Results for Think Out Loud (Other Results)

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

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

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

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

County Cigarette Taxes

A bill that would allow counties to levy their own cigarette taxes passed the Oregon House by a slim margin last week. HB 2870 would require counties to spend at least 40% of the money from cigarette taxes on public health, including smoking cessation programs.  Proponents say this would give local governments more autonomy to create a much-needed revenue source, particularly for counties that are facing severe financial problems. Opponents argue that cigarette taxes disproportionately affect the poor and could hurt small businesses. The 31-29 House vote broke down along party lines, with only three Democrats voting against it and no Republicans voting for it. It now moves on to the Senate.

Segmentarticle - April 10, 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

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

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

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

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

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