Oregon voters bucked decades of anti-tax and anti-Salem sentiment Tuesday, raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy to prevent further erosion of public schools and other state services.
The tax measures passed easily, with late returns showing a 54 percent to 46 percent ratio. Measure 66 raises taxes on households with taxable income above $250,000, and Measure 67 sets higher minimum taxes on corporations and increases the tax rate on upper-level profits.
Oregon Voters Pass Tax Increasing Measures By Big Margin
Calitics' Robert Cruikshank provides the perspective:
Yesterday Oregon voters delivered a huge victory for progressives by approving Measures 66 and 67, raising taxes on incomes over $250,000 and large corporations to generate $733 million to close the state's budget deficit. The Oregon legislature had approved the taxes last summer, but a corporate/teabagger alliance organized to put it to voters in a referendum.
The opposition ran a well-funded campaign, led by Nike, Columbia Sportswear, and other big businesses. They were joined by Ari Fleischer's FreedomWorks and the libertarian publisher of the Oregonian, who used to be at the Orange County Register before it went belly-up. Together they ran a campaign arguing that the tax increases would worsen unemployment. But 55% of voters have rejected that, and instead showed that when a truly progressive campaign is waged, the right-wingers can be beaten. Even on taxes.
In what sure looks to me like a recession, with unemployment reaching higher levels all the time, the voters of Oregon decided it was time to raise taxes to pay for essential services. That's just as big a message to DC Democrats as the Massachusetts Senate race was. The message, once again, is that good policy is often good politics. Sometimes, all it takes is the nerve to stand up and say it's necessary.