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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.

Questions Over Taxes Are Flying As The Oregon Legislature Nears Deadline

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network

The future of a possible corporate tax hike is in doubt at the Oregon Capitol after a flurry of activity Monday yielded no progress on the issue.

The joint House and Senate committee that's vetting the proposal met twice in a matter of hours and considered four separate amendments to the corporate tax bill.

Some of the amendments would tax businesses based on their annual Oregon sales, not their profits. Another amendment would scrap that proposal and instead hike the existing corporate income tax.

The tax is a potentially key component to closing a $1.4 billion state budget gap.

During a terse afternoon meeting, Republican Sen. Herman Baertschiger complained that the newest plan would hurt small business. That prompted a response from the panel's co-chair, Democratic Senator Mark Hass.

"I would encourage you, Senator Baertschiger, to offer up your own amendment. Something that you might have,” Hass said. “In the meantime, stay tuned."

And with that, Hass ended the meeting and carried the work over to another day.

Oregon lawmakers have three weeks left to wrap up their work for this year's legislative session.