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Oregon Lawmakers Unveil Business Tax Proposal

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network

Oregon lawmakers have unveiled a proposed business tax that’s meant to help bridge a $1.6 billion budget shortfall.

The new tax would be a “gross receipts tax,” and would replace the existing corporate income tax. Unlike an income tax, the gross receipts tax would be levied on a company’s overall sales, not its profits.

The proposal is the product of a behind-the-scenes work group led by Sen. Mark Hass. The Beaverton Democrat unveiled the plan to a meeting of a new legislative panel created to turn the proposal into something that's politically and economically viable.

Hass acknowledged the group has its work cut out for it.

"This is not going to be a resolution to honor a basketball team, or the state pie, or the state cake,” Has said. “This will be hard."

The proposal has some similarities to a gross receipts tax rejected by Oregon voters last fall. This one would apply to a broader range of companies, but at a lower overall rate.

One prominent business group immediately threw cold water on the proposal, calling it "a step backwards."