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Saturday, February 2, 2013

"Tax the rich" comes to Salem

Tina Kotek (don't you dare) and the gang have high-income taxpayers in their sights as the Oregon Legislature seeks to fill the insatiable maw of government with more money. But wow, look at who they're talking about as "high-income": people with annual income over a whopping $77,000. That's "rich"? This place really is the Mississippi of the West.

Old Chuck Shakeitoff is there to bleat his encouragement, of course:

"If anything, you (should) deny [the college savings deduction] to the top 20 percent," Sheketoff says. "Those people have the means to be able to save for college."

People raising kids on $77,000 a year have money to save for college? Chuckster, you are such a fop.

Ah, but there's hope:

Furthermore, any cut to tax breaks is legally a tax increase. That means it requires a three-fifths vote in both chambers of the Legislature. Democrats are two votes shy of that in the House and the Senate.

Perhaps we'll be saved by the tighty righties.

Comments (35)

I get a tax deduction for producing biomass? I had no idea.

Let's take our collective "biomass" and ship a weeks worth to our respective legislators to show them what we think of this "plan".

The big save will come from AARP.

It won't be the first or last time the "tighty-rightys" have save us all from the liberal loons. "Standing athwart history, yelling stop" to quote the master.

Nike got "tax certainty." Now apparently I need it too.

There are many people who might be classified having high income, but only for one year. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as the need to cash out a retirement plan because of an unforeseen event, settlement of a lawsuit or severance pay which results from a job loss. This doesn't necessarily mean those taxpayer's are suddenly wealthy. In fact it could mean just the opposite.

I suppose Chuck Shakeitoff would be happy taxing these people harder. It could add more people to the poverty list for the following year for him to champion.

"Perhaps we'll be saved by the tighty righties"

Yes but only this once.

Otherwise it just another 6B or 6C kinda thing.

What's a liberal rube without a few tighties to make things right?

Oregon. Where we vote for "democratic" lawmakers thinking they support people and not big corporations, but they end up bailing out the big corporations and tax us people - unless we're in a union.

Wow, I'm over the line and apparently in rich-land (but not by much). And to think I was just explaining to my wife a couple months ago why we couldn't afford a car newer than 10 years old, or an occasional maid, or a cruise, etc.

Funny,that.

Don't come to me for sympathy - I'm all for sticking it to the "rich".

You reap, etc...

cc wrote: Don't come to me for sympathy - I'm all for sticking it to the "rich". You reap, etc...

Alright, cc -- I'll bite. please tell us why the "rich" (i.e. income $77K+) deserve getting it stuck to them, and what it is they have sewn. Thank you.

heh, "sewn"... i'm in stitches. What it is they have sown, for that matter. =-)

Thanks all of you that voted democrat.

Chuck Seketoff is amazing. He can argue for any increase in government revenue (and spending) for any reason under any circumstance. He could be the Lars Larson of the other side, if anyone could figure out a way to make a profit promoting the other side.

Of course, profit is evil as far as Sheketoff is concerned, so he won't be the voice of the other side. I wonder where the hell he got his money? Does he know Neil? I think he is younger than I am. Maybe he was a boy scout.

This while several other states are on the path to eliminate their income tax.

We are so outside the mainstream trends of prosperity.

The problem with all these patchwork attempts to increase tax revenue is that they never seem to work long term.

By the way, this faithful reader somehow missed the post explaining what 6B and 6C might mean.

To save bandwidth, I've asked people to post "6B" rather than write "You liberals voted for these people, and so you get what you deserve." And "6C" rather than "I didn't vote for them."

Nice, once again, we avoid any talk about actually cutting spending (which we've never, ever done in any substantial way), even though we'll always have money for PERS and the CRC (or whatever the heck it is called now.)

The General Funds has had one session in the past 30 years where it actually decreased (and, no, it wasn't ca. 1990 when M5 passed.)

You didn't notice the part where people making $12,100 (part of the middle 60%) are getting these obscene tax breaks also?

I would like to cap the pay of public employees at 3 times (perhaps 2 times) the median private sector wage/income. How far would my idea fly? Maybe the $77,000 cap might do just as well? I would couple it with a demand for a statement signed annually that they have been paid in full for all past work.

How far would it fly if I placed the same condition upon the wages of or profit of incorporated entities that derive 40 percent or more of their revenue from government sources?

This tighty-rightie isn't riding to the rescue. 6B all the way, baby!

This doesn't bear on your underlying point, but the $77k isn't random or someone's judgment or opinion, it's the quintile boundary (top fifth). The state's income distribution is what it is, and someone trying to follow the Pareto principle winds up talking about the top fifth.

What's astonishing, if Oregon's distribution is like the national one, is how much the top 1% and the top 0.1% heft ... Which is why $80k, a very healthy income, doesn't feel right stuck in there with the really rich.

Did see an interesting piece today though -- said Oregon is among the top five states in the progressivity of its tax system. I'll try to find the link.

Here TIS. ITEP is probably the best nonpartisan tax watchdog in the US. You might not agree with their bent (They want a full return to an actually progressive tax system) but I've never heard of a challenge to their numbers.
============
(from Jody Wiser, Tax Fairness Oregon)

So Proud
 
The newest ITEP report, Who Pays: a Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in all 50 States, ranks Oregon amongst the five least regressive states in the nation.  Sure we still make our poorest citizens pay 8.3 in state and local taxes, while our top 1% pay only 7%, but that puts us amongst the best five states. 
 
Here’s the question for every Oregon legislator:  will you promise that in designing a better tax system, you’ll vote only for those where we’ll remain in ITEP’s best five states for tax fairness?
 
Go to a town hall and ask it!
 
Rep. Tobias Read answered Yes today at his town hall.                
 
http://www.itep.org/whopay/

If it's true that only 20% of Oregonians had taxable income greater than $76,000, then I can't see how you can deny that people in that group are "high income" and "well off.". That doesn't mean the policy proposals are good or bad, it just means that such people have more income than 80% of the state. "Rich" is a relative term; many "poor" Oregonians would be "rich" in Bangladesh.

That's all very interesting, but I'm sorry, increasing taxes on people with kids who make $77,000 a year is not the answer to whatever the question is. Unless you want to run people with kids out of the state. They're certainly being run out of Portland.

To me, the story here is that the PERS monster is hungry. Tina and Ginny and the gang are looking for ways to feed it. There's only so much you can squeeze out of Dunthorpe. The rest has to come out of middle-class family budgets. It's sad.

Isn't it odd that we refer to the top 20% as the "middle"? Kind of puts the whole income disparity problem in perspective when you realize that if you earn $78k, you're doing better than 80% of your neighbors. Statistically you're rich, but socially you are straight up middle-class.

I agree the line isn't $77k, but the point is that phasing out some of those tax breaks for the wealthy is smart fiscal policy. Now we just have to define wealthy.

You glass half-empty people are missing the boat. Oregon has a lot more rich people than anyone thought. That's good news.

The Oregon legislature has its collective head up in the clouds to think they can keep dumping on people and they will just sit there and take it.

There is no love for tightly righties. They are like the parents you were glad to leave home to get away from. The ones who told you to stand up straight, that your reputation would follow you wherever you went, to save up your money before you bought anything, yada yada. Noise in your rebellious ears. Now when things are in the crapper, you want Mom and Dad to bail you out. Or the government, the biggest nanny of all. But the government has never produced a dime. It has never created anything that wasn't taken from workers (some union) employed in successful businesses that someone created.

We ought to condem this legislature and every one before it that can't see past today. The so-called regressive states in the ITEP report have a higher average growth rate in employment than the progressive states. The only way to keep Oregonians from circling the drain is to help lift them out of poverty - not with a handout but with a job. Attract rich people and their businesses to Oregon as other states are doing. Let Oregon be on the winning side for once, not just another Democratic welfare state. Quote from a whitey tighty righty, the best form of welfare is a job.

Message to legislature: Don't bring the top down to some imagined "fair" level - the "rich" will leave before you get them all. Now go to work and do something useful rather than picking the lint out of our pockets.

Just as a note, this Chuck Sheketoff character allegedly runs a non-profit/policy mill out of someplace in Silverton. This is interesting in part because he frequently is quoted in the Oregonian and even writes editorial columns for them. Yet virtually no one has ever seen if his non-profit is anything more than a P.O. Box or where his money comes from.
Really folks, Silverton? Isn't it little more than a few buildings and a widening in the highway.

Actually Silverton is an old and beautiful little town where highways meet. During the lumber boom days, there was quite a lot of money in Silverton.

Chuck and Jody must be on the payroll of the state of Washington. They do such a good job of promoting that state as a good place for affluent Oregonians to move to.

It appears that Sheketoff's Oregon Center for Public Policy has an office:
http://www.ocpp.org/driving-directions/

Chuck's organization spends a bit north of half a million a year - doubtless provided by concerned individuals who believe that taxes in Oregon should be as high as possible, and that total compensation for Oregon government employees is as high as possible.

Jody's organization is more interesting - the web page gives a couple of contact names, but there is no indication of who is on the board, and the organization doesn't file as a nonprofit with the IRS (they do solicit donations, so one assumes that there is some income coming into the organization). The contact address given is someone's house.

This is why republicans win elections

"This is why republicans win elections."

Haha. Funny. As you know, they don't. In Oregon that is.

The rubes here all vote straight D ticket. You know, hold their nose for Bluemanuer/Wyden/Obummer/Kotek et al.

And then the rubes complain that they got what they wanted.

You know, 6B and 6C.

"Or the government, the biggest nanny of all. But the government has never produced a dime. It has never created anything that wasn't taken from workers (some union) employed in successful businesses that someone created."

Can you even wrap your brain around what a stupid thing that is to post on son-of-DARPAnet?

In a country where patents and copyrights existed from day 1?

"To me, the story here is that the PERS monster is hungry. Tina and Ginny and the gang are looking for ways to feed it. There's only so much you can squeeze out of Dunthorpe. The rest has to come out of middle-class family budgets. It's sad."

Amen.


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