The proposed federal economic stimulus package passed by the US House is roughly two thirds spending and one third tax cuts. On Thursday we talked about the two billion dollars Oregon might get to repair roads, fix public housing, wisen up the electric grid and more. Monday we'll look at how the variety of tax changes might play out in the Northwest.

Segmentarticle - Feb. 2, 2009

Wind Energy Tax Credit Expires

We'll explore the effect of the recent expiration of the federal wind energy tax credit, and the role that subsidies play in energy production more broadly.

Segmentarticle - Jan. 3, 2014

An Update On The Portland Arts Tax

Portland residents are expected to pay a $35 per person arts tax by April 15.

Segmentarticle - April 2, 2014

Boeing Gets Tax Breaks From Washington Lawmakers

Washington lawmakers adjourned their three-day special session after granting the Boeing tax breaks that Governor Inslee pushed for.

Segmentarticle - Nov. 11, 2013

Does Oregon's Property Tax System Need Reform?

The City Club of Portland has released a report suggesting changes to Oregon's property tax system.

Segmentarticle - Nov. 7, 2013

Changing And Implementing The Portland Arts Tax

Portland residents voted in an arts tax last fall that has faced some challenges in getting implemented. The City Council tweaked the ordinance to tax fewer low-income residents, and pushed back the due date from April 15 to May 15. The tax is still facing a legal challenge from Lewis and Clark Law School Professor Jack Bogdanski, and some leaders, like City Commissioner Steve Novick, still want to make significant changes. The revenue collected from the tax will go to several local school districts, with remaining funds going to the Regional Arts and Culture Council. Portland Public Schools, one of the recipients of the tax revenue, is expecting to add 46 new arts teachers if the tax is upheld.

Segmentarticle - May 7, 2013

Researchers Detail A Possible Oregon Carbon Tax

Economists with Portland State University's Northwest Economic Research Center have just released a report on how an Oregon tax on carbon (pdf) might work. The researchers based their scenarios on the carbon tax in British Columbia, which they implemented in 2008. The BC tax was designed to be "tax neutral," meaning other taxes were reduced as the carbon tax was implemented.  There are currently four bills that deal with a carbon tax in the Oregon legislature. A spokesman for Associated Oregon Industries says it's too early to tell whether the business group would support or oppose those proposals. But John Charles with the Cascade Policy Institute says Oregon already taxes carbon and that further taxes would be unnecessary and harmful. Report co-author Jenny Liu says that their analysis shows an Oregon carbon tax could actually boost the economy.

Segmentarticle - March 12, 2013

Proposals Would Regulate And Tax Credit Unions

Right now credit unions are not-for-profit institutions that don't have to pay corporate excise taxes in Oregon. But House Bill 2486 would change that by imposing an excise tax on certain credit unions. Two other bills would increase regulation on those not-for-profit institutions by mandating community lending standards and disclosure of lending practices. Banks in Oregon argue the tax breaks credit unions enjoy are undeserved when many of them now compare with small banks in membership and capital. Scott Burgess, CEO/President of Rivermark Credit Union, says credit unions still deserve tax-exempt status because as credit-unions, we're not-for-profit and member-owned. Our focus is on making sure our members have lower loan rates, and higher deposit rates. Banks' focus may also be on the customer in part, but it's really going to be in enhancing share value."

Segmentarticle - March 11, 2013

Proposed Tax Increases in Eugene and Baker County

Should taxes be increased to pay for schools? That's something that voters in Baker County and Eugene are asking themselves. Here's what's happening. In Baker County, a proposed levy — the highest cost per individual property owner on the state ballot at $2.26 per $1,000 — would raise $3.6 million in five years for Baker School District. The levy has some support in community members and the Baker City Herald editorial board. The district's superintendent says the levy is necessary to preserve jobs, supplies and other programs. But organizers admit that raising taxes in this economy is dicey. Meanwhile in Eugene a measure in front of voters that would impose a temporary income tax to help fund schools within the Eugene and Bethel school districts. Eugene residents with taxable income of $60,000 would see their taxes increase by about $450. There's little debate about whether or not schools need the money, but opponents of the measure think it's unfair and too expensive. Supporters argue that the income tax is necessary to help the school districts fill the gap left by state budget cuts. The measure would raise approximately $16.8 million every year for the next four years.

Segmentarticle - May 11, 2011

Measures 56 and 59: Tax Policy

What's your take on the tax measures 56 and 59?

Segmentarticle - Oct. 17, 2008

Paying Per Mile

You pay gas tax now. How about a per mile tax instead?

Segmentarticle - Jan. 5, 2009

Measures 63 and 64

What would you like to ask anti-tax activist Bill Sizemore?

Segmentarticle - Oct. 29, 2008

How Property Taxes Are Influencing The Housing Market

According to a new report from the Northwest Economic Research Center, Oregon's property tax system is skewing the housing market.

Segmentarticle - March 19, 2014

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