April 24, 2013- Today, on the House Floor, Revenue Committee chair Phil Barnhart (D-Eugene) introduced the Democrat HB 2456 A bill which would have raised taxes on taxpayers and businesses to achieve $275 million of new revenue. Immediately, Vice Chair of the Revenue Committee Vicki Berger (R-Salem) introduced the Republican caucus minority report. Speaker Kotek recessed the House for caucus meetings. After about two hours of caucus discussions, the members returned and voted 60-0 to pass the minority HB 2456 A.
The minority report, HB 2456 A, will eliminate offshore tax havens and dedicate the savings to mental health programs. The measure was offered by House Republicans as an alternative to the House Democrats tax plan. Further, it requires revenue that's collected to be deposited into a Mental Health Services Fund. Ending the tax havens is estimated to provide $18 million in the 2013-15 biennium, and increase to $42 million for 2015-17.
"I have never seen a minority report pass unanimously," Rep. Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver) stated. "I hope what happened on the Oregon House floor today leads to bi-partisan negotiation in the Senate and in the House later to balance the budget."
Rep. Whisnant added, "The minority report, HB 2456 A, does not provide the Co-Chairs $275 million of new revenue that their budget requires. The negotiations will have to look for more revenue, increase the PERS savings, or cut K-12 funding."
HB 2456 A now moves to the Senate with a 16-14 political composition. The bill requires 18 yes votes to pass the Senate.