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Government and Politics
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.

Tax Measures Blasted, Praised At Legislative Hearing

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Chris Phan
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Flickr - tinyurl.com/juowxrh

Oregon lawmakers will convene Monday for a special session on taxes and public pensions. The subject of debate at a hearing Friday was the series of tax cuts and increases.

It was one of those hearings where so many people signed up to speak, that everybody had to make their point quickly.

"This tax cut will provide the vast bulk of its benefits to the wealthiest members of the state with little or no payoff to the rest of its citizens," said self-described Portland entrepreneur John Calhoun, testifying against the tax cuts included in the agreement.

Others welcomed the proposal, which would also raise more than $240 million in new revenue. Ryan Deckert of the Oregon Business Association praised legislative leaders.

"You're making a huge difference for Oregon classrooms, universities, and making a tough decision," he said. "And for that, we really do, we applaud you."

The package would also cut cost of living increases for some retired public employees. It's still not clear whether there are enough yes votes to pass the series of bills.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber says he'll only sign the special session measures if all of them reach his desk.

On the Web:

Special Session information - Oregon Legislature