Measure 97 – an innocuous name for a contentious proposal to raise corporate taxes in Oregon.

Formally known as Initiative Petition 28, the measure will be presented to Oregon voters on the November ballot. If it passes, Measure 97 would levy a 2.5 percent tax on C corporation sales in Oregon above $25 million. Beginning in 2017, C corps would pay the new tax in addition to their current minimum of $30 thousand a year.

A Better Oregon, the group that collected signatures in support of Measure 97, is a coalition of labor unions, educators and community leaders who say the tax hike is needed to pay for schools, health care and senior services. But local business advocates worry a tax this large would drive investment away from Oregon, and jeopardize jobs and the local economy.

According to the Legislative Revenue Office, Measure 97 could mean an extra $2.65 billion in tax money per year. That would be about a 26 percent increase in state general fund revenues. So this seemingly small tax could rake in significant funds.

Will the measure pass?

A quick glance at write-ins to local media sources (like here and here) show that Oregonians are at odds as to whether Measure 97 is the solution. And, much is at stake: Would consumers feel the fallout in price increases? Where would the revenue be spent? Would there be loopholes or exceptions? How would Oregon’s economy be impacted?

Join us this Friday, August 26 at 1 p.m. on PRP for an encore presentation of our Biz503 show: “Should Corporate Taxes Be Higher?”

Rebecca Webb, founder of Portland Radio Project, and Suzanne Stevens, editor of the Portland Business Journal, led a robust discussion about this controversial proposal. They were joined by a panel of Oregon economic and policy experts who debated the pros and cons of the initiative, and took a hard look at the possible impact of Measure 97.

Our guests included:

Sandra McDonough, President and CEO of the Portland Business Alliance

Chuck Sheketoff, Executive Director and Founder of the Oregon Center for Public Policy

Eric Fruits, Chief Economist at Economics International Corp. and Adjunct Professor of Economics at Portland State University

Robin Hahnel, Professor Emeritus of Economics from American University in Washington DC, Research Associate in the Department of Economics at Portland State University, and Visiting Professor at Lewis and Clark College

Listen to the encore presentation:

Listen to the original episode: