Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Oregon Vote on 'Tax the Rich': Public Unions vs The Rest of Us

Oregon is voting today to decide whether to raise taxes on higher income earners to pay for schools and other public services. Public employee unions are in favor, as the new taxes would help secure their jobs. Businesses are against, calling the measures "job killers".

How will the people in Oregon vote? After all, this is a state known for its anti-tax tradition.

Last-minute voters could decide tax Measures 66, 67
(1/25/2010 The Oregonian)

"After a bruising campaign and weeks of voting by mail, today's big tax election may be decided by an onslaught of last-minute voters such as Courtenay Morton and Neil McManaway, two Portlanders who were among a steady stream of voters dropping off ballots Monday at Pioneer Courthouse Square.

""The election is going to be close enough that those who are still wrestling with a decision and sending in their ballots can have a significant effect," said Pat McCormick, spokesman for Oregonians Against Job-Killing Taxes, the main group opposing Measures 66 and 67.

"Tuesday is the last day to vote on whether to increase taxes on higher-income earners and corporations to pay for schools and other state services. Ballots, which have been in the hands of voters for nearly three weeks, must be deposited in one of nearly 300 drop-box sites across Oregon. It's too late to mail them to meet Tuesday's 8 p.m. deadline." [The article continues.]

According to the article, the turnout seems unusually high (62 to 64%). The state is divided into two opposing camps: public employee unions (teachers, firefighters, policeman, etc.) vs the business community.

Public employee unions has raised more money ($6.8 million) than the opponents ($4.6 million) in support for the measures. Teachers union has contributed millions of dollars.

If these measures are to be passed, Oregon will tie with Hawaii for the highest personal income tax rate in the nation, the highest capital gains tax, and the highest minimum corporate tax. Read this article from LA Times for more details.

The LA Times article features a young woman carrying placard that says "Protect middle class, preserve vital services". Can't argue against that, can you? But at what price? Vital to who? They are the services that the taxpayers pay, but at some point the taxpayers would rather have less or no such services than pay through their noses.


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