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Op-Ed: Raising Corporate Taxes is the Smart and Fair Solution

As someone who has run a business and served my community in Oregon for 4 years, I fully support Initiative Petition 28. My name is Marci Pelletier, I own Shwop in SE Portland, and I am a proud member of The Main Street Alliance of Oregon.

I love my community — I try to do my part to support our schools and give back to the neighborhood. But I can only do so much. And, sadly, our community isn’t shining as brightly as it used to.

My store is located two blocks away from a big high school, and a lot of my customers are teachers. I’ve gotten to know them over the last few years, and hearing about the challenges they’re facing — both the teachers and their students — has become a regular theme. There have been layoffs, the classrooms are overcrowded, and the school year isn’t long enough.We’re supposed to be setting our kids up for success, making sure they receive quality educations and are prepared for adulthood. They need strong, reliable schools, and based on the conversations I’ve had over the last few years, our schools are heading in the opposite direction.

It’s frustrating to watch because as a small business owner, there’s only so much I can do on my own to help. For one, I pay my share of taxes, because I know that investing in my community is the right thing to do.

I also know that as a small business owner, I’m investing more in our communities — in our kids’ education, in the children who are going to be tomorrow’s leaders — than big corporations are. Big corporations have tools at their disposal to help them get out of paying the taxes they owe so they can keep profits high. They use loopholes to pay low minimum taxes and with tax credits and tax breaks, tax bills for these big, profitable companies can be reduced to nothing. According to a report from the Anderson Economic Group, Oregon has the lowest business taxes in the country — so these already wealthy and powerful corporations are paying fewer taxes on their business sales here than anywhere else.

Worst of all, 2012 data from the Oregon Department of Revenue shows that small business are paying taxes at a rate that’s eight times the rate that corporations paying only minimum taxes are paying. That’s just not fair to the rest of us.

That’s why I’m giving my support to Initiative Petition 28.

By raising the corporate minimum tax for the biggest corporations doing businesses in the state — corporations with sales over $25 million each year — Oregon’s Legislative Revenue office estimates that IP 28 would raise about $2.5 billion a year. And that $2.5 billion dollars wouldn’t just be invested in our schools — it would go back to our health care systems and our senior services, which we all know are in desperate need of funding, too.

With the passage of IP 28, the kids in my community and the teachers I’ve gotten to know over the years would finally get the schools they deserve — we’d be setting our kids up for success, ensuring they’re well prepared for college and beyond. We could hire back the teachers and counselors that have been laid off over the years, and make sure classrooms aren’t overcrowded so that kids can actually get individual attention and support from their instructors.

Those shouldn’t be pipe dreams. Our kids deserve a better education than what they’re getting right now, and we can’t let them wait for it any longer. And we need a long-term solution to address this issue that’s also fair to small businesses. We’re paying our fair share, but we alone can’t shoulder the burden. Initiative Petition 28 is a smart and fair solution.

Marci Pelletier is the owner of Shwop in Portland and she is a member of the Main Street Alliance of Oregon.

1 comment

  • jay
    jay Tuesday, 15 March 2016 15:43 Comment Link

    If Oregon has one of the lowest corporate taxes in the country, why aren't companies beating down the doors to locate here? Possibly the rate paid is low, I don't know, but has anybody quantified the amount of charitable contributions a company like Nike or Intel or Kroger makes to communities in the state. I've seen it, it's huge.

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