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Friday, April 13, 2007

MultCo, City join business taxes

Oregon's new collectivism at the local level
"You'd better get used to it."

Thursday, MultCo commissioners voted unanimously to raise business taxes to whatever the City of Portland levies. Beginning in 2008, the County will also institute a $100 minimum tax payment, capturing millions of dollars in revenue from mom-and-pop businesses. There is no minimum now.

The move, said Portland Commissioner Sam Adams, who testified before the board about the City's tax increases, will "shut down political donations to conservative candidates and causes from GOP-leaning entrepreneurs." He noted that 20,000 more tax returns will be filed in MultCo than previously.

"They used to call Multnomah County 'anti-business'," said new county Commissioner Jeff Cogen, who spearheaded the latest effort to increase taxes. "Now we're going to do whatever the City does."

Support for the first stage of business tax increases was broad. A work group led MultCo's largest government union, and including socialist representatives of chambers of commerce, community groups, and service organizations drafted the resolution after focusing like a laser for six weeks.

Their recommendations were based on the City's in-depth efforts to increase fees and taxes after 18 months of public hearings, political research, and outreach.

MultCo anticipates $20 million in new revenue from the tax increase, leaving plenty of money for the Labor majority to enact the ambitious government union agenda. "There will probably be some businesses that didn't pay any taxes that will pay now," Cogen admitted.

Only one opponent spoke against the measure, saying it won't ease the burden on small business. Chairman Ted Wheeler assured the stranger that the change process isn't over. "This is just the start of the new collectivism that Oregon businesses will fail to embrace at their own peril," he said. "This is not the final solution."

The Oregonian, Apr. 13, By KIMBERLY A.C. WILSON (not available online)

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