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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 Lawmakers Consider Changes To Mortgage Interest Deduction

Sanjib Lemar
Wikimedia -
Oregon lawmakers are considering scaling back the state's tax deduction for mortgage interest.

The mortgage interest tax deduction collectively saves Oregonians about a $500 million per year on their state income taxes. But Oregon lawmakers are considering scaling it back.

The measure under consideration would still allow the deduction for many taxpayers but would end it for higher income households.

Juan Carlos Ordonez of the Oregon Center for Public Policy testified in favor of the bill.

"The deduction is costly, inequitable and ineffective, and we need to make it a vehicle to address our statewide housing crisis,” he said.

The measure has no listed sponsors, but Democratic leaders in the Oregon House have spoken about the need to make housing more affordable. The money raised by changing the deduction would go toward affordable housing programs.

Jon Chandler of the Oregon Home Builders Association said the bill would not have the intended outcome.

"We are attempting to address the housing crisis by making it harder to buy and build housing,” he said. “That makes no sense."

The measure would not affect the mortgage interest deduction claimed on federal income taxes.