taxes

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is hitting the road with his push for additional legislative action to curb public pension costs. The Democrat visited with local leaders in Hillsboro Friday.

Dan Jenkins / ODFW

A plan that would give state government broad powers to step in and bail out struggling timber counties could advance soon in the Oregon legislature. A House panel could vote as soon as Monday on a bill that could lead to a temporary tax hike in counties that are struggling to maintain basic services.

Washington lawmakers have until the end of the month to pass a budget – if they hope to avoid a government shutdown. But there’s another costly deadline looming this week.

Katie Campbell

The Federal government is missing out on tens of millions of dollars in revenue from companies that mine coal on public lands. That’s according to a new report released by the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Ashley Ahearn reports for EarthFix.

Better-than-expected tax collections could trigger Oregon's unique kicker law, at least for corporations. The rebate is issued if revenues exceed initial projections by more than two percent. A newly released revenue forecast noted Thursday that business taxes have been robust enough to cross that threshold.

But state economist Mark McMullen says a final tally won't be made until later this year. "We believe that a kicker is better than a 50-50 shot. But not a sure thing. That came with a big surge in corporate taxes at the beginning of the year."

Two days after a proposed tax hike faltered in the Oregon House, a union-backed group has filed initiatives to raise taxes on corporations. The move by Our Oregon Friday could be a repeat of a bitter tax fight three years ago.

Our Oregon has successfully led two tax campaigns in the last few years. The group estimates the six initiatives it’s looking at for 2014 would raise corporate taxes anywhere from $75 million to more than $1 billion a year.

It was a day of drama in the Oregon House Wednesday. First, majority Democrats failed to round up enough “yes” votes for a $275 million tax hike. Then, Democrats scored a victory by sending their version of a public pension cost-cutting proposal to Governor John Kitzhaber.

The plan targeted upper income earners and corporations. But tax hikes require a three-fifths vote and Democrats needed at least two Republicans to cross the aisle to move their measure forward. That didn't happen.

It’s been nearly two months since the Washington Supreme Court tossed out a voter-approved two-thirds requirement for tax hikes. Monday, anti-tax activist Tim Eyman proposed an initiative he describes as a “lobbying tool” to bring back the super majority rule.

It appears more likely Washington lawmakers will go into an overtime session. The regular 105-day session ends this Sunday. But the House and Senate, along with the governor, still have to agree on a two-year budget deal. Even if a deal was at hand -- and it doesn’t appear one is -- they’d be cutting it close.

Washington House Democrats are getting praise and scorn for their proposed $1.3 billion tax package for schools. At a public hearing Friday lawmakers heard tales of hardship from people for and against the tax measure.

Pages