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Special Session: For What Exactly?

April 20, 2018

The governor* has called for a Special Session of the Oregon Legislature for later in either May or June.  This is due to the signing of SB 1528 the $244 million increase in business taxes.  Rather than giving this bill (which had bipartisan “NO” votes) a veto, Governor Kate Brown signed and then called for a “one day” Special Session to “fix” it, as in “oops, I’m running for reelection and I do want SOME businesses to love me so I’ll “cut taxes” on small business in Oregon.

The reality is according to an OPB News story: “The analysis of the tax cut Brown is proposing shows that few sole proprietorships would qualify for favorable tax rates extended to other pass-through businesses in 2013. Roughly 200,000 of Oregon’s sole proprietorships report positive income, but only about 13,000 of those pay any wages, which is a requirement of getting a better tax rate.  Of those 13,000 businesses, only 9,000 filers report paying employees enough to qualify.”

Now keep this in mind: This would be a “special session” but run like a “regular session” IF they (the Democratic Majority in charge) do NOT adopt special rules for the special session to limit bills, amendments, prohibit minority reports, etc. then anything could happen.  Also, by looking at the Legislative Concept (LC 1) being proposed for this session, you’ll find that “relating to clause” is “taxation”.  Meaning the sky is theoretically the limit on content of the bill. (Think “gut and stuff” with a tax on say…soda?  Coffee?  Used Cars?  All have been discussed and drafted before.)  And, again, depending on whether they adopt any special rules or not, other bills may be introduced in the session and not necessarily on tax. Can you picture a “no gun purchases for under 21” bill perhaps?

As for the Legislative concept (the bill): It would help only 9,000 sole proprietors out of 276,000. That’s 3.4%. The tax relief for those 9,000 businesses would be $20 million in the first biennium. SB 1528 was a tax hike of $244 million. So with passage of this bill, it’s now “ONLY” a $224 million tax increase!

Dang, that’s why I call this the “Re-Elect Kate Brown” bill! Can you see the ads later this summer/fall?  “Hi I’m Kate Brown and I cut taxes on small businesses….cause I’m just that way!  Vote for me!”

Look out folks, when the legislature is in session…even for a day…hold on to your wallets!


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