IP 28 -- A Win-Win for Oregon Families
The Eugene Register Guard recently featured an Guest Opinion from Bud Pierce, the Republican nominee seeking to be the next governor of Oregon. The article, meant to instill anger and incense taxpayers, is filled with half-truths, erroneous speculation, and zero evidence for the claims it makes. The title of the article, IP 28, a hidden sales tax, would damage Oregon economy, makes a bold statement. The governor wannabe laments that IP 28 would regressively tax Oregon citizens. That is a biased projection, not a fact. The author neglects to mention the upside of adding $6 billion dollars to the state economy and the positive effects that will have on Oregonians.
Increases corporate minimum tax when sales exceed $25 million, funds education, healthcare, senior services
A couple of things Oregonians would be wise to remember when reading diatribes written by wealthy, fear-mongering Republicans (or Democrats). (1) They promote an austerity agenda, and (2) they will always profit from the agenda they are pushing. As Bud noted, this "tax on the rich" petition comes from union workers and working families who will undoubtedly pay a bit more to cover the cost of the initiative if corporations raise the price of their products significantly. They know that. They get it. But they would much rather have corporations pay their fare share of taxes to adequately fund education, healthcare, and senior services than to not have those services.
While it may seem complicated to tell which IP (initiative petition aka ballot measure) to support, here is some uncommon sense on how to decide.
When a signature-gatherer approaches you on the street, on the MAX, or at a crowded venue, ask these simple questions:
Who started this petition?
Where do you live?
Who do you work for? or Who pays your salary?
If the petitioner can't answer these simple questions satisfactorily, don't sign. Why is it important to know this information? 1) A wealthy individual or corporation floating a petition rarely has the public welfare in mind. 2) An out-of-stater usually means this petition is not good for Oregon. Someone has gone to great expense to employ them and transport them to this state. They have no vested interest in the outcome of the initiative. Oregonian volunteers and locals often work for causes they believe in that likely will benefit Oregon. 3) If you haven't heard of the organization supporting the petitioners or paying their salaries, get more information before you sign. Follow the money. Here are some tips on how to become better informed. Find the answers to questions like these:
Who submitted the IP to the Secretary of State? You can find out by searching the Oregon Initiative, Referendum and Referral (IRR) Database. is the IP the work of a grassroots organization powered by working people or is it offered by an organization, PAC, or corporation funded by the wealthy?
Who is funding the initiative? Who is paying for signatures? What is the original source of the funding?
Who really benefits from the initiative? Sometimes it's difficult to tell who benefits when unscrupulous politicians and their nefarious agents spin the true intent of the petition to appeal to voters. Dig deep. Search for articles that both support and oppose the petition. Ask the three questions suggested above about the authors of those articles to lead you to an informed decision.
As Bud feigns concern for how workers will be adversely affected by the petition, he seems genuinely concerned about businesses, using our beloved Powell's bookstore as an example.
Iconic Powell’s books, one of the last remaining independent bookstores, faces a 20-fold tax increase under IP 28.
While I'm skeptical of the calculation Bud used to make this pronouncement, I will gladly spend an extra nickel, quarter or more on a book at Powell's if it means smaller class sizes, more libraries, music, art. etc. in our public schools and better healthcare and services for the sick and elderly. We have learned the hard way over the course of a couple of decades that "trickle down economics" does not work. We just have to recognize it when the rich and powerful try to sucker us into supporting harmful policies and opposing helpful ones. The benefits of IP 28 to working families are a no-brainer. Jobs created by a $6 billion boost to Oregon's economy would benefit communities exponentially because workers would spend that money in the neighborhoods where they live. Asking wealthy corporations to pay their fair share buoys up everyone. It has been proven again and again.
Bud is right about one thing though. He states:
IP 28 supporters claim that the measure will be used to improve our schools and public services. The truth is that this new tax will just be added to the state’s general tax fund, where lobbyists will pressure legislators to spend the money on their pet projects. There is no guarantee of better schools, better roads, or a safer Oregon.
Aside from Bud not actually knowing what IP 28 will fund, that may be true. It will be our job, the citizens of Oregon who care about education, healthcare, and senior services, to make sure funding raised by IP 28 is used for the purpose for which it was intended. I have an inkling that Bud isn't the type of politician who would care much about doing the peoples' bidding.
I urge Oregonians to support IP 28. It benefits children. the sick and disabled, and the elderly -- our most vulnerable populations. It's good for working families. It's a win-win for everyone because even wealthy corporations benefit when people are employed, educated, healthy, well taken care of, and have a little money to spend.