Obama statement used in hopes of defeating local tax hikes

Obama statement used in hopes of defeating local tax hikes »Play Video
Oregonians Against Job Killing Taxes uses a statement President Barack Obama made in its recent television ad against the Oregon Legislature's tax hikes.

SALEM, Ore. -  President Barack Obama may not know it, but he’s being used to try and defeat tax hikes in Oregon as the fight over the Legislature’s higher taxes on businesses and higher wage earners kicked into high gear this week.

“The last thing we want to do is to raise taxes in the middle of a recession, because that would just suck up - take more demand out of - the economy and put businesses in a further hole,” Obama said in August.

Now that statement is part of a new television advertisement by Oregonians Against Job Killing Taxes.

“We think he’s done a good job articulating exactly the issue Oregonians face as whether these taxes are a good idea right now,” said Pat McCormick of Oregonians Against Job Killing Taxes.

On the other side of the issue is Vote ‘Yes’ for Oregon. Its new ad says it’s time to raise the state’s minimum corporate tax.

“Measure 66 and 67 would protect the middle class,” the ad says. “And make the big corporations finally pay their fair share.”

The spokesman for Vote ‘Yes’ for Oregon, Scott Moore, said the president was talking about raising federal taxes, not state taxes.

“I think most voters see through the out-of-context nature of his quote,” Moore said.

But McCormick said he doesn’t agree.

“It’s a tax on the same kind of people and, it has the same kind of negative economic effect,” he said.

The tax fight has also hit the mail.

In a letter mass-mailed to many Oregon voters, Tillamook Dairy farmer, Carol Leuthold, urges Oregonians to vote against the tax increases since they will, “hurt our farm and the families it supports,” she said in the letter.

“It’s hard to imagine her tax liability going from $10 to $150 is going to hurt anybody’s job,” said Moore.

He said the Leuthold’s don’t appear to be struggling financially. He pointed to a Tillamook Cheese Web site where she talks about her worldwide travels, including a trip to Italy and France to take cooking classes.

McCormick, however, questioned whether it was relevant. “Does it make a difference, do you think, to people?” he said.

Oregonians will vote on the two tax measures on Jan. 26. If they fail, the Legislature said it will make budget cuts when lawmakers meet in February.