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Fri Dec 16, 2016, 08:29 AM

Group unveils new $5 billion tax proposal in the wake of Measure 97's defeat

SALEM -- A coalition of Oregon's largest public employee unions and other advocacy groups unveiled a proposal on Tuesday to raise an additional $5 billion over two years from new and expanded taxes on corporations, health care providers and insurers.

A majority of the new revenue -- $4 billion -- would come from a 2 percent tax on all corporations' gross annual sales in Oregon above $100 million. The proposal is similar to Measure 97, a 2.5 percent tax on Oregon sales above $25 million that was pitched by many of the same groups. Voters roundly defeated the tax initiative in November.

Oregon faces a projected $1.7 billion shortfall in the next two-year budget, if lawmakers and the governor want to continue providing the same level of government services. The gap is largely due to the rising bill for the state's Medicaid expansion and higher personnel costs, including from public employee pensions.

"What we heard loud and clear is that voters do want a solution to our budget crisis, that we do believe that corporations in Oregon should be paying more," said Andrea Paluso, co-founder and executive director of Family Forward Oregon, at a press conference at the Capitol. Paluso added that tax increases "need to be game-changing and significant" and the proposal is just the start of a conversation.

Read more: http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/12/group_unveils_new_5_billion_ta.html

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