Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Oregon voters approve measures to tax the rich

I wrote this post on Oregon voters were considering a couple of measures to tax the rich a couple of days ago. Well, the votes are in. This is from the Oregon, via Americablog:

Oregon voters bucked decades of anti-tax and anti-Salem sentiment Tuesday, raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy to prevent further erosion of public schools and other state services.

The tax measures passed easily, with late returns showing a 54 percent to 46 percent ratio. Measure 66 raises taxes on households with taxable income above $250,000, and Measure 67 sets higher minimum taxes on corporations and increases the tax rate on upper-level profits.

The results triggered waves of relief from educators and legislative leaders, who were facing an estimated $727 million shortfall in the current two-year budget if the measures failed.

"We're absolutely ecstatic," said Hanna Vandering, a physical education teacher from Beaverton and vice president of the statewide teachers union. "What Oregonians said today is they believe in public education and vital services."

The double-barreled victory is the first voter-approved statewide income tax increase since the 1930s. Other states, facing similar budget woes, are watching the outcome closely because Oregon, after all, is a state that capped property taxes and locked a surplus tax rebate program into the constitution.

I'm still thinking that the Oregon measures are the result of some serious populist anger against the established interests. I think these voters are getting angry over the unfairness, corruption, cronyism that is taking place between corporate interests, politicians, government, Wall Street, the ubber-rich--list your points here. It is a general, growing, anger at the direction this country is heading, and at how the voters feel like they're getting screwed on Main Street. And this anger is on both sides of the political spectrum--look at the Tea Party movement that could be threatening to push the Republican Party even further rightward. It is fascinating to watch.

Going back to the Americablog posting, there is an interesting political context link from MyDD's Jonathan Singer:

After the Beltway elite read the results of the special Senate election in Massachusetts last week as an indication of conservatism on the rise, Oregon voters clarified the message: It's not conservatism, but rather populism that is on the rise.


The message out of Oregon, like the message out of Massachusetts, is resonating: Voters are in a populist mood right now -- not an anti-government one, necessarily, but a populist one nevertheless. The progressive brand of populism that resonated with Oregonians this month is slightly different than the one that rang true in Massachusetts. Yet the message is just as clear.

The real question now is whether DC will listen, or if instead it will continue to cling to its common wisdom.

Singer calls it populism, which is probably a better term than my voter anger. Still, the message is clear--voters do not like what is going on in government. And they're willing to knock out Democrats or Republicans that are unwilling to listen to their demands.


gman said...

come on people no comments. must be a lot of people on some type of social care out there. i hope all those who make that kind of money(i dont make near that) move out from the state like they are doing in california. we should all pay the same rate. its the corrporate corrupt that dont pay there share let alone the politicians who live off your sweat.

Eric A Hopp said...

Thank you for your comment, although I'm not sure what you're talking about here. Are you saying that the rich should move out of Oregon and California, or that we should all pay the same tax rate? Are you asking for a flat tax, not a progressive tax? Are you angry at the corporations because they've bought the politicians, corrupting the political process? That is sort of strange, considering that the Oregon voters approved measures for increasing taxes on the corporations, even in the face of strong opposition by that same "corporate corrupt."

There is a lot more here in this special election than socking taxes to the rich or corporations. People are angry at how screwed up the system is, and they are hungry for government that will fix the serious problems in this country. If government fails, then you're going to see a lot of incumbent politicians out of a job, and potentially more measures, like these two in Oregon, coming up for a vote in other states.