Measures 66, 67: Fund state services or kill jobs?

Measures 66, 67: Fund state services or kill jobs?

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Schools, universities, prisons, state police and courts could all be cut if voters reject a pair of tax measures aimed at raising $733 million from big companies and wealthy Oregonians, lawmakers said Monday.

They released a list of potential cuts that might be required if voters reject Measures 66 and 67 in a January referendum election.

The Legislative Fiscal Office, the Legislature's budget experts, compiled the list from proposals submitted by state agencies for cuts of 5 percent and 10 percent of their current two-year budgets.

House Speaker Dave Hunt told the Statesman Journal newspaper in Salem the cuts would also reduce services for seniors, disabled children and veterans.

"These cuts on top of $2 billion in cuts we made earlier this year would do great harm to our schools, our colleges and universities, and to core services that Oregonians are relying on in these tough times," said Hunt, a Democrat from Gladstone.

But a spokesman for the opposition campaign said the list was compiled to influence the election, which will be Jan. 26.

"It's an effort to create a disaster scenario that says if these measures do not pass, the world as we know it will come to an end," said Pat McCormick of Oregonians Against Job-Killing Taxes.

The $733 million that would be raised if voters approve Measures 66 and 67 amounts to about 5.5 percent of the $13.3 billion state general fund budget.

The tax increases would fall on households earning more than $250,000 on a joint return, or $125,000 for a single filer, and corporations netting more than $250,000.

Small businesses have objected to the restructured corporate minimum tax, which would be raised from $10 to at least $150 and as high as $100,000 on businesses with $100 million in Oregon sales.

 

(Copyright 2009 The Associated Press)