Government Budget Continues to Outpace Oregon's Economic Growth, NFIB Official Laments

Date: January 17, 2017

Gov. Kate Brown’s $20.8 billion proposed budget includes tax hikes that concern business owners.

Oregon’s NFIB State Director Anthony K. Smith is concerned about Gov. Kate Brown’s proposed $20.8 billion budget.

“Why is the governor proposing tax increases, one of them being a tax increase on certain types of small businesses, when the economy seems to be doing OK?” he asked. “The answer is: because government is becoming more expensive to run.”

Her plan, which seeks $897 million in new revenue in 2017-19, proposes to raise taxes on tobacco, liquor, hospitals, insurers, and some corporation owners’ income, according toThe Oregonian.

“I can’t really say I’m surprised,” Smith says, Oregon has “never seen as much money come into the state for [the government] to spend.” Nonetheless, he added, the state will “still have to make some difficult decisions in order to balance the budget.”

“Our economy is still growing, but not at a rate that matches the growth of government itself.”

Business groups didn’t take this lying down, with the Oregon Business Association writing, “There is a much preferable route if we have the political confidence to take the road less traveled here in Oregon.”

But Smith feels small businesses shouldn’t be surprised by this proposal.

“Nothing unexpected from our small business angle,” he says. “For years, we’ve know this coming budget cycle was going to be challenging. The bigger concern would be, are we going to continue to have this problem where, even if we have decent economic growth we’re still going to continue to have a conversation about tax increases and budget cuts, no matter how much money we have?”

The bottom line, Smith feels, is this problem will continue to persist as long as those with decision-making power continue to see it as just a revenue problem.

“Growth doesn’t happen forever,” he said. “If we’re not ready to have the conversation now about getting the cost of government under control, then when are we going to have it?”

Related Content: Small Business News | Economy | Oregon | Taxes

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