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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.

Oregon Governor Has Ideas For How To Spend Revenue If Tax Hike Passes

Office of the Governor
Oregon Governor's Office
File photo. Oregon Governor Kate Brown has released a plan on how she'd use money from a potential corporate tax increase.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown released a plan Thursday on how she'd use money from a potential corporate tax increase. The increase would come from a ballot initiative if voters approve it this fall.

Brown didn’t say she supports it. But in her plan she said she wants to create a fund to pay for career and technical high school education. She'd also expand a tax credit for low income families and offer tax breaks to companies that keep jobs in Oregon despite having to pay the tax.

The initiative would increases tax on corporations that have more than $25 million of sales in Oregon. The increase would generate an additional $6 billion for the upcoming budget cycle, according to legislative analysts.

Business groups say the plan would drive jobs out of Oregon and that companies would pass the extra taxes on to consumers. Supporters, including public employee unions, say it's a way to generate much-needed revenue for state programs.

The initiative specifies that the money generated goes to fund education, health care and services for senior citizens. Brown's proposal would alter that somewhat and would require legislative approval.

A business-funded group that opposes the initiative issued a statement that didn't directly criticize the governor's proposal. But spokeswoman Rebecca Tweed said that "even if all of these proposed changes were to be adopted, the bulk of the costs of IP 28 would be passed on to Oregon consumers in higher prices for nearly everything they buy."

Sponsors of the petition submitted more than 120,000 signatures last month in order to qualify the initiative for the November ballot. A total of 88,184 valid signatures are needed. The Oregon Secretary of State's office said it will begin the process of verifying those signatures Friday.