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Campaign Submits Signatures For Corporate Tax 'Game Changer'

<p>The "Better Oregon" campaign claims to have collected more than 130,000 signatures. Only about 88,000 of those need to be found valid, for the measure to make the fall 2016 ballot.</p>

Rob Manning

The "Better Oregon" campaign claims to have collected more than 130,000 signatures. Only about 88,000 of those need to be found valid, for the measure to make the fall 2016 ballot.

Backers of a corporate tax initiative say they’ve submitted more than 130,000 signatures for verification.

The head of the Oregon Education Association, Hanna Vaandering, called the proposed measure a “game-changer.”

Vaandering said teachers union members collected 60,000 signatures, nearly half of the total.

The Better Oregon campaign said all the signatures were collected by volunteer supporters — many of them with ties to unions like OEA and the Service Employees International Union.

The measure would raise taxes on corporations with more than $25 million in annual revenue. Better Oregon estimates the measure could raise more than $2.5 billion per year. State financial experts are expected to give a more detailed analysis of the initiative to a legislative committee next week.

Backers say the money could go a long way toward improving education and health care in Oregon.

The campaign claims to have submitted far more signatures than needed to get the initiative on the ballot, and the secretary of state is now validating the signatures.

If the measure makes the ballot, it won’t pass without a fight.

A group calling itself “Defeat the Tax on Oregon Sales” is arguing the multi-billion dollar initiative would function like a sales tax and ultimately cost Oregon consumers through higher prices on products sold in the state.

The measure’s backers argue the increase is justified based on Oregon’s relatively low corporate taxes.

Copyright 2016 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Rob Manning is a news editor at Oregon Public Broadcasting, with oversight of reporters covering education, healthcare and business. Rob became an editor in 2019, following about 15 years covering schools and universities in Oregon and southwest Washington as OPB’s education reporter.