Well, here’s another terrible idea.
In the last week, we’ve written about the efforts of Oregon Senate Republicans to drastically cut taxes for the wealthiest 1% of taxpayers and the largest corporations, all at the expense of schools, senior care, and public safety.
Today, we bring you news of yet another attempt to give a handout to the rich. This one will sound eerily familiar, because Oregonians just voted it down in November.
Eleven Senators and 22 Representatives—mostly Republicans—have introduced Senate Bill 671, which would eliminate Oregon’s estate tax for estates valued between $1 million and $5 million. The bill’s chief sponsor is Sen. Tim Knopp (R-Bend), who’s also behind the efforts to cut capital gains taxes for the rich and slash the tax rate for big corporations.
Their bill would cost our schools, health care, and public safety services at least $100 million every two years, all just to benefit millionaires. The estate tax only applies to the richest 2% of estates in Oregon.
Giving a big tax break to the rich at the expense of the rest of us is always a bad idea, but it’s especially bad considering that Oregon voters just defeated an attempt to wipe out the estate tax. Initiative profiteer Kevin Mannix put Measure 84 on the ballot (although no one knows who paid for the measure), and Oregon voters said no by 54%-46%.
In case you need a reminder of why this was such a bomb of an idea, here’s a handy page of facts from the Defend Oregon campaign: http://www.defendoregon.org/no-on-measure-84/
And here’s what third-grader Alice thinks of it:
In the meantime, a handful of Democratic legislators have a different take on the estate tax. House Bill 3025 (pdf) would dedicate all revenue from the estate tax to fund higher education and early childhood learning programs.
Rather than just creating a new tax break that blows a $100 million hole in the state budget, HB 3025 would dedicate the money to important programs that can actually make a positive impact in the lives of young Oregonians.
I guess it’s all just a matter of priorities.