Jeff Kruse

FEBRUARY 17, 2017




We are starting to have a few bills working their way through the system, but at this point nothing of any major impact.  There are, however, the beginnings of discussions in some subject areas that will have significant implications.  Having said that, the real issues taking front stage are the budget and the projected deficit.  From that perspective I took a look at the bills that have been assigned to the House Revenue committee to see how many tax increase measures were there.  I counted 38, but I have since been told there are now more.  I was going to list them all, but have now thought better of that and will just try to give a flavor of what is included.


Several taxes bills on cigarettes

Several taxes on business, including a business sales tax

Increasing the lodging tax

Limiting deductions on income tax, including some provisions relative to federal taxes

Several modified sales tax proposals

Increase in fuel tax

Increase in state tax on lotter winnings

A sales tax on art

Increase tax on sale of a house

Increase tax on livestock operations

A tax on coffee

A new higher tax bracket

A tax on “old cars”

An increase in capital gains tax (we already have the highest in the nation)

A tax on renting construction equipment


Keep in mind this is not a complete list and I am sure it will continue to grow.  I believe and hope most of these bills will go nowhere, but the fact is there are people in the House who have never seen a tax they didn’t like.  There are also people who truly believe creating government jobs stimulates the economy.  It points out the fact there may be a general lack of understanding of basic fee market economics.  Honestly, there are people serving in the Legislature who believe “people would be better off with the government running their lives.” I would point to the mess we have in most inner cities in this country where that is actually happening as an example of why it doesn’t work.  We should be empowering people to be the best they can be rather than continuing to make them dependent on the government.


Meanwhile the Ways and Means Committee will be heading to eastern Oregon for week two of their political road show.  I call it political because it is designed to do one thing and that is to demonstrate the NEED for new taxes.  What is being ignored is the fact that state government has grown by 40% over the last eight years and there is no way we can continue this trend.  However, it appears that is exactly what they are trying to do.

What is also frustrating is the fact that, because the Democrats have total control of the process, Republicans are not being included in the discussions.  In two more weeks the Ways and Means Committee will be done with their road show, and we may actually start to seeing part of their plan.  I have been serving in the minority in the Senate for 12 years and I have never before seen so much of the “activity” being done in secret.  What is likely to happen is they will bring out their plan, we will object to it, and they will call us obstructionists.  Once again pure political maneuvering.  The smart move would have been to include Republicans in the discussion to at least see where we could find common ground.  But I guess that wouldn’t serve their political agenda.

I will end with a quote from Margaret Thatcher.  “The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”




Senator Jeff Kruse

email: Sen.JeffKruse@oregonlegislature.gov I phone: 503-986-1701
address: 900 Court St NE, S-205, Salem, OR, 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/kruse