Oregon House scales back Democratic tax plan
SALEM, Ore. (AP) The Oregon House significantly scaled back a Democratic plan to raise taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals Wednesday after it became clear that the proposal didn’t have enough support to pass.
Lawmakers stripped the bill of its controversial provisions and unanimously approved what was left: An effort to tax corporate revenue held in off shore accounts. Democrats had hoped to phase out income tax deductions for the highest earning taxpayers and increase the corporate minimum tax, but they couldn’t get the two Republican votes they’d need to raise revenue.
In a separate,
against humanity card game, nearly party line vote, lawmakers approved a Democrat backed bill that would cut pension benefits for retired government workers over the objection of Republicans who said it doesn’t go far enough to address the rising costs of public employee pensions. It goes to Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber, who has said he’ll sign it but has also called for much more aggressive pension cuts.
The Democrats’ victory on pensions was largely overshadowed by the surprise struggles with their tax increase plan. It came just two days after House Speaker Tina Kotek, D Portland, confidently declared that she had enough votes to pass it,
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The scaled back bill is estimated to raise about $18 million over the next two years, less than 7 percent of the $275 million in new revenue that House Democrats said they’ll need to balance the state budget and increase funding for schools. The new revenue will be dedicated to mental health.
Kotek said one Republican lawmaker, whom she declined to name, backed out of supporting the bill after originally committing.
She said she was undeterred and would continue fighting for tax increases on corporations and wealthy taxpayers.
“I’m disappointed in my Republican colleagues,” Kotek said. “I had hoped that some people would choose to cut tax breaks so we could fund our schools.”
Buoyed by their success blocking the tax increases, Republican leaders said they’d keep pushing for stronger cuts to benefits from the Public Employees Retirement System. They said they won’t discuss tax increases until they’re satisfied that pension costs have been contained.
“By taking this tax package off the table, now we can get to a more serious discussion about PERS,” said Rep. Vicki Berger, R Salem.
The sanitized tax bill now goes to the Senate, where lawmakers are likely to work up their own plan. Democrats have slim control of the Senate but will need at least two Republican votes to raise taxes.
GOP senators have said they’re open to tax hikes if they come with steeper pension cuts.
The Democratic pension measure approved Wednesday would save state and local governments about $460 million over the next two years, mostly by reducing cost of living increases for retirees earning more than $20,000 a year. Kitzhaber proposed $860 million in cuts, and Republicans are pushing for more than $1 billion.
In addition to their proposed cuts, Democrats want the pension system to delay $350 million worth of taxpayer contributions into future budget cycles.
Severe investment losses during the Great Recession erased 27 percent of the pension fund in 2008, requiring steep increases in taxpayer contributions to make up the difference and limiting money available for state and local government services.
The pension system’s financial situation leaves the state with no good options,
cards against humanity game, said Rep. Chris Garrett, D Lake Oswego. The Legislature will either have to take from seniors’ retirement checks or further starve schools already reeling from years of budget cuts, he said.
“I’m convinced that no matter how I vote on this bill I am doing wrong. Innocent people will be casualties of a yes vote and a no vote,” said Garrett, who voted yes because of the need for public services.
This is LAUGHABLE. The tax code favors the investor (as opposed to the working)class. Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate that his secretary!
“”I’ll be a fair amount higher, 8 or 9 points higher,” Buffett said of his own tax rate in an appearance on CNBC Monday. “But the differential between me and the rest of the office, not just my secretary but the rest of the office, was greater than that. It’ll be closer, but I’ll probably be the lowest paying taxpayer in the office.”
Buffett has been advocating for a minimum tax on top wage earners those like himself who benefit from the fact that capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than regular earnings. What was the marginal tax rate on the last dollar earned during the Eisenhower administration?
It is a well documented, established, unargued fact that most of the tax relief over the last three decades has gone to the top earners in reduced rates for both income and capital gains. Now apparently it’s near political suicide to simply advocate returning rates to their pre Bush era level, which were even then historically low.
When the federal income tax was first implemented in 1913, less than 1% of the richest households in America paid anything at all.
I know you’re smart enough to know this. Why then are you ignoring it?They aren’t loopholes. Those who work hard,
cards against humanity game, invest their money, save as much as they can, and are fiscally responsible should not be punished for their self imposed sacrifices.
My wife and I worked very hard, denied ourselves new cars, bought old homes and worked to fix them up and then rented them out. We acquired a lot of homes over the decades and now the government, and you, want to take all of our hard earned money from our decades of sacrifices.
Because of this I moved my business off shore out of the reach of the US governments. Now I don’t pay any US, state or local taxes other than property taxes.