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Thursday, 28 January 2010

Measures 66 & 67

Oregon, like most US States, has a budget deficit due to the economic climate, and needed to address it. We've recently had the vote omn the two measures designed to bring in the $472 needed to pay for schools, hospitals and public safety. I don't get a vote, but Beth did as she is now registered to vote in the state of Oregon (previously she was registered to vote in Washington).



Measure 66 deals with personal income, and the proposal was to increase taxes on people earning over $125,000 pa, or $250,000 as a couple, by 1.8% up to $500,000 (per couple), and $2 above that. The increase halves in 2012.

If you're earning $125,000 you're already in the top 2% of wage earners in the country, if you're earning less this measure won't affect you, unless you're unemployed and on benefits in which case your taxes are reduced. I'm prepared to bet that Oregon does not have their full share of 2%, because most of these high-earners will be on Wall Street or in Hollywood, but let's pretend they do, so that's about 75,800 people.

The extra tax burden, if you earn $250,000 a year as an individual, would be $5,000. That's about the same as our property Taxes will be on a 2,500 sq ft house.

You'd figure there's be 2% voting against this measure purely on financial grounds, and 98% voting for? It actually passed by 54% to 46%. Assuming the super-rich voted against the measure, that leaves 44% of voters who voted against the measure even though it would benefit their services and not hurt them financially. Hmmm.

Measure 67 raised the base rate of business tax from $10 a year to $150 a year. The $10 rate has been the same since 1931. Depending on how you measure the real value of money, $10 in 1931 is worth between $118 and $1400 now, so this tax measure is only bringing the base tax up to scale. It also passed by 54% yes to 46% no votes.

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