Last Tuesday, Oregonians overwhelmingly approved
two ballot initiatives that ratified legislative action last year to
increase high-end personal income and corporate taxes. The failure of the anti-tax movement in Oregon
is one more in a long stream of right-wing initiatives
rejected by voters at the ballot box. In fact, progressive revenue
generation as part of a balanced approach to addressing state deficits
has been popular with both voters and legislatures for years. This Dispatch
will provide both the facts and messages to debunk opposition to smart
revenue options, while outlining a few of the best revenue approaches
to filling budget holes.
In this Dispatch, we emphasize that any stimulus spending has to be tied to increased
accountability and transparency in spending decisions, especially by
government contractors who often operate like a shadow government with
little oversight. One key reality is that those most in need often don't receive help from
government spending without transparency and accountability measures
built into the rules. While the recent federal recovery plan made real
strides in expanding such accountability, additional measures are still
needed if the recovery plan is going to deliver real equity in our
According to a new study by Good Jobs First, state and local governments lost over $1billion in sales tax revenue
last year as a result of laws that allow retailers to retain a
percentage of the sales tax they collect.
The budget news is grim in some states. Twenty states face a combined
budget shortfall of at least $35 billion for 2009, according to analysis by the Center on Budget Policy & Priorities (see CBPP graph below). Another 8 states will likely have budget problems next year or the year after.