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August 11, 2006


How true you are that Oregon is not high tax state, but fees are not calculated into your equation. Oregonians may have a tax rate that puts them at 36th highest per capita taxing, but the spending puts Oregon at 13th highest per capita. Fees make up the difference. For example, when a builder builds a home, local and state governments add approximately $24,000 to the price of the home.

Furthermore, The Rainyday amendment/spending limit/(Incorrectly termed Oregon TABOR) does not address the tax rate, only the increase in spending.

For more information on the State/Local spending per capita:

Mark, I think you need to do some research. I suspect the page you linked to includes federal revenue sources. Oregon's state taxes are about $1,700 per capita, according to another page on the Tax Foundation web site:

Your page shows per capita spending of $7,857 for Oregon. I seriously doubt that local taxes and fees are over $6,000 per capita in Oregon (my wife and I pay nowhere near $12,000 to Marion County).

The link above shows Oregon ranks #40 in per capita state taxes.

Even more persuasively, another Tax Foundation page shows that Oregon ranks #35 in state and local tax burden:

I stand by my statement: Oregon is not a high tax state. Good try, but choosing the wrong data from an anti-tax group like the Tax Foundation won't make your case.

Alright without using The anti-tax website, let's look at the figures.

According to the legislative budget (P. 5) - http://www.leg.state.or.us/comm/lfo/budghigh05-07.pdf

Funding for the state budget came from the following funds:
$8.412 Billion - Federal Funds
$21.683 Billion - Other Funds
$11.489 Billion - General Funds (AKA Income tax + Property Taxes)
$.783 Billion - Lottery Funds

Using a population of 3,641,056 from the Census Website, the per capita spending of these funding sources:

$2310 - Federal Funds
$5955 - Other Funds
$3155 - General Funds
$215 - Lottery Funds

Federal Tax dollars represent only 19.9% of the budget for the state. Other Funds, which represent non-tax revenue, make up 51.2% of the state budget. This explains Oregon's very low tax rate while having a significantly higher spending than other states.

Sorry for the double post, but keep in mind these are biennium figures and thus your approximate $1,700 tax figure is as accurate as it gets.

(This explains Oregon's very low tax rate while having a significantly higher spending than other states.)


Both spending and taxation are waaaaay down in Oregon relative to what other states.


In addition, Ron Saxton's own source citations prove that relative to other states, Oregon's spending is well managed and controlled:


The latest figures I can find for per capita spending for the states are from 2002. Oregon ranks 35th among all states.


Given that we've continued budget cutting since that time, I find it difficult to believe we'd be much higher on that list in 2006.

Carla, good points. And good links. A 2003 report from the Oregon Center for Public Policy further supports the conclusion that Oregon is in the middle of the pack, or lower, on both state taxation and spending:

Further, the piece that I linked to at the end of my post makes the most persuasive argument of all:

We live in a democracy. We elect people who carry out our policy wishes. If Oregonians want to spend less on state government, they can do so via the ballot box. If they want to spend more, ditto.

It galls me to have an out of state group try to take that right away from me via a highly politicized initiative. These TABOR-like efforts are aimed at handcuffing grass-roots democracy and substituting central government control.

Want to expand public services that reflect your values? Sorry, can't do that, because the bureaucratic state spending limit knows more about what you want than you do.

That's complete bullshit, especially coming from conservatives who supposedly want to limit the power of government. What they really want to do is limit the power of citizens to control their own destiny.

I'm confident Oregonians will see through this crap. We're independent in this state and don't appreciate being controlled by outside interests.

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