Sponsored by Oregon Business

It's time to end Oregon’s "corporate tax dodge"

| Print |  Email
Monday, May 01, 2006

Bill Thorndike of Medford Fabrication challenged the business community, saying, “It’s time we start giving more to schools than lip service or the random auction item, and start putting our money where our mouths are” [Time to step up, FIRST PERSON, March]. I couldn’t agree more. Thorndike’s solution, though, won’t cut it.

While facilitating an increased involvement by parents is necessary for a better education system, it is not sufficient. There is an equally critical role for Oregon’s business community that Oregonians must not overlook: Corporate Oregon needs to share fairly in financing public services. We cannot volunteer our way out of what is fundamentally a flawed financing structure for vital public services.

What Oregon schools need is a business community that is willing to pay its fair share of the cost of providing the basic public services it relies upon every day. Corporate Oregon needs to stop dodging its responsibility.

Over the last 25 years, Oregon’s corporate income tax has plummeted both as a share of the state economy and as a share of all income taxes paid in Oregon. Today, corporations operating in Oregon are paying about 71% less in state corporate income taxes as a share of the economy than they did in the late 1970s and are paying about 6% of income taxes compared to about 18% in the mid-1970s.

If corporate income taxpayers still paid the same share of income taxes they paid in 1973-75, state revenue would be about $1.8 billion higher this budget period. With K-12 education getting about 43% of the state general fund and lottery dollars, Oregon’s schools are losing out on at least $774 million in this budget cycle alone.

The long-term decline in corporate in-come taxes has occurred because corporations have won a number of tax breaks, and because corporations have grown aggressive about employing abusive tax shelters. A new tax break for companies with few Oregon sales but significant property and payroll in Oregon will cost Oregon over $70 million this budget period and will keep Oregon corporate income tax collections relatively flat for the rest of this decade.

Thorndike and other business leaders should not allow corporate Oregon to continue to avoid its commitment to quality public education. It is time for corporate Oregon to step up and do its part to improve education by picking up its fair share of Oregon’s income taxes and ending the outrageous corporate tax dodge.

— Chuck Sheketoff
Oregon Center for Public Policy

Have an opinion?
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


More Articles

Rail revival

Linda Baker
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
111115-OregonShortLineRailCarTHUMBBY LINDA BAKER

“What we’ve seen traditionally over the past few decades is a reduction of short line railroads. This is a rare opportunity to see a line being opened.”


Planter's Punch

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Molly Rogers believes she has found the solution to excessively syrupy cocktail mixes. She first just needs people to understand her product isn’t foliage.


Hot Topics/Cool Talks: Tinker, Tailor, Portland Maker

The Latest
Friday, November 20, 2015



There's a great future in plastics

Linda Baker
Friday, October 30, 2015
103115-lindachinathumbBY LINDA BAKER

This is a story about a small plastics company in wine country now exporting more than one million feet — 260 miles worth — of tubing to China every month.


Photos: 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon awards dinner

The Latest
Thursday, October 01, 2015
100best202thumbPHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Images from the big 2015 celebration of worker-friendly organizations that make a difference.


Roll On

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The myth of a freight-dependent economy.


The War Room

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Veteran political consultant Carol Butler plays to win.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02