Thursday, September 22, 2016

Vote yes on Measure 97

It's easy to see that over the past 40-plus years, corporations have taken more from this country and its citizens than they have given in return.

Corporations move their factories overseas or to Mexico, displacing millions of workers and decimating cities. They hide their profits in shell companies offshore and then whine about the national deficit. With their coffers overflowing, corporations then buy off lawmakers so that the game can stay rigged. Owners of some corporations fund groups that seek to destroy unions and what's left of the middle class.

Forty years ago, corporations paid 18.5 percent of all Oregon income taxes. Today, the corporate share is down to 6.7 percent, according to the Oregon Center for Public Policy.

After Measure 5 passed in 1990, the property tax burden was almost equally shared by business and residential property owners. Now business property owners' share is around 40 percent while residential is 60 percent.

It's time for a little payback.

On Oregon's ballot, we have Measure 97 that increases certain corporate taxes by establishing a 2.5 percent tax on corporate gross sales that exceed $25 million.

It would only affect the largest corporations in the country operating in Oregon. Less than 1 percent of corporations in Oregon would see a tax increase.

The new revenue would go to schools, health care and senior services.

Gov. Kate Brown and former governors Ted Kulongoski and Barbara Roberts support the measure to bring some balance back to our skewed tax system.

Naturally, corporations are spending millions to defeat the measure. The sky will fall if this passes, they assure us, just like it did with the increased minimum wage. Well, the sky is still up there.

Opponents claim that this corporate tax is actually a sales tax because corporations will just pass on the cost on to consumers. That argument only makes sense in a non-internet world.

In fact, internet shopping poses the greatest threat to store sales and if corporations raise their prices, consumers can shop elsewhere online for lower prices.

The only problem with Oregon taking this bold step on corporate taxation, is that it would stand alone.

And, this is the fundamental problem not only facing this country but also the world.

Thomas Piketty's book, "Capital in the 21st Century," explores the roots of rising income inequality plaguing all countries today. He notes that one way to fight it is to ban tax havens for individuals and corporations. It's not likely to happen, but it would make the world a better place if we did.

So, all you Bernie-bots and Trumpettes out there who bemoan the escalating income gap between the rich and everyone else, now is the chance to do something about it.

Vote yes on Measure 97.

No comments:

Post a Comment