‘Sales Tax’ measure decried in Gateway

Gateway area business people heard a speaker promoting what has become ‘Measure 97’ on the fall ballot. Now, look at the other side of this issue …

The August meeting of the Gateway Area Business Association gets underway.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

About a year ago, members of the Gateway Area Business Association (GABA) heard from a proponent of an initiative to tax large corporations in Oregon, at their July 9, 2015 meeting.

> To read about that meeting, CLICK HERE.

GABA President Paul Wild, with Mt. Hood Community College, welcomes members and guests to the meeting.

“It is called Measure 97, it’ll be on the November 2016 statewide ballot, and it would impose an estimated $6 billion of new taxes on the sales of products and services that Oregonians buy every day,” was the crux of the message presented by Alison Hart, Executive Director of Oregon State Chamber of Commerce, and an outreach team member for “Defeat the Tax on Oregon Sales” at the August 8 GABA meeting.

“People should know that this measure is a $6 billion tax increase,” Hart told East Portland News before the meeting began.

Alison Hart, an outreach team member for Defeat the Tax on Oregon Sales, begins her presentation at the GABA meeting.

“This is a sales tax, on gross receipts, and not on profits,’ Hart said.

“This will affect everyone, because it’s estimated that at least two thirds of this tax will most likely be passed on to the consumer. We can anticipate seeing consumer prices going up as much as 10% because of the gross receipts sales tax is passed through the supply chain,” Hart added.

Opponents consider Measure 97 to be a ‘regressive’ tax, Hart continued. “That means the populations who can least afford it will be hit hardest by this tax, because they don’t have the income to absorb the higher costs passed on the consumer.

Measure 97 will tax transactions – from manufacturer, to the wholesaler, to the retailer, Alison Hart says.

There are no exceptions to this consumption tax, Hart said. “This means food, clothing, and electricity will all be taxed through the supply chain.

“Measure 97’s proposed 2.5% tax on sales would often result in a ‘tax on tax, on a tax’ – the manufacture of a product would pay the tax when it sold to the distributor, who would pay the tax when it was sold to a retailer, who would pay the tax what it is sold to the consumer,” explained Hart.

A study by the nonpartisan Legislative Review Office (LRO) concluded that most of this tax on sales would end up costing average Oregon households more than $600 every year Hart emphasized.

The LRO predicts that, because Oregon companies will become less competitive in the national market place, a loss of about 38,000 private sector jobs would occur over time if the measure passes.

Alison Hart observes that funds from Measure 97 taxes are dumped into the state’s General Fund, and would not be earmarked for education, healthcare, or other services.

What’s more she said, Measure 97 does nothing to guarantee that the new tax revenues would actually go to support schools, healthcare, or senior services. “The new taxes from this measure will be paid into the State of Oregon General Fund, giving the politicians and bureaucrats a ‘blank check’ to spend these billions of dollars as they please, with no public accountability.

“We find it unfortunate that Oregon’s governor came out in favor of this tax measure,” Hart concluded. “However it’s all the more reason to bring the facts forth about the true impact on our economy, and how it will hurt consumers.”

In November, it will be time for you to decide. Check out both sides’ websites:

To learn more about GABA, see their own website: CLICK HERE

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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