Oregon voters will have opportunity to "recall" tax hike implemented over the summer

WASHINGTON – California governors were angry enough to recall a sitting governor for the first time in America in the past 100 years. Alabama voters overwhelmingly voted down a massive tax hike proposed by their governor. All of which begs the question: Is this a national trend and will Oregon\’s recent tax hike and Gov. Ted Kulongoski be the next heads to roll?

The Oregon State Legislature passed an $800 million tax increase in July to cover a budget shortfall, but the tax hike may not last very long. A provision in the state constitution allows voters to repeal tax increases through a referendum initiative if enough signatures can be gathered to force that referendum. Taxpayer activists and advocates have until November 25 to collect 50,420 signatures from registered voters to block the increases and refer the issue to a special February 3 election.

"What we saw in Alabama last month and in California last night is the portent of a much greater anti-tax trend across the country," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) in Washington, DC. "Oregon voters have a wonderful opportunity to \’recall\’ the tax increase and tell their state government to get their budget in order and stop punishing taxpayers with higher taxes."

A Democrat effort, 100% of House Democrats voted for the tax hike and all but one state Senate Democrat, Tony Corcoran, voted for the measure as well. Similarly, House Democrats said the $800 million tax increase was a compromise, though they did not specify just how much more of an increase they would have liked. Yet, the tax hike would not have passed, had a number of Republican lawmakers not voted for the tax hike. The bill raises $800 million over three years from an income tax surcharge, higher business taxes, and the elimination of tax breaks and deductions.

Meanwhile, an August 28 survey shows that 55% of voters support overturning the tax increase while 35% oppose doing so; 10% were undecided.

"If politicians thought an $800 million tax hike was a compromise, one shudders to think how much they really wanted," continued Norquist. "The tax-and-spend strategy in Oregon and across the country seems is angering voters to an extent not seen since the late 1970s. "