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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.

Unions Threaten Ballot Campaign If Lawmakers Don't Hike Corporate Taxes

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network

As Oregon lawmakers continue to debate whether to change the way the state taxes businesses, some public employee unions are threatening to take the question to voters.

It's part of a battle at the State Capitol over how to bridge a $1.4 billion budget gap.

Democratic Sen. Mark Hass closed a recent meeting of the legislature's committee on tax reform with a warning: If lawmakers and business groups can't reach a deal, the question could be decided elsewhere.

"What you're looking at here is potentially the last stop before the next ballot measure,” Has said.

A few hours after Hass made that statement, the state's largest teachers' union announced it would start gathering signatures for a pair of initiatives that would either hike corporate taxes, or make it easier for lawmakers to do so. Another public employee union kicked off a campaign to force companies to publicly disclose how much they pay in Oregon taxes.