Unless it gets miraculously revived, a bill to raise more state revenue has died in the Oregon Senate because of Republican opposition. That’s just as well. Because what the Democrats wanted to do was to raise taxes on senior citizens who are sick, on a certain range of businesses, and on smokers, many of whom are already poor.
The bill in question was HB 2456B. It would have limited the deduction for medical expenses that Oregon taxpayers can take if they are 62 or older, thus raising their taxes if they had to spend significant amounts of money because they were injured or ill.
The bill also would have increased the corporate excise tax on incomes between $2.5 and $10 million. And it would have raised cigarette taxes from $1.18 to $1.28 a pack, and the tax on other tobacco products from 65 percent of the wholesale price to 70 percent.
The backers of this package were going after the old and sick, after some profitable businesses and after smokers because they wanted more money for various public services including schools. Keep in mind that schools already have won a billion-dollar increase in the state school fund for two years. Government does many important jobs, of course, but whether important or not, it also always wants more, a wish that must be balanced against people’s ability to pay. (hh)