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Tax Facts That Matter: 2014 Edition

Who pays more, low- or high-income households?

The income group in Oregon who pays the highest share of their income to state and local taxes: Lowest-income households.[1]

The income group in Oregon who pays the lowest share of their income to state and local taxes: Highest-income households.[2]

Have taxes increased as a share of Oregonians’ income?

Oregon state and local general revenue as a share of income in 1991: 15.8 percent.[3]

Oregon state and local general revenue as a share of income in 2011: 15.5 percent.[4]


How much do working poor Oregonians pay in Oregon income taxes?

2011 federal poverty threshold for a family of four: $23,018.[5]

Of the 42 states with income taxes, the number that taxed the income of a family of four living at the poverty line in 2011: 15.[6]

State income tax paid in Oregon by a family of four living at the poverty line in 2011: $274.[7]

Oregon’s rank in taxing the income of a family of four living at the poverty line in 2011: 4th highest.[8]

What share of income goes to the top 1 percent?

Share of income going to Oregon’s top 1 percent in 2012: 15.9 percent.[9]

Share of income going to Oregon’s bottom 40 percent in 2012: 7.6 percent.[10]

What share of capital gains income goes to top 1 percent?

Share of income from capital gains going to Oregon’s top 1 percent in 2012: 72 percent.[11]

Share of income from capital gains going to Oregon’s bottom 95 percent in 2012: 13 percent.[12]

How do lottery and income tax revenues compare?

Anticipated state revenue from personal income taxes in 2013-15: $13.772 billion.[13]

Anticipated state revenue from the Oregon Lottery in 2013-15: $1.048 billion.[14]

Anticipated state revenue from corporate income taxes in 2013-15: $1.006 billion.[15]

Do corporations pay a fair share of income taxes?

Share of Oregon income taxes paid by corporations in 1973-75: 18.5 percent.[16]

Share of Oregon income taxes corporations are projected to pay in 2013-15:6.8 percent.[17]

Additional state revenue available in 2013-15 for schools, health and human services and public safety if corporations paid the same share of the state’s income taxes they paid in 1973-75: $2.1 billion.[18]

What it would cost for the state to pay four years of tuition and fees at the University of Oregon for every Oregon high school student graduating this year: About $1.7 billion.[19]

Do some profitable corporations pay nothing in income taxes?

Number of profitable corporations doing business in Oregon that paid the corporate minimum tax in tax year 2011: 3,550.[20]

Number of corporations with Oregon profits that used tax credits to reduce their 2011 tax liability below the corporate minimum tax: 38.[21]

Number of corporations with Oregon profits that paid nothing in Oregon corporate income taxes for tax year 2011: At least 24.[22]

Number of corporations with over $5 million in Oregon profits that paid nothing in Oregon corporate income taxes for tax year 2011: 8.*[23]

Name of the problem that allows profitable corporations to avoid the corporate minimum tax: The Con-way loophole.[24]

The names of corporations that paid nothing in corporate income taxes that support the public structures that create a strong business climate: The legislature has yet to make this public.

Who itemizes deductions and who uses the standard deduction?

Share of all Oregonians who itemized their deductions 2012: 49 percent.[25]

Share of all Oregonians who use standard deduction 2012: 51 percent.[26]

Share of all Oregonians earning $100,000 or less in 2012 who itemized: 42 percent.[27]

Share of all Oregonians earning $100,000 or less in 2012 who used standard deduction: 58 percent.[28]

Share of all Oregon’s wealthiest 1 percent who itemized in 2012: 98 percent.[29]

Who benefits from the mortgage interest deduction?

Projected cost of the Oregon mortgage interest deduction in 2013-15: $1.3 billion.[30]

Share of the mortgage interest deduction benefit going to the highest-earning 20 percent of Oregonians in 2009: 60 percent.[31]

Who benefits from the tax subsidy enacted during the September 2013 special session?

Projected cost in the next budget period of the 2013 special session tax subsidy allegedly for “small business owners:” $205 million.[32]

Share of Oregon taxpayers benefiting from the subsidy: About 6 percent.[33]

Share of the subsidy going to the top 1 percent: About 85 percent.[34]

Number of millionaire business owners sharing an estimated $10.6 million from the subsidy: 257.[35]

Average tax savings from tax subsidy for member of the top 1 percent getting the subsidy: About $6,011.[36]

Who benefits from the Oregon EITC?

Projected 2015-17 cost of the Oregon Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): $100 million.[37]

Share of Oregon taxpayers benefiting from the Oregon EITC: About 16 percent.[38]

Share of the benefits of the EITC going to low- to middle-income Oregonians: 99.9 percent.[39]

Share of the benefit of the EITC going to the top 1 percent: Zero percent.[40]

Average benefit of the EITC per working family that received the credit in 2012: $123.[41]

How has Oregon’s economy performed since voters raised taxes on the wealthy and corporations?

Year that Oregonians enacted Measures 66 and 67, increasing taxes on high-income households and profitable corporations: 2010.

Among all states, Oregon’s rank in economic growth (measured by gross state product) for 2010 through 2012: 3rd highest.[42]

- See more at:

Oregon Center for Public Policy

News Release
April 8, 2015 
For more information contact:  


  • Chuck Sheketoff, (503) 873-1201
  • Juan Carlos Ordóñez, (503) 310-7138 
Oregon Small Businesses Can Thrive With a Higher Minimum Wage
Study finds past wage hikes have not dampened small business growth
Raising Oregon's minimum wage to $15 per hour could boost the bottom line of small businesses, a sector that has enjoyed growth even after substantial wage hikes over the years. That's according a new study by the Oregon Center for Public Policy.
"History shows that the small business sector can thrive following an increase to the state minimum wage," said the Center's executive director, Chuck Sheketoff.

The legislature is considering a bill that would raise Oregon's minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2018, up from the current $9.25 per hour. HB 2009 would phase in the increase in three steps.

When fully phased in, the increase would directly raise wages for an estimated 589,000 workers, according to the Center. Some additional workers already earning above $15 per hour would also see their wages rise, according to the Center. Over the three years, lower-income workers directly and indirectly affected would gain about $3.2 billion in added wages.

"More money in the pockets of workers means more customers for small businesses all across the state," Sheketoff said.

Minimum wage increases over the years have not held back Oregon's small business sector, according to the study. Oregon raised the minimum wage three times from 1989 to 2002, not counting the annual inflation adjustments that began in 2004. The 1989 legislature enacted a phased increase that resulted in a 42 percent hike in Oregon's minimum wage by January 1, 1991.

The $15 proposal pending before the legislature would similarly increase the minimum wage over the first two years (43 percent), according to the Center's calculations. Over the entire three-year phase-in, Oregon's minimum wage would go up a total of 62 percent.

Voters by initiative increased the minimum wage two other times, in 1996 and 2002.

From 1988 to 2007, before the start of the Great Recession, the number of small businesses and small business jobs in Oregon grew by more than a third, the Center's study noted. The growth was mostly uninterrupted, with "contractions seemingly tied to the business cycle, not to minimum wage increases."

One of the ways in which businesses adjust to higher minimum wages is through increased worker productivity, the study said.

"When you pay your workers more, they tend to stick around longer and go the extra mile for the business," said Sheketoff. "Lower turnover and better productivity means savings for the owners."

While the impact of a higher minimum wage on small businesses draws a great deal of attention, Sheketoff noted that most of the jobs in Oregon currently paying less than $15 are with "larger businesses." The Center's study explained that there is no standard definition of "small business." That said, the study found that about 52 percent of the jobs paying under $15 per hour are jobs with businesses with 100 or more employees, and another 10 percent are with businesses with 50 to 99 employees.

"An increase in the minimum wage is good for workers, good for small businesses and good for Oregon," Sheketoff concluded.

The Oregon Center for Public Policy is a non-partisan, non-profit institute that does in-depth research and analysis on budget, tax and economic issues. The Center's goal is to improve decision making and generate more opportunities for all Oregonians.

- 30 -


Read a copy of this news release here.

Profitable Corporations Pay No Oregon Income Taxes
State corporate income tax avoidance spans the nation


Some highly profitable corporations are finding ways to avoid paying any state income taxes, Oregon and national data show.
At least 24 corporations that made a profit in Oregon in 2011, including eight with profits of over $5 million, paid no Oregon income taxes for that year, according to the Oregon Center for Public Policy's review of the most recent Oregon Department of Revenue data.
In total, 38 profitable corporations paid less than Oregon's corporate minimum tax for tax year 2011, said Jason Gettel, policy analyst with the Silverton-based think tank. The corporate minimum tax increased from $10 to a sliding scale ranging from $150 to $100,000 when voters approved Measure 67 in 2010.
Meanwhile, a national report released today found that, when adding up the income taxes paid to all states, 90 profitable Fortune 500 companies paid no state income taxes in at least one recent year....


Read a copy of this news release here (HTML) or here (PDF).
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