This statewide ballot measure would increase the corporate minimum tax by 2.5% on C corporations with sales exceeding $25 million in Oregon. This proposal would raise about $2.5 billion a year, and would designate that money for education (both Early and K-12 education), senior services, and healthcare programs.
Common Cause Position:
Common Cause endorses this measure because a healthy democracy depends on an equitable and adequate tax base.
Over the last four decades, even as corporate wealth has increased dramatically, the corporate share of Oregon’s tax base has shrunk from about 18% in the mid-1970s to just 7% today (Oregon Center for Public Policy). Oregon’s disproportionately low business taxes have undermined core functions of our state government, with cuts to schools and basic services. We all pay the price of an underfunded government, but the impacts of underfunding often falls most heavily on historically disenfranchised populations, exacerbating inequities further. This contributes to the lack of representation that many communities see in our democracy.
Measure 97 would help restore funding levels for the most essential government functions, primarily education, which is essential for a healthy democratic process. As Thomas Jefferson once pointed out “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”
It's no accident that the economic gap between the richest 1% of Americans and everyone else is larger than at any time since the 1920s. The increasing role of money in our political system has created an imbalance of power in Oregon, enabling corporations to shape our tax policies in recent decades to reduce their share of the tax burden, while placing a greater burden on working families. Measure 97 uses the people power of the ballot initiative process to restore the balance in Oregon’s tax system. Public policies bought with campaign contributions and big money lobbying helped create this inequality. New policies can help fix it.