FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Taxing the Rich Wins in Oregon

Victory!

Thousands of Oregon workers fought valiantly over the past weeks to ensure that corporations and the rich will see their taxes raised, so that social services, health care, and education could be saved. Massive phone banking operations, door-to-door canvassing, and rallies were used by union and community members to educate the public about a progressive tax measure used to offset the state’s dire budget situation.

The campaign was indisputably class war, and the corporations came out firing — virtually every newspaper in Oregon shed their alleged “objectivity” and exposed their subservience to the corporations. Oregon’s largest newspaper, The Oregonian, displayed giant front page ads —daily — in order to defeat the measures (part of the ad showcased an article by Phil Knight —founder of Oregon company Nike — who spoke of corporate apocalypse if the tax measures passed). This, along with the countless false advertisements on TV and radio, shows the high level of understanding that workers in Oregon displayed in voting to pass the measures by a landslide.

The new taxes are hardly radical; if anything they are insufficient compared to Oregon’s budget problems. Oregon’s corporate minimum tax was raised from $10 a year — no typo here — to $150. Corporations with profits over $250,000 a year will pay an additional 1.3 percent on profits over that amount.

Wealthy individuals — those making over $125,000 or couples making $250,000 will pay an additional 1.8 percent above those numbers. Most Oregonians — 97.5 percent — will see no tax increase. These minuscule tax increases caused Oregon’s corporate elite to feverishly organize to defeat the bill. Their stranglehold over the media was no match for well-organized working-class Oregonians.

Originally, the tax increase was passed by Oregon’s legislature, where the Democrats enjoy a supermajority. The Democrats were under immense pressure from Oregon’s unions, who, commendably, advanced the “tax the rich” measure to the point where the Democrats had to act. Though the tax increases were small, they were nevertheless progressive, saving Oregon’s budget $733 million in cuts.

The corporations mobilized, and paid signature gatherers to collect enough signatures to put the tax increase to a voter referendum.

The ensuing campaign caught the attention of the nation, where precedent is now set in favor of all working people. Corporations and unions from out of state contributed funds to help sway Oregon’s campaign, knowing that their fates were linked. Now, Oregon will hopefully serve as an example to other states experiencing budget crises and consequent cuts to education and social services.

Oregon’s vote coincides with President Obama’s national budget, where social services are being “frozen” — in reality reduced. Thus, Oregon gives inspiration for solutions to state and federal budget crises, where in both cases the working class has been carrying the brunt of the recession’s effects.

Union and community groups everywhere must follow Oregon’s example. Tax the rich and the corporations! No to cuts in education, health care, and social services!

SHAMUS COOKE is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action. He can be reached at shamuscook@yahoo.com

 

More articles by:

Shamus Cooke is a member of the Portland branch of Democratic Socialists of America. He can be reached at shamuscooke@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
David Yearsley
Bollocks to Brexit: the Plumber Sings
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail