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Published on June 20, 2024
Oregon Voters May Decide on Universal Basic Income as Proposed $750 Resident Payment Heads to BallotSource: Unsplash/Giorgio Trovato

Oregonians may soon vote on a measure that could implement a universal basic income program, funded by increased corporate taxes to provide a yearly $750 payment to each resident, as reported by OregonLive. The proposed initiative appears to have garnered enough signatures to be placed on the November ballot, indicating widespread grassroots support for the policy that may counterbalance corporate opposition.

The current tax structure in Oregon sets corporate income and excise tax rates at 6.6% for taxable income up to $1 million and 7.6% for income above that threshold, yet the initiative is proposing an increase that has drawn criticism from groups like Oregon Business and Industry and the Tax Foundation, which argue that businesses would face an excessive tax burden, striking a discordant note amidst the proponents' harmony of economic equity and this sentiment was echoed by Jared Walczak, Vice President of State Projects at the Tax Foundation, who stated in an opinion piece that Oregon’s tax system already places the state among those with the highest business tax burdens in the U.S.

Countering these claims, Oregon Rebate, the group behind the initiative, argues that the majority of businesses would not be affected by the proposed tax increase. Their website features a calculator allowing Oregonians to estimate the rebate their household could receive, emphasizing inclusivity with eligibility criteria covering residents who have lived in the state for more than 200 days in the previous year, a group that encompasses children, business owners, and employees, thus extending the reach and potential impact of the proposed measure, as per KATU.

Nevertheless, with the prospect of the measure reaching the voters, opposition looms as the non-profit Oregon Business and Industry prepares for a campaign to dissuade public opinion against the rebate and its accompanying taxes; Angela Wilhelms, President and CEO of the organization told KATU, "IP 17 [Oregon Rebate] would impose a massive tax increase in Oregon If it qualifies for the ballot, our organization will be involved in a campaign against it, and we are confident that when voters look at the facts, they will vote to reject it," a pronouncement hinting at a forthcoming clash between fiscal policy and social welfare agendas.