You may have noticed that for Democrats in the Oregon legislature, more is never enough. On April 24 Republicans in the House refused to provide the two votes the Democrats needed, in addition to the 34 votes of their own, to pass a $275 million, two-year tax increase on individuals and businesses. But in both the House and Senate, Democratic leaders say they will keep pushing for the increase anyway.
The news stories on this never mentioned that just in 2009, Democrats won approval of higher taxes with Measures 66 and 67, which were sold with the slogan that the taxpayers affected by them should pay their fair share. Well, how come the fair share of those measures is no longer fair enough?
The news stories on the latest House vote also did not mention that even without a tax hike, state revenue for 2013-15 is expected to increase $1.7 billion or more than 10 percent. You would think that this kind of healthy revenue growth would be sufficient for the government of a relatively small state. But it’s not, apparently, because of the sharply rising cost of the public employee pension system.
Reforms to slow down those cost increases have been proposed by the Republicans — and even by Democratic Governor Kitzhaber — but legislative leaders refuse to consider them. They had better reconsider, though, because they won’t get a big tax hike as long as the Republicans hang tough. (hh)