Newspapers critical of Special Session

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By M. Martin
Oregon guest writer

The Oregonian Sunday Editorial stated,

“How odd that Gov. Kate Brown would be convening legislators for a special session to expand a controversial tax break benefiting businesses. She is, after all, the same governor who has railed about Oregon’s businesses not paying their “fair share” of taxes. She has bemoaned cuts to government services as revenue hasn’t kept up with spending. But suddenly, Brown is so distressed that some businesses haven’t been eligible for a three-year-old tax break that she is calling an emergency session for lawmakers to write them in? “Odd” doesn’t begin to describe the weirdness of her position. Opportunistic,” however, does.”


The Democrat Herald managing Editor, Mike McInally, stated,

“It all adds to the potential of a mischief-filled special session in two weeks’ time — not the quick one-day event that Brown would prefer. And it all begs this question: Isn’t it time our election officials and candidates got serious about floating plans for real tax reform? Just asking.”

The Bend Bulletin Editorial Board stated,

“But calling a special session also makes a statement about the state’s urgent priorities. Is a tax break for small businesses the state’s most urgent priority? Take your pick. Oregon faces many urgent challenges. Improving schools. Improving jobs. Improving health care. Passing PERS reform. Those are all big topics. Any one could fill a weeks-long special session to work toward solutions. As worthy a topic as a small-business tax break might be, though, doesn’t it seem something else might be a critically urgent problem Oregon faces?

What about the state’s foster care system?

More than 7,000 children are in the state’s care on any given day. These are children that have likely been abused or neglected. Keeping those kids safe can be an extraordinarily difficult task for the Department of Human Services. DHS is not going to be perfect. But Oregon is failing far too often. “


Not every newspaper was critical. The Eugene Register Guard had a more mixed opinion.

“Approval of the sole-proprietorship tax cut would shield Brown from charges that she’s uninterested in providing tax relief to Oregon businesses. The insulation is thin: The governor’s preferred cut would yield about $20 million in benefits to a small percentage of businesses, compared to about $200 million that a larger group of businesses would have gained if Trump’s tax policy were reflected in the Oregon code. But Brown can argue that businesses have already received a windfall from the federal tax cut, and that her proposal would target relief where it’s most needed.”