Nancy greets a special friend in the Capitol.
late April, 2009
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The Ways and Means Committee has begun
its “road trip” hearings, to hear from people in communities around the state. Monday night in Lincoln City we heard from 74 people
on topics such as forest fire protection; business development; services for seniors, disabled and mental health and addictions treatment; community
colleges; county fairs; 4H and OSU County Extension services; courts; and more. Tuesday night we had a standing-room-only crowd at Portland
Community College. Next week takes us to Bend, Ashland and Eugene. The hearings often have 200 or more in
attendance. We try to hear from as many as possible, speaking up to 2 minutes each. For more information about
the hearings, click here, then scroll down to see the
Nancy and Tiffany take a moment for a photo in the House Chamber.
At the Capitol
North Eugene resident provides Opening Ceremony in House chamber
On Tuesday, April 14, Tiffany Hill, a north Eugene
resident and student at Oregon School for the Deaf, recited a poem using sign language for the opening ceremony in the House Chamber for the daily
floor session. That may seem like a big deal but it is small potatoes compared to where she is heading next.
Tiffany won the state National Endowment of the Arts “Poetry Out Loud” competition and will be reciting works for “Poetry
Out Loud” in Washington, D.C. Tiffany is the first deaf student to win a state "Poetry Out Loud" competition, and will be
the first deaf student to participate at the national level, competing against 53 other contestants from the states, the District of Columbia and the
Nancy hosts two honorary pages
from Kelly Middle School.
Tax breaks, good idea? Depends on what it’s
The House voted this week on HB 2067 to add a sunset
date to income tax credits not required by federal law or the state constitution. The purpose of the bill is to periodically review
tax credits to ensure they continue to serve a public purpose. (Tax credits excluded from regular review include the home mortgage deduction,
etc.) I support this plan for an orderly review of tax credits at least every six years. Many important credits would likely be continued,
while others could be phased out. The Legislature would review credits for research activities, fish screening devices, reforestation,
youth apprentice sponsorship, cultural trust, working family child care, water transit vessel manufacturing, and dozens
Tax breaks are often promoted to achieve a specific purpose. In official budget lingo, these
are called “tax expenditures” because they are expenses: instead of receiving the revenue, the amount of money is spent on specific
purposes, such as a tax break to encourage building low-income housing, or creating jobs in a specific area of manufacturing like solar panels or
building boats, helping low-income working people or the elderly. Without a sunset, or ending date, they keep going on and on even if they’re
really no longer necessary to achieve the purpose. The bill we passed covers only income tax credits. Overall,
Oregon has several hundred "tax breaks" related to local property taxes
and personal and corporation income taxes. These include credits, deductions, adjustments, exclusions, subtractions, and other
calculations. Some of these amount to a lot of money, some have a small impact on the budget. If these are not renewed, the money is then
available to spend on education, human services, public safety, and other programs. If you add up all the money that is spent on tax breaks, it would
be about $15 billion a year in taxes avoided by individuals and corporations.
The state publishes a 400+ page “Tax
Expenditure Report” listing the cost of each of these. Click here for information.