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Monday, March 3, 2008

How sales taxes creep up

Wow. In Chicago, the sales tax rate is about to hit 10.25 percent. Glad I live in Oregon.

Comments (24)

But we pay one of the highest income taxes in the country. I'd rather trade for the sales tax.

Oregon and its many local jurisdictions have a creeping sales tax of sorts in addition to the 9% income tax. It's in our utility bills, beverages, cigarettes, sytem development fees, etc. Soon local, state and federal officials would like to add a carbon emissions tax to help bring about the next ice age. There's no end to "good will" taxation.

I'd rather trade for the sales tax.

No such trade is possible. There is no way the Oregon income tax will ever be repealed, under any circumstances. FWIW, Illinois also has a 3 percent state income tax.

Retail sales taxes are horribly regressive, and Oregon's pretty-much-flat-rate 9 percent income tax isn't much better. Be thankful we're not (yet) back to the years when the Oregon income tax rate was temporarily above 10 percent. Or the Multnomah County income tax days (although those will be making a comeback when the Sellwood Bridge is closed or falls down.)

It's in our utility bills, beverages, cigarettes, sytem development fees, etc.

I'm sure Chicago has its share of these as well.

Bob Clark: Soon local, state and federal officials would like to add a carbon emissions tax to help bring about the next ice age

We'll probably disagree on whether we should tax CO2 emissions - I think we should - but it's certainly not apparent how this action would somehow cause an ice age. Please explain.

It's all about global cooling this week. All the tighty-right talk show hosts are braying about it, and so every thread on every blog has to be about it, too.

Jack, wouldn't the system used by most states, a combination of the two taxes, be more sensible and fair - a more moderate income tax and a moderate sales tax? It seems that the current system really sticks it to people who receive W2s, but is great for Oregonians who are paid in cash - not to mention the many non-Oregonians who come to our state and pay nothing to our tax collectors.

A truly progressive income tax with a small sales tax on top would be nice, but I don't think any state has ever achieved that, and Oregon certainly wouldn't.

As for the "non-Oregonians not paying taxes here," don't overstate it. Anyone who commutes into this state for work pays income tax. Tourists pay hotel taxes and car rental taxes that are already spent on cr*p like the Convention Center expansion and the PGE Park luxury boxes. They pay gas taxes, booze taxes, and tobacco taxes. Local property taxes and city business taxes are also passed on to all consumers, whether local or just visiting. I guess it would be nice to nick folks for a few percent on the thousand or two that they spend while staying here for their kids' graduation or wedding, but I'd be skeptical of the assertion that it would raise much revenue.

Plus, I hate all the confounded pennies.

The rise of Chicago's sales tax is a prime example of why that tax is hard to sell in Oregon. Just like government mission creep, sales tax creep is just as bad. Granted, here we have 'fees' and SDC's and they pretty much suck, but no way would I change to a sales tax that just keeps creeping and creeping - first it's only this much and only on these items. Then we'll only add these few more items, then we'll only add 1/10 of a penny, etc., etc., etc.

I suspect that a large part of the sales tax benefit that might come from visitors would be offset by the loss of retail sales (white goods and electronics, mainly) at Jantzen Beach and Airport Way to customers who venture across the Columbia to shop.

When returning their rented Prius to Hertz, Avis, etc, tourists also must pay a HUGE rental car tax (Multnomah County).

Native Oregonian, we don't have sales tax creep but we've seen income tax creep here in Multnomah County. Granted, it's creeped back down for now, but it wouldn't surprise me to see the county or state try to raise it in the near future. I really think our very high income tax limits the economic viability of the state. It doesn't help in the effort to lure businesses to Oregon. When I tell friends from back east what the income tax rate is here, they can't believe it. People don't have the same reaction over sales tax because they have some control over how much they pay in that. Oregon's tax structure encourages high income earners to move elsewhere (to Washington) and allows many independent contractors who are paid in cash to avoid paying anything at all.

The income tax increase is probably needed to pay streets and sanitation workers for "working." When I lived in Chicago, I would frequently see one worker "supervised" by three or four others (standing around watching the person actually doing work, or making a show of it). On the other hand, Chicago does have great public parks, and admission to Lincoln Park Zoo is free.

Once upon a time Oregon had a very, very fair taxation program. Corporations and citizens were taxed close to 50-50, than a strange thing occurred, Corporations found dimmos and repugs willing to sell out the constituents and now citizens pick up about 75% or more of the bill. Now to add insult to injury Oregon joined in the race to bribe business to come here and avoid taxation. Not one audit has proved that this was a prosperous or smart thing to do.

I must have slept on a burr in the bed -- be advised.

They say there are two seasons here: Rainy winter and August.

I'd say there are two States here: Oregon and Portland.

Look, things are different in Oregon. Forget all the yammering about Income tax and Sales tax. Oregon has Income tax and has no Sales tax, and it ain't such a bad place to be. It sure as heck ain't broken, so please stop trying to 'fix' it.

If your income is better elsewhere, go there. If you miss paying sales tax where you came from, go back there. Stop trying to bring there, here. That is there, this is here, play it as it lays, deal with it.

Oregon has Income tax. Period. Done. Oregon has gas station attendants. Oregon has public beaches, and statewide land zoning, and a deposit on bottles, and medically assisted suicide, and medical marijuana, and health care plans, and same sex marriage, and biennial Legislative Assembly, and wind surfing and Cycle Oregon and Pendleton stuff (rodeo and wool textiles) and Crater Lake and water, lots of lovely water -- this is important! -- and fishing and game hunting and farm land, good dirt, and okay fresh air. And Oregon is the only State without a military base. Now leave it the eff alone!

Jobs creation is NOT what government is for. If you want to work, get to work. Do not bring corporate-type businesses here from somewhere else. Do the work that is already here, start the business here. Eff'ing kay-ee-ryste, learn how Oregon does things, don't go around teaching and preaching what you knew the way it was where you grew up. I grew up here, I went all those other places and lived there awhile, working and learning their ways, and then I came back here to get away from there -- do NOT bring it on.

Ask Jack. If he liked New Jersey instead, he would go and be there. This friggin' Kroger character now, running for Atty.Gen. -- give me a golldarn break: Oregon does NOT WANT a New York empire state of mind. OK!? Get your hired-gun mobster-taming buttinski back to New York City if you want to be Eliot Spitzer, or back to Chicago if you want to be Eliot Ness. By gawd, this place ain't broke -- don't fix it.

Must have slept on a burr in the bed, be advised.

Not having a sales tax has made Oregon a socialist's utopia.
When 50% of the income earners are paying 98% of the income taxes then there are a lot of people getting a free ride. Those same people still get to vote on tax issues with impunity (they don't have to pay)
There is a growing segment in this state that believes the goverment should pay for their health care, housing, transportation, food, entertainment, etc. and Oregon's tax structure has made it a magnet for that type of mentality.

"There is an inverse relationship between reliance on the state and self-reliance."



Oregon is a great place. The people are nice and it's one of the prettiest places I've seen. But as a taxpaying resident, as long as I live here, I'm going to push to have its tax system changed because I don't think it's fair or works particularly well. It's pretty striking how economically depressed so much of the state and so much of Portland looks. Oregon can keep its character and have a better economy, with some help from the government.

Stuart, you like Oregon and obviously you hatted your last place of residence..Why change the way we are? Planning to move on?Maybe a 5 year residence should be enforce before you could vote...Tom Mc Call thinking.

Tensawhatever: that was succinct. Loved it. Except for the Kroger lines. We need some Elliot Ness investigations into corruption.

Kiss, Sorry, I've been here 5 years so I get to vote. More and more Oregonians are not natives, and we don't have to discard our views when we move here. BTW, I never said I hated my last state, Georgia, and it's got plenty of non-natives who aren't resented by the natives.

Hi Stuart, my point is that newbies come here and are so happy with our [native] state and soon thereafter want to make changes. Those changes usually are to mold our state into what newbies had before. Sales tax, pumping your own gas. full time legislature Etc, Etc.
Precisely what Tom McCall dispised..and me.

And me.

I've lived in Oregon since the early 1970's and don't want to change, and have never wanted to change, any of the things Tenskwatawa mentioned. However, I would like to see some real corporate income taxation. The fact that large corporations can pay the minimum $10 tax often while also receiving tax breaks from state and local authorities and reaping huge profits is disgraceful, not to mention woefully outdated.

Aside from the fact that Oregon does have sales taxes (on tobacco, alcoholic beverages, and the hospitality business), a general sales tax is a bad idea. Regardless of the income tax situation. General sales taxes get jerked around more than the human on the end of four dog leashes. I learned the lesson ages ago, when I was a teenager.

My family used to visit British Columbia on a fairly regular basis. Up there, they had a 3% sales tax that basically underwrote the provincial health care system. They also had a troglodytic political party (SoCreds) which was returned to power on the promise of "doing away with the 3% sales tax." As one disgruntled merchant noted ruefully, "WAC Bennett got rid of the 3% sales tax, alright. Now we have a 5% sales tax.

Then there are all those attempts to make sales taxes "less regressive", usually by exempting pharmaceuticals and groceries. Let me tell you, when the public finance crisis comes along (and it will, guaranteed), those measures get chucked out the door when the rates are raised.

What we need here in Oregon is a reshifting of the burden of the income taxes back onto the corporations. It was shifted from corporations to the middle class income earner back in the 70s, when we here in Oregon wanted to become more "competitive" in the "economic development" scams...pimping for Oregon, in other words. Now, we see how well that works.

And, lastly, it's not two forms of taxation, but three, with the third being property taxes. Here the high value property owners (i.e., corporations) have made out like bandits. We need to rescind all that poopadoodle that the "tax revolt" of the 1990s ushered in and get back to finding a equitable means of implementing a three-legged tax system. It didn't produce as promised and has beggered the state, counties and local government services. Have you seen the increase in the number and cost of permits lately? That's what we got instead, user fees.

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