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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nike SoWhat rumor is floated

The latest rumblings, relayed in Willy Week, are that maybe Nike's mysterious expansion plans -- the ones that are leading Salem to damage forever the integrity of the state's tax system -- might include a new installation in Portland's failed South Waterfront district. It's an interesting "murmur," as that publication calls such reports, but it begs a larger question: Why in heck can't Nike put its cards on the table and tell us where the expansion's going to be, before we sell them our souls?

Meanwhile, an informed reader has put to rest our concern that the Nike tax maneuver might be an attempted end run around the pending lawsuit involving the Oregon corporate tax apportionment system -- the very system that Nike wants to preserve. The reader writes:

In discussing the special session legislation you appear to misunderstand the Oregon Health Net (and the Cal. Gillette) case. It involves an element of the Multistate Tax Compact, ORS 305.655 Art. 3.1, that provides if a state has a different apportionment formula from the Compact's three-factor formula, a taxpayer may elect as between the two. Oregon began to deviate from the equally weighted three-factor formula in 1989, and the current formula applicable to all taxpayers is single sales factor. The litigation seeks to restore the election option overwritten by 1993's ORS 314.606, that's all. So, if the taxpayer prevails, rational-actor taxpayers will chose the option that results in lower taxes. Nike will still chose single sales, as will most in-state companies. So, while there may be many reasons to question the current bill, locking Nike in to the current apportionment scheme against an adverse decision in Health Net is probably not one of them.

Good to know. Thanks, reader, for the clarification -- although we'd read a little about the Health Net case, we weren't up on the details.

Comments (3)

The rational-actor taxpayers? Don't get me started on that.

Good to know on Healthnet.

Senator Jackie Dingfelder sent out an email with the following explanation as to the special session:

"Oregon’s constitution states that any revenue bill must go into effect 91 days after adjournment of the session in which it was passed. This means that if we wait until the start of the 2013 Legislative Session, the EIIA would not go into effect until after September 2013, potentially letting a critical investment opportunity slip away. Passing this bill in a December Special Session will allow Nike to begin their expansion as early as April."

Nike is a pro at manipulation. Look back at the demands they made of Beaverton in the not too distant past. You have to go as far back as the gilded era to find magnates as self-absorbed and careless of the public welfare to find comparable ethics. It's all about money and Nike obviously feels it needs to keep as much as possible, even if others have to take up the slack and don't get the same golden provisions. Like any other business that has grown too large to fail, it is a universe unto itself and large enough that, like the banks, Microsoft, Walmart and others has become accustomed to getting its own way and making its own rules. I think of it as the Barony of Nike.

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