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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.

Legislators Negotiate For Oregon Tax Deal

M.O. Stevens
Wikimedia -

In Salem, details of a possible tax deal are emerging from the Oregon Legislature.

Two Republican lawmakers outlined a series of tax hikes they'd be willing to support during an Oregon Senate committee hearing Thursday. These include a small increase in the cigarette tax, a cap on personal income tax deductions and a hike in the tax rate for some larger corporations.

In exchange, the GOP wants a lower tax rate that would benefit a lot of small businesses.

The proposal won immediate praise from some business groups.

"We see this tax bill as having the potential to grow business, grow the economy, grow jobs, and help Oregon," said Jan Meekcoms, a lobbyist for the Oregon chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business. "It's not perfect, but there are so many elements of it that are positive, that we can be enthused about."

The tax package is projected to bring in an additional $200 million for state coffers.

It's not clear whether the deal has legs in Salem. Some Democrats say it unduly benefits wealthier taxpayers who own a small business. Lawmakers are separately working toward an agreement on whether to make additional cuts in the state's public pension system.