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Friday, May 6, 2011

Another Wyden Democrat: Ginny Burdick

She kills or waters down one progressive bill after another that comes her way in the Oregon State Senate -- phone book opt-out, ban on driving while on the cell phone... Now she's shilling to cut income taxes on investment income. Perfect for the West Hills fat cats, but what is this Goldschmidt crony doing representing progressive Portland? The Democratic Party poses as being for the little guy, but this kind of stuff makes that a laughable proposition.

Comments (10)

The Democratic Party is unopposed here. They don't give a crap about the little guy. The little guy isn't filling her campaign coffers and will vote for her anyway.

Rich Democrats, including those in politics, aren't any different than rich Republicans. When you all gonna learn?

Republicans scratch one more thing off their to-do list.

Most Republicans don't want this deal becasue it's apetty give on capital gains while taking the kicker.

The net effect is something like $6 billion in extra government take over the next 10 years.

This is a kicker grab and rainy day fund to then spend on the usual non-rainy non essential.

Maybe the time worn theme of "soak the rich" is loosing steam.

Ben, I think you nailed it. Rainy day fund indeed. What kind of a name is “rainy day fund” for an Oregon emergency fund anyway?

After all, having a fund we use only for rainy days in this area would deplete any built up reserves fairly quickly. And who decides when it has rained hard enough or long enough to tap into those funds? In this state that could have been almost every day for the past five years.

It seems to make more sense that persons charged with spending our tax dollars might be a little more cautious if no extra funds to tap were available. If such a fund is created I hope they at least change the name, so at least a little more pause might given as to when and how it will be spent.

I think the fine print in Burdick's proposal says that the rich folks have to surrender their guns or they don't get the tax break.

The bill that came out of the Senate Finance Committee was a compromise, designed to address issues that mattered to both sides in an attempt to improve the state government's fiscal stability, and address the problems with Oregon's highest-in-the-national capital gains rate.

Jack and the Blue Oregonians now attack Senator Burdick as not being a true Democrat, because she supported the compromise; the Republican side attacks Senator Morse as not being a true Republican because he supported the compromise. The Democrats and Republicans in the legislature get the message that if they compromise on anything, their core supporters will cut them off at the knees. And nothing of any significance happens on stability of government funding or capital gains.

Unless either the Democrats or Republicans have a super-majority (which is really awful if you happen to be in the super-minority), neither side gets to ram through what they want, and any legislation will have to be the result of compromise.

You obviously have the right to your opinion of your fellow Democrat, but expecting that your side (or my side) will be able to get anything done without compromising with the other side seems to me like the same scortched earth approach that left Greg MacPherson by the wayside a few years ago, and makes it much more likely that the only people who will get elected to any office are the most strident ideologues either side can find.

Bob Wiggins

Hey Bob,

How about this?

Forget about this deal, forget about the kicker, forget about the capital gains tax cut and forget about trying to figure out how to extract more money from the populous.

And do you agree this compromise would mean a net gain of billions to be taken and spent?

Hey Ben,

I think your suggestion sounds exactly like the situation we now have, which, at least as far as I'm concerned, isn't very good.

On the capital gains side, Oregon has the highest nominal capital gain tax rate in the country. In reality, it is also the easiest tax in the world to avoid. When someone is about to receive a large capital gain, all he has to do is shift his residence to Washington, and his rate on the gain becomes zero. The effect of this is that many wealthy people have left our state and, I'm afraid, as long as we have such a ridiculously high capital gain rate, that will continue.

In the mean time, our reliance on capital gain taxes means that a large part of the state's total revenues are dependent on a very wildly fluctuating source--capital gains-- which vary greatly from year to year. And this revenue source is also dependent on just a few people deciding that they want to keep living here (such as for example Phil Knight). One guy can move out of the state and wreck havok on the state's budget. It's idiotic.

The Senate proposal targets real long-term capital gains (with a 5 year holding period). It rewards investments that are based in the state. It created a rule that, I believe, will make people think twice about leaving the state when they are about to have a large capital gain.

I think the proposal is fair and will be beneficial to the state's economy.

On the kicker side, I'm very sympathetic to the goal of trying to rein in governmental spending. No one was more vocal than I was against Measures 66 and 67. But the kicker just doesn't do it.

The kicker doesn't limit the amount the state can budget in a biennium based on the prior biennium; it only means that if revenue in the biennium substantially exceeds projections, that excess is paid to taxpayers.

The kicker isn't a reduction of our ridiculously high tax rate on ordinary income; you can't plan for it; it isn't even paid to the people who "overpaid" their taxes (since it's based on taxable income in the tax year that the biennium ends, not tax paid during the biennium). And I have to ask you Ben, has the kicker really done anything to put a brake on state spending? We had a $60 billion all funds budget last biennium for heaven's sake.

We need to restrain spending by insisting on discipline in the negotiation of salaries and benefits, and insisting on prioritization of spending priorities. We should, however, do what we can to ensure that tax resources available to the government are as steady as possible, trying to mitigate wild swings. The kicker just provides an illusion of discipline and I think a rainy day fund could be helpful on keeping revenue levels more steady, perhaps discouraging some future legialature in the next recession from trying to pull another Measure 66 and 67.

So to me, the compromise seems like a reasonably good deal. In this state--which heavily tilts left--we're not going to get a result that you or I might love, but at least we can get a result that improves things.

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