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Oregon to businesses: Screw you

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By Michelle Malkin  •  January 27, 2010 10:15 AM

Big Labor poured millions of rank-and-file members’ dues into a tax hike campaign in Oregon. It worked. The “wealthy” and the “evil corporations” will now be forced to bail out government schools and social services. Look for affected business owners to start Going Galt en masse.

The Oregonian reports on the gloating by public employee union brass and class warfare propagandists. You betcha the White House is paying attention. Paging Tea Party activists…

Oregon voters bucked decades of anti-tax and anti-Salem sentiment Tuesday, raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy to prevent further erosion of public schools and other state services.

The tax measures passed easily, with late returns showing a 54 percent to 46 percent ratio. Measure 66 raises taxes on households with taxable income above $250,000, and Measure 67 sets higher minimum taxes on corporations and increases the tax rate on upper-level profits.

The results triggered waves of relief from educators and legislative leaders, who were facing an estimated $727 million shortfall in the current two-year budget if the measures failed.

“We’re absolutely ecstatic,” said Hanna Vandering, a physical education teacher from Beaverton and vice president of the statewide teachers union. “What Oregonians said today is they believe in public education and vital services.”

The double-barreled victory is the first voter-approved statewide income tax increase since the 1930s. Other states, facing similar budget woes, are watching the outcome closely because Oregon, after all, is a state that capped property taxes and locked a surplus tax rebate program into the constitution.

The last time voters approved a tax increase was 2002, when they agreed to bump up tobacco taxes to help pay for the Oregon Health Plan. Voters rejected income tax increases twice in recent years.

“You’re going to find a lot of people are going to be talking about this,” said Kevin Looper, campaign director for Vote Yes for Oregon, the main support group for the measures.

…Campaign ads by supporters highlighted banks and credit card companies and showed images of well-dressed people stepping off private jets. They also hammered on the $10 minimum tax that most corporations have paid since its inception in 1931.

Those messages helped counter warnings by opponents that the taxes would lead to job losses, worsening the state’s 11 percent unemployment rate, and prompt wealthy residents to move elsewhere.

“They did a great job of pounding, ‘It’s only $10,’” said Bob Tiernan, chairman of the state Republican Party. “We got swamped by the union money.”

Supporters spent at least $6.9 million, most of it coming from teacher and public employee unions. Opponents, led by a coalition of business organizations, spent at least $4.6 million, donated by wealthy entrepreneurs such as Nike’s Phil Knight and Columbia Sportswear’s Tim Boyle.

Time to find a more hospitable climate, gentlemen.

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