taxes small

In a Dec. 24 Oregonian op-ed, OBI President and CEO Angela Wilhelms urged state lawmakers to commit to a multiyear moratorium on new taxes. Wilhelms and coauthor Jason Brandt, president and CEO of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, cited the recently released recommendations of the Portland Central City Task Force, which determined that recent increases in local and regional taxes had eroded the city’s competitiveness and contributed to Multnomah County’s recent outmigration.

Rapidly escalating state taxes similarly have affected employers from Ontario to Klamath Falls, Wilhelms and Brandt wrote. So, while conditions might be particularly difficult in Portland, they’re tough all over.

Wilhelms and Brandt pointed to an Ernst & Young study commissioned by the Oregon Business & Industry Research and Education Foundation, which determined that Oregon’s state business tax burden increased a staggering 43% between 2019 and 2022. Oregon’s combined state and local business tax burden is now 8% above the national average and exceeds those in neighboring states California, Idaho and Washington.

In addition to calling for a temporary halt to new taxes, Wilhelms and Brandt urged legislators to establish a state-level version of a tax advisory group recommended by the Portland task force. The city advisory group would review local and regional taxes and recommend changes needed to maintain economic competitiveness. Creating a state-level advisory panel is not a new idea. The Legislature in 2023 considered a bill, SB 45, that would have created a task force on tax competitiveness to suggest changes that would improve the state’s business climate.

Go here to read the op-ed in full.