SALEM, Oregon – For the second day in a row Wednesday Republicans prevented the Oregon Senate from voting on a business tax to fund schools. Meanwhile, a highly-placed Republican tells KUMA News that GOP members of the Senate will also not be present Thursday. A decision about Friday has not yet been made.
The only business on the agenda for the Senate is a vote on the tax that would raise money for schools. Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) adjourned the session because the absence of the Republicans meant there wasn’t a quorum.
Republicans are protesting the tax because Democrats will use their supermajority to pass it without considering alternatives offered by the GOP. That party feels the proposed gross receipts tax would not all be dedicated to the classrooms, and said the state needs to find an answer to the growing unfunded liability of the Public Employees Retirement Service before a tax is even considered.
Gov. Kate Brown once again came out in support of the tax. She said that past changes in the state’s property tax laws short-changed schools, and the gross receipts levy would help fix that. She pointed out that several large businesses have said they are neutral on the tax.
“The time is now,” she said. “The economy’s doing very well throughout Oregon.”
Republicans state that schools can be helped without hurting businesses.