On Tax Day, Oregon Lawmakers Consider A Sales Tax

By Chris Lehman

SALEM, Ore. – One of the most politically sensitive topics in Oregon is up for debate at the state capitol Monday. Lawmakers will hold a hearing on whether to ask Oregon voters to approve a sales tax.

The timing of the tax hearing is no coincidence. April 15. Tax day. Oregon is one of five states without a sales tax. The state relies heavily on income taxes, and critics say that leaves Oregon vulnerable to economic ups and downs. But voters have repeatedly rejected a sales tax over the past century, and politicians love to either distance themselves from it during campaign season…

Voice on ad: "I have never supported a sales tax. Never will."

..or paint their opponents as being in favor of it.

Voice on ad: "Now he wants a new sales tax."

That last ad was directed at John Kitzhaber in 2010. The Democrat is now governor and says a sales tax is just one possible part of a comprehensive overhaul to the state's tax structure. One of the lawmakers behind the measure, Democratic representative Tobias Read, says the hearing is meant to be a conversation starter.

Senate Joint Resolution 36: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1/Measures/Overview/SJR36

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