Taxpayer advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) urges Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D) to veto massive hike on state income taxes.

WASHINGTON – He told Oregon voters that he would not raise their taxes. Yet, many Oregonian taxpayers doubted his commitment because he would not put that pledge in writing.

Now, Oregon\’s legislature passed a massive tax hike, and Oregon taxpayers face their largest tax increase in decades, to the tune of $544.6 million. To their dismay, Gov. Kulongoski is expected to sign it into law next week.

"Signing a $544 million tax hike in a state with the highest unemployment rate in the nation is like putting a gun to the Oregon economy\’s head," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) in Washington. "Kulongoski said he would not raise taxes, but he would not make that promise in writing by signing ATR\’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Just like Jim McGreevey in New Jersey, this is what happens when candidates-become-governors don\’t sign the Pledge."

The Taxpayer Protection Pledge is a written promise from candidates and elected officials to voters to "oppose and vote against all efforts to raise taxes." Currently, President George W. Bush, 216 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, 42 U.S. Senators, eight governors and over 1,200 state legislators have signed the Pledge. Unfortunately, only three out of thirty Oregon senators and five out of sixty Oregon House members have signed the Pledge, making Oregon one of America\’s least-protected states when it comes to tax increases.

"Just saying that you oppose tax hikes is not enough," continued Norquist. "New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey (D) promised he would not raise Garden State taxes, but three months into office he proposed a gargantuan tax hike. Republican governors Riley of Alabama and Guinn of Nevada said they wouldn\’t raise taxes, either, and then actively promoted some of the biggest tax hikes in their states\’ history. Oregon taxpayers and voters should insist that all of their elected officials sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, to make sure that these shenanigans don\’t happen in the future."