OSCC Position Statements, Fall 2016: Measures 97, 98, 99

Message from the Oregon State Chamber of Commerce

OSCC strongly opposes Measure 97

Measure 97 – Increases corporate minimum tax when sales exceed $25 million; funds education, healthcare, senior services.

Background: If passed in November, Measure 97 would amount to the biggest corporate tax increase in the history of the State of Oregon, according to the Legislative Review Office. Affecting any C-corporation with sales revenue exceeding $25 million, the measure would require a $30,000 minimum tax, plus a gross receipts tax of 2.5 percent on additional sales dollars.

Issues: The state’s nonpartisan Legislative Revenue Office concluded that economic growth would be dampened and more than 38,000 private-sector jobs would be lost if Measure 97 is passed.

There are no binding requirements for how the revenue generated by Measure 97 has to be spent. Revenue from the legislation would funnel into Oregon’s General Fund, which can be spent at the discretion of current legislators.

The average cost of Measure 97 on Oregon families is estimated at $600 per year in the form of increased costs of goods and services.

Measure 97’s application is heavily flawed; it requires tax payment on gross sales, independent of whether the business has any profits.

OSCC Position: OSCC strongly opposes Measure 97 and encourages all of Oregon’s local Chambers of Commerce to oppose Measure 97.

OSCC supports Measure 98

Measure 98 – Requires state funding for dropout prevention, career and college readiness programs in Oregon high schools.

Background: Measure 98 would set aside dedicated funding of $140 million of existing state funds to fund high school career and technical education. It also mandates schools to submit proposals for programs falling under the measure’s jurisdiction and enumerates specific criteria as to how performance should be measured and how educators are to be held accountable.

Stand for Children, which emphasizes state and national education reform, is responsible for the introduction of Measure 98.

Issues: Oregon has the fourth lowest high school graduation rate in the country. Supporters of Measure 98 seek to boost graduation rates by increasing accessibility to vocational programs that appeal to students who do not intend to pursue college degrees.

Measure 98 allocates existing state funds – a portion of any projected increase in tax revenues – to fund the required programs. It does not rely on any tax increases.

Critics of Measure 98 point out that setting aside funds for these education programs will take funding away from other critical state government services. Critics also question whether such a program can be sustained over periods of low economic and tax revenue growth.

OSCC Position: OSCC supports Measure 98 as it helps build the economy with a renewed emphasis on vocational and skills training for high school students.

OSCC opposes Measure 99

Measure 99 – Creates “Outdoor School Education Fund,” continuously funded through Lottery, to provide outdoor school programs statewide.

Background: Measure 99 grants fifth and sixth graders a week of outdoor education funded by reserving four percent of lottery funds. Costs would be capped at $22 million each year.
The measure is backed by Save Outdoor School for All, which is a coalition of parents, educators and outdoor advocates.

Issues: Legislators expanded outdoor school in 2015 on a statewide level, but did not make adjustments to fund the growth of the programs.

Critics of Measure 99 believe that the lottery funds required to fund outdoor school will come at the expense of all of the lottery-funded economic development initiatives and agencies, further eroding Oregon’s ability to compete for industry and jobs.

OSCC Position:  OSCC opposes Measure 99. OSCC does not oppose the Outdoor School program; however, it does not support the funding mechanism through Lottery dollars.

The Bandon Chamber of Commerce provides legislative news for member information. To learn more about Bandon Chamber communication on legislative topics, read the letter from chamber director Julie Miller. For the latest Oregon updates, refer to oregonlegislature.gov.