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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 30, 2009 3:51 PM. The previous post in this blog was New forest debate. The next post in this blog is Saltzman heads back to his hidey-hole. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Moo-lah

Here we go again. Another Oregon ballot measure about taxes is pending in January, and another letter just showed up in our mailbox from a small business owner urging us to reject the tax increases:

This time it's signed by a dairy farmer out in Tillamook. But the words were no doubt carefully drafted by a political consultant. We've seen this movie before.

Perhaps most curious about this latest missive is the return address on the envelope: 3421 Del Webb Ave. NE, Salem, Oregon 97303. According to Google, that's a BedMart Mattress store. Whatever it is, it ain't a dairy farm. Leuthold's farm is southeast of the town of Tillamook, down by the Trask River.

Comments (43)

Jack: Who cares where the mailing came from. You can be sure the public employee unions will have something equally misleading in just a few days. And I'm really sorry to say it - but Salem has a lot of cajoned to ask for a tax increase in the worst recession in the state in 20+ years.

We received the same letter last week. How do they pick their audience? They're barking up to wrong tree over here

Who cares where the mailing came from.

I do.

Agree that the return address is an issue, but isn't there a more important issue at play here?

I did a quick back-of-the-napkin analysis to see how the growth in Oregon's budgets compared to the state's population growth.

You can decide for yourself if Oregonians should demand a tighter rein on government spending - or - continue to support double digit budget increases. Oregon's Legislatively Adopted Budgets have grown 64.2 percent between the 2001-03 and 2009-11 biennia, while the state's population has grown only 10.8 percent between 2001 and 2008.

See all the data here:

http://thinkoregon.squarespace.com/news/2009/11/28/state-of-oregon-budget-growth-versus-population-growth.html

Jack, the Bedmart is no longer at that location. (I called the listed phone number to confirm.) It's probably a mail house now, since she probably didn't mail thousands of letters from her kitchen in Tillamook.

Now, on to more important questions: what is your big objection to the letter? She is exercising her first amendment right to oppose the tax hikes. Nothing sinister there. Did she write the letter in coordination with the OAJKT campaign? Probably. So what? They are running a campaign to defeat the tax hikes--not too shocking that they would help write a letter from a respected business person who agrees with their position. Do you disagree with the factual assertions in the letter? You might disagree with her position, but the factual assertions are accurate. Do you just disagree with her ultimate position, in opposition to the tax hikes? Well, a lot of us agree with her and I guess we'll see what happens in January.

Bob Wiggins

It's a multi unit industrial building. I drive by it daily.

I got that letter today...makes great fire starter!

"Do you just disagree with her ultimate position, in opposition to the tax hikes? Well, a lot of us agree with her and I guess we'll see what happens in January."
====

I agree with Jack (or what I think he is highlighting here). The campaigns use people (or psuedo people) to pull us in one direction or another. They all do it, and I don't like it. I especially hate the machine generated 'hand-written' notes!

Here is a suggestion: how about a quickie "yes" or "no" poll of Bog's readers today, and then one near the end of the campaign, to see if people were swayed by the campaign?

I am a "no" vote, but I suspect that I am in the minority of Bog's readers. But I think it fails statewide, even if MultCo votes for more permanent taxes and less jobs.

Wiggins, you bitter old coot. It's interesting to me that the no campaign is once again wheeling out ordinary folks to front for their very expensive mailings, which always seem to come from mystery places in Salem.

Farmer Carol is exercising her first amendment rights, but she's doing it with Phil Knight's money. That also interests me.

Some of her "factual assertions" are arguable. Measure 66 is not going to cost anyone their jobs. It's a tax on rich individuals, and it is unlikely to be passed down to consumers or to affect the state's employment picture in any noticeable way. I've already voiced misgivings about it, here. But I may end up voting for it.

Measure 67 is a different matter, since corporate taxes probably are ultimately paid by consumers. But some of the corporations doing business in the state currently get away with murder from a tax standpoint. I'm working on a post about it, but it's not ready yet.

I got that letter today... and the envelope printer was clearly on its last legs because the return address was almost nonexistent, shoved off the left side. "b Ave NE, n 97303".

Huh. "I worked with Oregonians Against Job-Killing Taxes to share my thoughts with you in this letter." You don't say.

She's arguing against raising the taxes on the wealthiest corporations from 0.00001% of their annual sales to 0.10% of their annual sales.

Golly, that's a dealbreaker if I ever heard one!

Here's the thing... I personally paid over $3,000 in Oregon state income taxes last year. Want to guess how much PGE, the largest utility in the state paid? $10.

I personally paid more than 300 times more in state income tax than the largest utility in the state!

Oh, but we're supposed to cry for the poor, poor dairy farmers...

Jack

Very much looking forward to you piece on M67. I have grown tired of trying to engage anyone at BO, Chuck especially, in any kind of reasonable discourse.

I'm torn on both measures, but preliminarily, I'm thinking 66 does less harm to the average Oregonian than 67.

For what's its worth (probably not much), I will vote Yes on 66, but NO on 67. As a business owner, I just can't wrap my mind around increasing taxes on entities w/o taxable income. If they want to raise the rate on taxable income fine, but not this.

I'm getting sick of the "business without taxable income" baloney. The fact is PGE, by Oregon standards, had no taxable income. Thus, it paid $10. Then it turns around and reports a profit to shareholders. That's the abuse that Measure 67 is after.

If businesses can cook the books to show a loss, they sure as hell can cook the books to show a very minor gain. Even so-called helpless small businesses.

Ooh 64.2% is scary. Lets see, that is 6.42% a year and then slice another 3% off for inflation and now the number is a 3.42% increase per year above inflation. Not so scary anymore.

Now if you wish to complain that 3.42% annual growth rate above inflation is too high, I will listen and probably be inclined to agree, but stay away from the scare tactics. Unless you can factor in the demographics and numerous other variables, the population figures and its affect on tax revenue is worthless without that context (see previous discussions on health care).

Bouneff, there are many business that I know of that consciously attempt to have little or no taxable income-both privately or corporate owned. That is part of running an efficient business.

Example is a local 80 employee, privately owned company that would rather give employees bonuses and extra benefits at the end of the tax year than to give a large percentages to taxes, plus they give a large percentage of year-end excesses to charity.

Another 45 employee company with stockholders does similar things as the private company, but also gives the excess to the stockholders (yes, they will individually pay taxes on the increase). Both do this to minimize business/corp taxes.

Now, for all those liberals or otherwise that claim that businesses and corporations are bad, the two above examples (that are very common) severely hurt their claims.

The companies are helping the "workers" that are doing a good job of making capital-bonuses; charities benefit; the workers' children get higher education scholarships (an example of one company's benefits given for good co. performance); etc.

The things that some chastise companies for in making a profit, exploiting employees, etc. actual return profits for the public good in a more directed way than the general tax hole.

also gives the excess to the stockholders (yes, they will individually pay taxes on the increase)

Dividends paid to shareholders do not lower a corporation's taxes -- unless they are disguised as salaries or bonuses to shareholders who are also employees (which at a certain point becomes fraudulent).

U.S. corporate income taxes are so easy to dodge that they are the laughingstock of the corporate world. Changing the tax base to gross receipts (at least, an alternative minimum tax base) might make the corporate tax more meaningful.

Jack, you're calling ME a bitter old coot? I'm happier than you most of the time and younger than you all the time. (OK, maybe I am a coot.)

M. 66 will have a significant impact on employment, according to economist Bill Conerly. It will affect after-tax income to the owners of pass-through entities like LLCs and S corporations; it will affect after-tax returns to investors who finance start-up activity in the state; and having the highest state income tax rate in the country will affect company leadership deciding whether to move their businesses here (or keep them here). (For what it's worth, I thought your discussion of M. 66 a few weeks ago was very fair and I have referred others to it.)

On M. 67, the new tax on gross receipts is a seriously big deal. Everyone always points to some big company they assume pays only the minimum tax. As you know, what M. 67 does, however, is tax companies with no Oregon taxable income. Some of those are companies that have the benefit of credits that our wise legislature put in the state tax code. If these credits are a mistake, let's get rid of them rather than impose a new tax on the credit-recipients and a lot of other companies as well. Some of these companies have NOL carryforwards, which the new gross receipts tax will basically wipe out. And a lot of the targets of the new gross receipts tax just aren't making any money. Some are start-ups, and some are companies that have been profitable, but are not profitable in the year in question. The good thing about an income tax is you don't have to pay it if you don't have any income. The gross receipts tax changes that, and if you think the rate will stay at 0.1 percent, I think you're delusional. When the PERs poop hits the fan, it will be very easy for the legislature to raise 0.1 percent of gross receipts to 0.2 or 0.3 percent and raise a lot of money. But there will undoubtedly be a negative impact on employment from what the legislature wants to do here. (Economist Randall Pozdena has written a report on the employment affects of M. 67.)

A lot of business people have contributed to OAJKT, including me, because we love Oregon and want to keep the state from making what we believe will be a huge mistake.

Bob Wiggins

It will affect after-tax income to the owners of pass-through entities like LLCs and S corporations; it will affect after-tax returns to investors who finance start-up activity in the state; and having the highest state income tax rate in the country will affect company leadership deciding whether to move their businesses here (or keep them here).

There's no denying that higher taxes lower after-tax returns, by definition. But will that cause investors not to invest in Oregon? No one knows for sure, but I think an extra percent or two (deductible for many on federal returns) won't be that big a deal.

As for the high income tax rate, it is more than offset by the lowest sales tax rate in the universe -- namely, zero.

I'll have to differ with Bill Conerly on 66. Does he work out of the BedMart, too?

Measure 67 is more worrisome, but I do not have a problem with the concept of having an alternative minimum tax based on gross receipts. There's so much abuse and outright cheating going with corporate income taxes, it's not an unreasonable reaction.

Let's not forget why we have these proposed tax increases - the insane kicker law. Any smart entity, private or public, saves excess revenues in the fat years for use in the lean years. It doesn't pay out all the excess as dividends in the fat years and then declare bankruptcy in the lean years.

Let's pass these tax increases. And then in a year let's pass a repeal of the increases along with a modification of the kicker law that the excess collections all go into a rainy day fund, not back to taxpayers.

Oregon does a CRAPPY job with tax money. The last thing I want to do is make sure that they have even more of it to blow. I'll be voting no on both measures (and it didn't take a letter for me to figure that one out).

Before people start talking about "cooking the books" they might want to obtain a basic understanding of accounting and the differences between financial accounting and tax accounting.

No one is going to get too choked up on behalf of the wealthy. But there is a practical reality that affects all of us. The fact is that we're not hiking their tax rate by "an extra percent or two" but effectively raising their tax rate nearly 20%. (The jump from 9-11%)

It doesn't take a high income earner too long to figure out their net figures would be better by living and running their business in Washington. And when that happens, jobs don't stay here.

As for the high income tax rate, it is more than offset by the lowest sales tax rate in the universe -- namely, zero.

Sorry, Jack, but after living in Oregon with high income tax and no sales tax -- then in Nevada with high sales tax and no income tax -- there is no question in my mind which is the better way to go. No way does a lack of sales tax "more than offset" a high income tax (unless the alternative is a place like California that has both sales and income taxes).

For me to pay as much in sales tax here in Vegas (8.1% now) as I would owe in Oregon income tax (before the proposed increase), I'd have to spend about 110% of my GROSS income on taxable goods. When you knock housing, utilities, groceries -- a whole lot of major monthly expenses which are not subject to sales tax -- off the list, there's no way I spend anywhere close to 50% of gross income on taxable goods (even though I spend a lot on taxable items, especially restaurant meals and electronics).

I understand that for those at the lower end of the scale, sales tax is a much bigger deal. But that's kind of the point here -- we're talking about people at the upper end of the scale, where income tax is much more painful than sales tax.

It's kinda funny how the PRO tax side always cites some big corporation as the reason for needing this tax. Yet, 3 of every 4 C-corps that paid the minimum tax did so because they actually had NO PROFIT. They didn't take any loss carryforward or any credits, they actually lost money or broke even for the year. Definitely the poster children of evil corporations trying to hurt Oregon children.

Source:Oregon Corporate Excise and Income Tax Characteristics of Corporate Taxpayers

Exhibit 3.15

No way does a lack of sales tax "more than offset" a high income tax (unless the alternative is a place like California that has both sales and income taxes).

The comment I was responding to was that Oregon is the worst place in the world for taxes. Which is, and always has been, bullpuckey.

As I understand it, it raises the corp minimum tax from $10 to $250. Izzat right?

pfffft! two hundred fifty measly bucks. For a business that's only paying ten bucks now? Where's the revenue?

Yeah, I'll vote for both 66 and 67 just on principle to support design efforts for increasing revenue, (in counterpoint to the rightwing rote-brain obsessive compulsive disorder in 'decreasing appropriations' only). The State's ways-and-means 'problems' must be considered in light of seeing with BOTH eyes -- some part spending thriftily AND some part funding variously. That 'both of us' sensibility has been missing since McIntire and Sizemore got here from Howardwhatzhizname's California Proposition 9 property tax demolition under 1970s Governumbskull Reagan.


Overall I doubt any 'penny-wise' solution(s) can save us; our way forward needs a paradigm shift.

I'd like to see us stop dealing in USdollars. And start dealing in Oregondollars. whatever that is ...

Maybe marijuana crops (for fiberboard bldg materials) and taxation (for smokers' guilt absolutions).

Dan Leahy recently opened my ears to hear that North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate and least budget imbalance (or none) since it enacted a State Bank -- or re-enacted it or kept it enacted, as almost all states used to have one -- into which the state's Receivables are deposited, totally, (and loaned out for residential mortgages and business developments). ... like a variation on the 'over-budget-revenue-into-a-rainy-day-fund' idea.

Anyway, until we get some Big Ideas which make Big Differences, these piddly 'politically possible' pecksniffing Measures such as 66 and 67 are not going to get us into anything but wasted energy frictions rubbing against each other.
'Tis NOT.'
'Tis TOO.'
'Tis NOT.'
'Tis TOO.'
... NOT!
... TOO!

They call it stormy Moonday but Toosday's just as bad ...

* For nearly all small businesses - those organized as S-Corporations, LLPs, and LLCs - the minimum is going up from $10 to $150. Period. Full stop. $150.

* For C-Corporations, the new minimum will be $150 for a half-million in Oregon revenues; $500 for a million in Oregon revenues. The highest level is $100,000 for a hundred million dollars in Oregon revenues.

* For individuals, personal income taxes are going up ONLY on people making over $125,000 individually or $250,000 filing jointly. That's the top 3%.

three simple flowcharts from the Oregon Center for Public Policy.

* For nearly all small businesses - those organized as S-Corporations, LLPs, and LLCs - the minimum is going up from $10 to $150. Period. Full stop. $150.

* For C-Corporations, the new minimum will be $150 for a half-million in Oregon revenues; $500 for a million in Oregon revenues. The highest level is $100,000 for a hundred million dollars in Oregon revenues.

And those taxes will be passed on to consumers.

Does anyone who supports a minimum tax on businesses support a minimum tax on individuals?

"Oregon's Legislatively Adopted Budgets have grown 64.2 percent between the 2001-03 and 2009-11 biennia, while the state's population has grown only 10.8 percent between 2001 and 2008."

If you are trying to say spending outpaces pop growth you need to take the pop growth to the same yr as the spending & not end it at 2008 while you end the spending at 2011.

Also how much of that comes from spending programs voted in by Oregonians?

I'm thinking particularly of measure 11 which increased jail terms and the need for more prison beds.

Does anyone who supports a minimum tax on businesses support a minimum tax on individuals?

I do.

"The fact is that we're not hiking their tax rate by "an extra percent or two" but effectively raising their tax rate nearly 20%. (The jump from 9-11%)"

Tom do you understand marginal tax rates? The increase from 9-11% (10.8% actually) applies only to income OVER the $125k mark for individuals and $250K for joint filers. If you earn $130k you only see your rate go from 9-10.8% on that last $5k.

In addition this is on your TAXABLE income meaning come left AFTER you claim deductions like 401K, home mtg interest, charitable, state income tax, pmt for not growing corn (Ok last one is a joke)..

The Dept of Corrections budget is slated for a $300M increase, 22%, while the DOC Population forecast calls for a 3% increase in total people under some form of official supervision (prison, probation, etc)

I do.
Posted by Jack Bog | December 1, 2009 1:15 PM

You are the first person that has ever responded that way when I pose that question. Maybe I spend too much time on far left sites.

For the record, so do I.

I do, too.

can we please get off this load of crap trip that businesses only pay the 10.00 minimum?businesses pay thousands and millions more in hidden taxes like fees,system development charges,taxes on their profits and etc that the democrats and their pro tax 66 and 67 supporters are too scared,lazy and afraid to talk about.i got the letter today and i have no problem with it at all.what i have a problem with is the dishonesty by the liberals and the public employee unions including schools supporters about the total tax burden businesses really pay.i know people who manage and run small businesses and large corporations and can tell you that their total tax burden is a whole heck of a lot more than 10.00 a year.i am voting a resounding no on these measures and sorry unlike most of you liberal posters on here i can see through the same old tired and full of baloney liberal propaganda and extortion scare tactics they will use.the kicker law is not insane.whats insane is the greedy selfish state govt wont cut anything.btw when is the last time the state govt was ever cut significantly?

Matthew: Look under "Oregon Health Plan."

Feeling like a mule sitting in a mud puddle, refusing to let the ever-tightening rope around my neck make me budge.

Funny, I want to pay more taxes. I want to. I like services for the poor, universal health care, great parks, great schools, community centers, excellent public safety infrastructures. I LIKE THEM.

Problem is, whenever I think of people like Sam Adams, Dan Saltzman, Randy Leonard, Scott Westerman, and Christopher Humphries, I don't want to give them a f****** penny.

And if I ever think of the police and/or teachers unions' blind protections of goons and incompetents, my hand just grasps, tight like an eagle's claw, on my wallet.

Bouneff, there are many business that I know of that consciously attempt to have little or no taxable income-both privately or corporate owned. That is part of running an efficient business.

If they report little taxable income, they pay only $150. That's not asking much.

And if we're going by small business owners we know, the ones I know find ways to keep income off their books. They also reward their employees and do charitable works. But they're human. No one likes paying taxes, so they find ways around it. Under this measure, I foresee businesses finding ways to show minimal profits rather than losses.

There are 15,000 +/- businesses with zero taxable income who pay $10 and will pay $150 if this passes. Since it is claimed by so many that "That's not asking much", why don't we impose a $150 minimum on the 152,465 individual taxpayers who paid NO minimum on their no taxable income.

That's not asking much...

Bouneff, "I foresee businesses finding ways to show minimal profits rather than losses".

That's my point, most businesses find a way. And many with charitable intent to both employees and the public. The minimal $150k won't add up to the $780 Million.

The point is, is the projected $780 Million that proponents of the taxes claim will be added to Salem's coffers will be much less. So why tax? And why not tax the other 30% of wage earners that don't pay any taxes with a "minimal tax"?


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Campo Viejo, Rioja, Termpranillo 2010
Ravenswood, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Quinta das Amoras, Vinho Tinto 2010
Waterbrook, Reserve Merlot 2009
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills, Pinot Grigio 2011
Tarantas, Rose
Chateau Lajarre, Bordeaux 2009
La Vielle Ferme, Rose 2011
Benvolio, Pinot Grigio 2011
Nobilo Icon, Pinot Noir 2009

The Occasional Book

Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 293
At this date last year: 145
Total run in 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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