We live in an era of Big Data: By aggregating information about patients, doctors make better medical decisions; by compiling data about consumer preferences, businesses make strategic marketing decisions. Heck, by evaluating data about on-base-percentages, baseball General Managers are making better free agent decisions. From botox to baseball, data helps us make more informed and accurate decisions.
It’s frustrating, then, to see that Oregon’s legislators don’t have access to the data they need to make good tax decisions. Lawmakers are like the rest of the world – they make the best decisions when they have access to good information. Take Oregon’s taxes: Right now, every day in Salem during the legislative session, Legislators are asked to cut this tax, create this tax credit, open a new tax loophole, close this other tax loophole. Special interest lobbyists are asking for all sorts of favors with our tax dollars, yet legislators have no access to know whether or not public corporations are paying their fair share of taxes. Unlike at the federal level, public corporations in Oregon are not required to disclose how much they pay in taxes.