This Week in the Mercury


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rightwing Group Fights Governor's Tax Proposals

Posted by Matt Davis on Tue, Jul 21, 2009 at 11:15 AM

Right wing anti-tax groups have filed two referendum proposals with this morning to refer the Governor's two tax hikes to the ballot.

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:
162a/1248199686-nelson-570.jpg

ANTI-TAX LOBBYIST MARK NELSON: ILLUSTRATION BY JESS HIRSCH...

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.

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