Oregon ranks dead last — 50th in the nation — in corporate taxes. That means big corporations like Comcast and Chevron pay lower taxes here than anywhere else in the country. And that’s why Oregon’s schools and other vital state services have faced cut after cut for the last decade. Oregon needs Measure 97 — so we can hold big corporations accountable and make game-changing investments in public education and other services Oregon families rely on.
Oregon families, economists, small business owners, teachers, nurses, nonpartisan organizations, and other community advocates know that Measure 97 is the right solution for Oregon. But big corporations — many of the same corporations that we’re asking to pay their fair share — think otherwise. And they’re spending big to make sure they can continue to avoid paying their fair share here in Oregon.
How big is big? Well, big.
Recent campaign finance reports show that the opposition to Measure 97 has more than $17 million in campaign contributions — and we know that number will keep on growing right up until Election Day. The source of that $17 million says a lot about who is backing the opposition campaign, and what their intentions really are. For one, the corporate campaign is funded by a number of companies accused of fraud or tax dodging:
Comcast owes Oregon $120 million in unpaid taxes. Instead of paying the taxes it owes, the company is funding a campaign aimed at keeping its taxes low. Wells Fargo was fined $185 million for defrauding its customers. At the same time, the bank was able to enter Oregon politics in a big way, in the form of contributions to the opposition’s campaign.
Perhaps the biggest shocker of all? Corporations funding the No side have hidden more than $600 billion in profits in offshore tax havens.
For perspective, $600 billion is about three times the size of Oregon’s GDP.
Some of the biggest names in that pool of $600 billion offshore profits include Pfizer ($193,587,000,000), Johnson & Johnson ($58,000,000,000), and Chevron ($45,400,000,000), all of which have profits stashed in subsidiaries in tax haven countries like Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Netherlands, and Singapore.
The corporate campaign against Measure 97 is being bankrolled by the world’s biggest tax dodgers so they can maintain a tax structure that benefits their bottom lines at the expense of Oregon families. Continuing to rank dead last in corporate taxes might be good for big corporations, but it would be devastating for Oregonians. 50th in the nation means low graduation rates, more seniors in poverty, and families that can’t afford medical care. Combined with the fact that Oregon loses out on an estimated $283 million a year due to corporate offshore tax haven abuse, we just can’t afford to be dead last any longer.
Big corporations are spending millions to avoid paying their fair share of Oregon taxes. No matter how much money is spent, we have something they don’t: the support of the hundreds of thousands of Oregonians who make up our grassroots coalition. The Yes on 97 coalition — one of the largest coalitions in state history — represents hundreds of small businesses, community organizations, educators, economists, nonpartisan organizations and more who can all do something that corporate money can’t — they can vote.