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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 House Narrowly Passes Measure To Scale Back Tax Break

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network
The top of the Oregon Capitol building.

The Oregon House has narrowly passed a measure meant to scale back a tax break intended for small businesses. The measure cleared the chamber Friday over the strong objections of Republicans.

The tax incentive was created four years ago as a way to stimulate small-business growth. But Democrats, including Revenue Committee Chairman Phil Barnhart, said it disproportionately benefits doctors and lawyers.

"It's hard to see why wealthy professionals should get a tax deal that working people can't get," Barnhart said.

He said the tax break was rewritten in a way that would protect the kind of small businesses it was meant to help.

But Republicans, including Carl Wilson disagreed. Wilson said the measure would harm far more than wealthy entrepreneurs.

"You're going to be surprised at how many of those people you know in your district, except they wear jeans and t-shirts and boots," he said.

The measure was approved with the bare minimum of votes needed for passage. It now heads to the Oregon Senate.