SALEM, Ore. – Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber told lawmakers Monday to approach a possible sales tax with caution. Oregon is one of five states without a sales tax and critics say that leaves state finances vulnerable to economic ups and downs.

The governor told a Senate panel that a sales tax is one possible component of a major overhaul to the state's tax code. But he said it can only happen if Oregonians are on-board.

SALEM, Ore. – Democrats in the Oregon House are backing away from a key aspect of their budget-balancing tax measure. They’re no longer proposing to end the deduction for charitable donations for some high-income earners. The move Monday comes in the face of withering criticism from nonprofits.

The original plan would have applied only to households earning more than $250,000. Majority Democrats said it would have affected less than 3 percent of Oregon taxpayers. But nonprofits complained that those taxpayers are the ones with the ability to make bigger donations.

On Tax Day, Oregon Lawmakers Consider A Sales Tax

Apr 15, 2013

One of the most politically sensitive topics in Oregon is up for debate at the state capitol Monday. Lawmakers will hold a hearing on whether to ask Oregon voters to approve a sales tax. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington House Democrats have unveiled a proposed two-year budget that looks a lot like Governor Jay Inslee’s. It would renew expiring tax hikes, close several tax exemptions and put the new money into public schools.

House Democrats would actually spend a tad more than the governor. But their approach is very similar. For example: extend an expiring tax on beer and end the sales tax exemption for bottled water and shoppers from sales tax free Oregon.

SALEM, Ore. – Democrats in the Oregon legislature are offering up more details of their plan to raise an additional $275 million for the upcoming budget. High-income earners and some businesses would pay more under the proposal, which was released Tuesday.

Democratic leaders say under their plan, less than five percent of Oregonians would pay more in taxes. The increases are aimed at households earning more than $250,000. Those taxpayers would be able to claim fewer deductions and exemptions on their tax returns.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the two-thirds requirement for tax hikes is a personal defeat for initiative activist Tim Eyman. Over the years, he sponsored three of the five ballot measures that enacted the supermajority rule.

Outside the Capitol after the ruling, reporters noted that Eyman seemed more subdued than defiant.

Education Groups Hail Supermajority Ruling

Mar 1, 2013

Education groups led the charge to strike down the two-thirds vote requirement to raise taxes in the Washington state Legislature.

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington Democrats say it’s a victory for democracy. Republicans call it a defeat for taxpayers. In a major decision Thursday, the Washington Supreme Court tossed out the state’s two-thirds supermajority requirement for raising taxes. In a 6-3 decision, the court ruled that the voter-approved law violates a provision of the Washington state constitution that requires a simple majority vote in the state legislature to approve bills.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Supreme Court is expected to rule Thursday in a case that challenges the two-thirds requirement for tax hikes. A lower court judge previously found the supermajority rule unconstitutional.

If the two-thirds majority for tax hikes which Washington voters have repeatedly approved -- most recently in November with nearly a two-thirds vote -- is thrown out by the court, then really the only remedy for supporters is to try to get a constitutional amendment passed to actually enshrine it in the constitution. That is no easy feat.

Northwest News Network

The Washington Supreme Court is expected to rule any week now on the constitutionality of supermajority votes for tax hikes. Meanwhile, Tuesday the budget committee in the Washington Senate took testimony on a proposal to enshrine that two-thirds threshold in the state constitution.