[Update: If you want to comment on this bill using the link provided by Representative Walsh, you may need to register on a new system, E-comments, to do so. Go here for more information. If you do not wish to sign up for E-comments, you can still submit comments by phone, e-mail, or in person.]
(Rep. Maureen Walsh sent this bulletin at 04/24/2013 01:18 PM PDT)
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are in the final week of session and I am committed to ending on
time, April 28. There are very different budgets from the House and
Senate, and those differences will need to be worked out before the
The Senate budget
was introduced first and does not include any new taxes. It funds $1
billion more in targeted education funding, and protects the most
vulnerable populations in our state, like our folks with developmental
disabilities. It leaves $611 million in reserves and would decrease tuition for four-year universities by 3 percent. This budget proves that we can balance the budget within existing revenue, while protecting the most vulnerable and fully funding education.
The House Democrats’ budget followed the lead of our governor’s budget outline
by increasing taxes by $1.3 billion. While the governor says ending tax
exemptions is not the same as increasing taxes, the reality is people
will pay more to state government at the end of the day. I was extremely
disappointed the governor so quickly abandoned his promises to not raise taxes.
The House Democrats’ original proposal would have made temporary taxes
on beer permanent and expanded to them to microbreweries, as well as
increased taxes on insurance agents and even janitorial services. All of
those were recently removed from the tax package in the Finance Committee after a major public outcry.
However, $905 million in tax increases are still moving forward – on
everyone buying bottled water, to real estate agents, to architects, to
our hometown primary care physicians and many, many more.
A hearing on House Bill 2038, which would implement these taxes, turned out hundreds who came to testify from all parts of the state about how the tax increases would impact them.
Several realtors testified that the tax would hit them at a time when
the housing market is still down. Another man who provides architecture
services testified that the temporary business and occupation tax
increase on his business that is set to expire but would be made
permanent under the proposal is preventing him from hiring two to three more people.
People who work at our state’s ports testified that a new tax on trade
will prevent growth in trade. A man from a bottled water company
testified that a sales tax on bottled water would cut his customer base
while his costs continue to go up. The tax increase that I think would
affect our district the most is charging a sales tax on our shoppers
from Oregon. This will have a detrimental impact on our retailers on the
border, as Oregon shoppers realize they can wait and use their
discretionary income at home. This will have an unintended consequence
of reducing revenues to the state, as retailers will have less sales.
It’s not too late to share your opinion of these budgets and the Democrats’ tax package – you can submit public comments online
or call the Legislative Hotline toll-free at (800) 562-6000 and ask to
share your comments with all of the House Democrats. The public has
proven their input is heard and does make a difference.
It’s an honor to serve you.