In all this excitement about the eclipse, it seems Oregonians have missed something.
A tremendous opportunity actually—and we have no one to blame but ourselves.
For while businesses rake in millions in extra revenue from the surplus visitors, Oregon’s state coffers get nothing—not directly anyway… because we don’t have a sales tax.
And look, I get it: the sales tax is and always has been a big loser with the citizens of our great state.
But by not having one, truth is: we’re the losers.
To begin, tourism in our state is an $11.3 billion a year industry, one of the largest segments of our economy. If we had a 5% sales tax, that’s over $500 million of revenue, and the best part is: it’s all money from out of state. Why not have tourists pay some of our taxes?
In addition, Oregon asks surprisingly little of our corporate community in terms of taxes. As it is now, 87% of the tax burden falls on regular income earners like you and me. A sales tax solves that problem, because everyone pays it. Why not ask corporations to pay a little more?
But won’t a sales tax discourage tourism? Won’t it hurt businesses? Won’t a new tax crash our economy?
And frankly, only a ninny would buy into those fears.
California has the world’s six largest economy, and Washington was recently ranked as having the best economy in the country by WalletHub. So unless there’s some magic economic vortex that functions only in Oregon, the fears a sales tax will hurt our economy are vastly overblown.
Moreover, the implementation of a 5% sales tax should be paired with a cut in Oregon’s extremely high income tax. For example, if we reduced our primary income tax rate from 9% to 5%, every Oregonian would get a tax cut. And of course, groceries, clothing, rent, and other necessities would be exempt, so as not to overburden the poorest of our citizens.
Some might argue that a sales tax is regressive—but is that really true? In the scenario described above, corporations pay more, people from out of state pay more, Oregonians pay less, and the state takes in more revenue.
Doesn’t sound very regressive to me.
The best part: all that extra revenue can be used to fix our schools. We could reduce class sizes, increase the number of days our kids are in class, and fully implement measure 98, which means more tech and manufacturing opportunities for our students.
Lower taxes. More revenue. Better schools.
That’s a win-win-win.
It’s time to eclipse Oregon’s opposition to a sales tax.
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