Another day, another report showing that Oregon has extremely low business taxes.
For years, the Council on State Taxation’s “State and Local Tax Burden” report has placed Oregon in the bottom five states for business taxes, meaning we have lower business taxes than at least 90% of the states in the country. But their most recent report, which came out last summer, puts Oregon at the very bottom of the list, tied with North Carolina for the lowest business taxes in America. By a lot. To give an indication of just how low Oregon’s business taxes are, in order to just be at the national average, we’d need to raise state and local business taxes by $2.5 BILLION.
Now, another new report (pdf) confirms how low these rates are. The Anderson Economic Group crunched the numbers in a different way, and puts Oregon at… second lowest business taxes in the nation. Only Delaware has lower taxes, according to the report, and not by much. In fact, Oregon’s tax rate on businesses is just about half of the national average.
There are a lot of variations in business tax structures between all 50 states, so it can be complicated to definitively compare one state to another. But no one can honestly look at the basic facts and argue against the reality that Oregon has among of the very lowest corporate taxes in the country.
Here’s a critically important point: The vast majority of the big beneficiaries of our low, low business taxes aren’t Oregon companies. They’re multi-state or multi-national corporations, headquartered outside of Oregon, that make a heckuva lot of money here, yet pay next to nothing in taxes.
At the same time, Oregon’s school kids continue to struggle under the weight of overcrowded classrooms (we have the third largest class sizes in the nation). We have one of the shortest school years. The funding levels being considered for the coming school year will mean that, at best, most districts can stop the process of ongoing cuts. But many districts will still see painful cuts. We’ve also seen too many proposed cuts–and actual cuts–to senior services and basic safety net programs.
These cuts don’t just hurt struggling families–they hurt our business climate too. In order to thrive, businesses (big and small) need an educated workforce, stable infrastructure, and basic investments in our communities that keep our local economies healthy. But all of those things are threatened by ongoing budget cuts to Oregon’s priorities.
The question we should be asking ourselves is this: How much longer can we afford to have one of the lowest corporate taxes in the country?