House Bill 4200 passed in the Friday special session, giving Nike tax certainty for the next 30 years in exchange for providing 500 new jobs and $150 million in investment during the next five years. In other words: staying put in Oregon.
Coverage of the special session was eclipsed by the horrific school shooting in Connecticut but the ramifications of this special session will be felt for a long time.
A Democrat Governor admitting high taxes scare away business and prevent expansion? Think about that. That undermines everything the Democrats stand for. You rarely if ever hear them concede that what Oregon--and the rest of the country--needs is more taxpayers, not higher taxes. Growing business is what produces more tax payers. Democrats don't want to admit that even with an Oregon unemployment rate that is chronically higher than the national average. At one point, Oregon's U-6 unemployment rate was nearly 20%. Now it hovers between 15%-17%. Their policies aren't working.
Nike threatened to expand elsewhere and Kitzhaber reacted. What's missing in the discussion, and what I posted last week on the issue (here), is that high taxes scare away small business too and that instead of giving Nike special dispensation, ALL business be given relief.
From last week's post:
Did [Democrats] listen when Knight said of Measures 66 & 67,
No. Democrats conceived of the huge tax increases on individuals --giving Oregon the highest income tax in the land. Democrats went for the tax on gross receipts--taking money for the state before a business even made money! Democrats engineered the referral to the people. Democrats' money bought the ads which pushed the referenda through with both getting more than 53% of the vote."[they] should be labeled Oregon's Assisted Suicide Law II. They will allow us to watch a state slowly killing itself. They are anti-business, anti-success, anti-inspirational, anti-humanitarian, and most ironically, in the long run, they will deprive the state of tax revenue, not increase it"?
NOW Democrats are listening to Phil Knight?
Leftist such as Carolyn Tomei, Lew Frederick and Alissa Keny-Guyer voted against the measure because of their Occupy Portland 1%-er leanings. Conservative Kim Thatcher voted against it because it didn't go far enough for all businesses.
Oregon is just downright inhospitable to businesses. It is the stodgy and grumpy old dad who won't get out of his barcalounger when his daughter's new suitor comes calling, requiring mom to yell at him.
Somebody yelled at Kitzhaber and said, "Snap out of it!"
I don't know how long this Kithaber epiphany will last, but Republicans missed an opportunity last week when they didn't demand tax relief for all business. It's not as if they hadn't been asked. I did. You might want to go back and listen to my discussion with outgoing Co Speaker of the House, Republican Bruce Hanna last week. If a large company benefits from a better tax environment, then so do little ones.
We've already seen the fall out of Measures 66 & 67 in Oregon.
Now that Kitzhaber admits tax levels and certainty drive an important part of Oregon's economy it's time to press him. Oregon lawmakers need to go back and Just Do It Again--for all business in Oregon.