In a few short weeks it will be hard to miss the battle taking place on Oregon’s ballot between those
advocating for more tax revenue for state government versus those against it. The $6 billion tax increase proposal is the largest in state history and would be paid on the sales of products and services that Oregonians buy every day. The projected cost for the average Oregon household totals over $600 a year.
For months, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association has been officially opposed to Measure 97 (previously known as Initiative Petition 28). In partnership with consumers, families, small and large businesses, and organizations from across Oregon, ORLA will fight hard against this tax proposal and the harmful impacts it would have on our great state. Our biggest concern continues to be the impacts the measure will have on disposable income given the industry’s reliance on the ability of Oregonians to eat out on a regular basis. In addition, direct increased costs relating to food and utilities in particular will further disrupt the fragile profit margins our members are working hard to protect.
We want all industry members to take the time to learn more about the proposal and engage in conversations with friends and family to discuss what’s at stake. In one of the most glaring mistakes, you will see proponents in favor of the measure praising the tax for its ability to boost dollars for education when nothing in the structure of the measure guarantees that any of the tax revenue would actually be spent for that purpose.
Given our recent track record with Cover Oregon and other wasteful government programs, my hope is that there is common agreement across party lines that cutting a blank check for over $6 billion to our state government might not be the wisest decision.
There is a wealth of information available online to digest at your own pace as you prepare to make decisions about your views on Measure 97 this election year. For me personally, the independent study conducted by the Legislative Revenue Office takes the cake. It concludes that if Measure 97 were to pass, Oregon would lose over 38,000 private sector jobs.
These facts may give you confidence that Measure 97 has very little chance of passing but we cannot rest on our laurels or become complacent about the real threat it poses to disposable income flexibility for Oregon families and increased costs for your business. In order for our industry to continue its impressive pace of growth and success, damaging measures like Measure 97 must be defeated and defeated soundly. It is time to send a message that massive tax increases on the backs of working Oregonians will not result in a better Oregon. Instead, it creates larger rifts between private sector businesses who churn our state economy and the Oregonians working hard as part of the public sector.
This fight at the ballot box will further sever those relationships so please take the time to educate yourself on the realities of Measure 97 without becoming part of the animosity or ill will that pits Oregonians versus Oregonians.
Please take the time to visit Defeat97.com to learn more about the coalition we are officially a part of and how you can be involved. Let’s stand together against harmful proposals and continue building a stronger Oregon for our children and grandchildren. | Jason Brandt, President & CEO