As business leaders, we know that prosperity will result from proactive investments. We need to consider how we raise revenue and then invest it back into very things that make this a great state. There are many ways to do that without radical changes. Here are just a couple of suggestions for the legislature to consider:
Reverse the January 1 tax cut for the rich. By restoring the 2011 tax rates on households that make more than $250,000, we can generate $350 million over the next three years. That would pay for thousands of K12 teachers and protect thousands of seniors who depend on in-home care.
Fix the corporate tax rate so that large corporations are no longer paying a lower rate than small businesses. The corporate income tax rate that most big businesses pay is lower than what small businesses and individuals pay. By requiring large corporations to pay the same rate that mom and pop businesses pay, we could generate $125 million this year, $490 million over the next three years.
Cap the Mortgage Interest Deduction on home loans above $500,000 for households with income above $500,000. Oregon taxpayers spend too much money subsidizing the homes of people who don’t need the extra help. This cap would protect the deduction for middle-class homeowners while generating millions that can be invested in our schools.
Limit the Senior Medical Deduction to seniors with household incomes below $250,000 (or $125,000 individually). Making this change would protect the medical deduction for low- and middle-income seniors, but would stop the state from handing over additional breaks to high-income households that don’t need them. This common-sense change would save the state $14 million per budget—enough to prevent painful cuts to senior services.
Here’s the bottom line: we can’t expect to attract new businesses to the state while we’re cutting the very things business leaders look for—strong schools, stable social programs, and thriving communities. The solution is to make adjustments to our tax structure and invest in our infrastructure. By adopting this approach, legislators will be taking actions that will directly lead to a stronger, healthier economy that works for all Oregonians.