- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 23, 2016

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - A $3 billion corporate tax measure that will be on Oregon’s ballot this November has earned another endorsement.

The slim majority of a panel overseen by the Citizens’ Initiative Review Commission supports Measure 97, reported The Oregonian/OregonLive (https://bit.ly/2beivxp ). The 20-person panel voted 11 to nine to support the measure.

A statement of support from the panel will be included in the state voter’s pamphlet alongside comments from opponents.

The political nonprofit Our Oregon, which is backed by public employee unions, got the measure on the ballot.

The measure would create a type of tax called a gross receipts tax by charging certain corporations a 2.5 percent tax on their gross annual sales above $25 million.

State economists estimate that it would raise at least $3 billion annually. Supporters on the panel said they support the proposal to help compensate for an anticipated $1.35 billion shortfall in the 2017-2019 budget.

“We are currently in a crisis of underfunded public education, health care, and senior services,” the panelists in favor wrote. “The passage of Measure 97 would quickly fix this.”

Opponents of the tax, however, cite a report from the nonpartisan Legislative Revenue Office that described the tax as regressive. Committee members wrote that “it could increase consumer costs for food, medicine, clothing, housing, utilities and other essential goods and services.”

Similar concerns were raised by Portland State University economists paid by Our Oregon to produce a report on the tax.

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Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, https://www.oregonlive.com

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