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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Democrats Back Away From Charity Deduction Proposal

Oregon Legislature

SALEM, Ore. – Democrats in the Oregon House are backing away from a key aspect of their budget-balancing tax measure. They’re no longer proposing to end the deduction for charitable donations for some high-income earners. The move Monday comes in the face of withering criticism from nonprofits.

The original plan would have applied only to households earning more than $250,000. Majority Democrats said it would have affected less than 3 percent of Oregon taxpayers. But nonprofits complained that those taxpayers are the ones with the ability to make bigger donations.

House Speaker Tina Kotek says backing away from that idea makes the Democrats' tax package more politically palatable.

"I think it helps everyone here in the building to take that vote, because we all have charities and nonprofits in our districts, and there's a real value in supporting those organizations," Kotek says. "So we listened, and we're making adjustments so we can have a package that can be more supported in everybody's district."

Kotek says the shift will mean budget-writers will have to come up with an additional $64 million in revenue for the next two-year budget. She says that will likely come through a targeted corporate tax hike.

Republicans said they won't support the plan, with or without the change.