Measuring up: Ballot choices await Oregon businesses
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Oregon voters will have a handful of state ballot measures to decide on Nov. 6.
The defining measure this election season was to have been efforts to build a casino in Wood Village. Supporters, however, suspended their campaign last week, essentially waving a red flag.
Of the remaining seven measures, three could have an impact on businesses.
Ballot title: The Oregon Real Estate Transfer Tax Amendment
What would it do? It would amend the constitution to prohibit real estate transfer taxes, fees and other assessments save for those in effect on Dec. 31, 2009. Essentially, Measure 79 would tighten existing rules banning the transfer taxes by removing governments’ authority to impose the taxes altogether.
Pros: Could make home ownership accessible to more residents by eliminating the possibility of future extra fees. Supporters say the preemptive step would also eliminate the possibility of a “double tax” levied on home buyers.
Cons: There are actually already restrictions on real estate transfer taxes. Tightening the language could hamper counties’ ability to raise temporary funds.
Ballot Title: Oregon Estate Tax Phase-Out Initiative
What would it do? Eliminate the one-time estate tax on inherited property for estates of a certain value. It would also reduce certain other taxes on property transfers between family members.
Pros: Those who inherit assets from someone worth more than $1 million would forego paying the required 10 percent to 16 percent estate tax required. It would affect approximately 1,000 estates each year.
Cons: Would reduce the state’s revenue.
Ballot title: Oregon Corporate Tax “Kicker” Funds for Education Initiative
What would it do? Allocates Oregon’s corporate income/excise tax “kicker” refund to fund K-12 public education. The kicker provides refunds to businesses when the state’s revenue exceeds estimates by 2 percent or more.
Pros: Oregon’s public education system would receive badly needed funds.
Cons: Would redirect money that businesses could otherwise use for expansions or other improvements.
(Subscribers to the Business Journal can read complete coverage of the Portland City Council race, the mayoral contest and campaign fundraising in the current issue.)
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