Governor Ted Kulongoski signed the two new taxes into law yesterday: One increasing the minimum tax on corporations from $10 to a whopping $150, and the other increasing the income tax on folks earning more than $125,000 a year from 9% to 10.8%. I know: HARSH, right? Oh, no...you're right...they're tiny changes in a year where Oregon has faced a $3billion budget hole for services like health care, public safety and education.
Nevertheless a group calling itself Oregonians Against Job Killing Taxes has filed for the referendums this morning, which would send the tax increases to the voters in a January 26th election. So far it has raised almost $200,000 from homebuilders, car dealers, grocers and general contractors. The group's treasurer happens to be lobbyist Mark Nelson—whose most controversial clients in Salem include Anheuser-Busch, Pfizer, and Reynolds American (big beer, big pharma, and big tobacco). Nelson was named most Satanic lobbyist in our recent survey in Salem:
Nelson's group has hired a signature-gathering firm called "voice of the electorate" (VOTE) which is led by former Republican party chairman Kevin Mannix. The group will spend half a million bucks to gather the necessary 55,179 signatures by the September 25 turn-in deadline. My birthday!
Nelson was at a meeting in Portland this morning and is yet to return the Mercury's call for comment.