A business tax fairy tale

State Sen. Bill Hansell

Inconceivable! This word rang out time and time again from the lips of Vizzini when I recently watched “The Princess Bride” on DVD while riding my exercise bike off to nowhere. I had not watched this classic movie since its release in 1987, more than 30 years ago. The story was epic then, and is epic still, in my opinion.

Then on April 6, another story unfolded — unfortunately very real — which could have concluded with a happy ending, but it did not. So, what happened? With my apologies to “The Princess Bride,” let me explain it this way:

In the castles far away on the Potomac River, King Donald in his White Castle and the counts and countesses in their very large Castle on the Hill passed and signed into law tax breaks for their subjects and small businesses throughout the land. The small shop owners, located in every village, both large and small, would receive a federal tax break. It was received with great rejoicing from sea to shining sea.

But in the section of the nation governed by Princess/Governor Kate, all was not well in her Salem Castle, which she shares with the counts and countesses of OregonMyOregon, as this part of the nation is sometimes known. Princess/Governor Kate and those loyal to her did not want to give the federal tax break to the 192,000 small business owners across OregonMyOregon. Inconceivable!

The amount of gold coins these businesses could have kept in their own pockets, over the next six years, was worth $1.3 billion. Princess/Governor Kate wanted to keep the gold in the state coffers instead leaving the coins with the hardworking taxpayers who had earned it in the first place. Inconceivable!

All that needed to be done was to not connect OregonMyOregon’s tax code to the new federal one. The 2018 OregonMyOregon legislative short session provided the venue to disconnect, even though many citizens feel the short session was never intended for this type of legislation.

But rumors began to circulate during the short session in the Salem Castle. Princess/Governor Kate was not happy with her counts and countesses in the two legislative chambers. After all, it was an election year and she might be defeated in the upcoming election if this kind of legislation were to pass. The counts and countesses of her party paid little or no heed to Princess/Governor Kate, and passed SB 1528 without an affirmative vote of any of the counts and countesses of the other party. It was sent to the desk of Princess/Governor Kate. She had three choices. She could veto it, sign it, or put in her desk drawer and it would become law anyway. She had 30 days to decide. On April 6, she let the people of OregonMyOregon know she planned to sign it into law. Inconceivable!

But do not fear, good people of OregonMyOregon, the battle is not over. Besides being a bad and an unfair law for the 192,000 small business owners, Princess/Governor Kate and her supporters still have serious opposition. The battle will continue, because the counts and countesses who did not support SB 1528 do not want a bad ending to this story. The next stop is the courts. Stay tuned as this unfolds.

Many people of the land are upset, and a petition for a referendum is beginning to be circulated. Because it took Princess/Governor Kate 30 days to finally sign the bill, a month was lost to collect signatures, making it more difficult to get in on the November ballot. Princess/Governor Kate is no dummy.

Three issues the courts of the land will be asked to determine:

1. Tax laws, by law, have to begin in the House of Representatives. This bill unlawfully originated in the Senate. Notice the “SB” not “HB”, on SB 1528. Some have called it taxation without representation, and that is never a good ending to any story.

2. OregonMyOregon’s constitution requires 60 percent vote of the counts and countesses in each chamber to pass tax measures. SB 1528 never received 60 percent of the vote in any chamber. Inconceivable!

3. Some of the advisers to the ruling party advised SB 1528 was not a tax increase. Tell that to the 192,000 small businesses and shop keepers across the state. But the ruling party liked that advice and passed the bill, even though that was not the only advice offered to the discussion. The courts will be asked to determine what tax bills and issues fall under the Constitution.

One last edict Princess/Governor Kate has done is to call all the counts and countesses across OregonMyOregon to the Salem Castle in June to figure out what to do, costing $50,000 a day to conduct business. That is a fair amount of coin. Inconceivable!

“The Princess Bride” story ends happily, with Buttercup and Wesley marrying, Inigo Montoya avenging his father, and the heroes riding off on white horses. The story of SB 1528 is not over, and it has the opportunity to end much better, for there are several issues still in play.

But at the very least the governor’s race just got a whole lot more interesting.

State Senator Bill Hansell has represented Senate District 29 for the past six years. He and his wife Margaret live in Athena where he was raised on a wheat and cattle ranch.

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