EUGENE, Ore. – Two advocates went head-to-head in a debate on Friday, taking a stance either for and against Measure 97.
The debate took place at the University of Oregon’s Baker Downtown Center.
If passed, Measure 97 would impose a 2.5 percent tax on “C” corporations with more than $25 million in Oregon sales. Advocate Chuck Sheketoff said they are targeting big corporations like Walmart and Comcast.
He added that by law the measure will divert new revenues to fund education, health care, and senior services.
Paul Nicholson, against the measure, argues that the measure is too vague and there is no way to ensure the public that the legislature will fund the issues outline.
“They are going to be the ones who draft the statue and they can amend it at any time, so I don’t see as much as a guarantee that the money will be used for those purposes,” said Nicholson.
Sheketoff said 80 percent of the spending today is on education, health care, and senior services and he’s confident the legislature will abide by the measure.
Nichloson disputed that if the measure is passed it will hurt small business and families. He said research shows families could pay up to $600 a year on local tax.
“This isn’t a sales tax. It’s not going to get passed on. It’s only for sales above 25 million, so a company that sells 26 million will probably pay an extra $25,000 in sales. They’re not going to pass that on to consumers,” said Sheketoff.
After questioning each advocate several people said they walked away with more clarity on the measure and the pro’s and con’s of it.
According to experts, Measure 97 could be the most expensive political battle in history with roughly $3 billion a year in new taxes at stake if the measure is passed.