$2 billion tax would impact agriculture

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By Oregonians for Food and Shelter,

Tuesday evening, the Joint Committee on Student Success passed a gross receipts tax generating $2 billion dedicated to education programs. This legislation has real implications for Oregon’s natural resources economy.

HB 3427 would:

– Tax Oregon receipts over $1 million at .57%
– Allow a company to subtract 35% cost inputs defined as cost of goods sold or 35% of labor cost
– Sales to wholesalers, who sell the product out of state, would be exempt

The bill is being moved forward so quickly and there has not been an opportunity to amend the bill to make the corrections necessary for Oregon’s farm, ranch and forest families. There has been a promise of separate legislation to address technical fixes. These important issues that need to be addressed before the Legislature sine dies in June.

Items needing inclusion or clarification include:

– A definition of agricultural products more inclusive than “groceries” or “SNAP-eligible” products.
– Clarification of “wholesaler” to include the full range of buyers for agriculture and timber products.
– Authority for Department of Revenue to build mechanisms other than Cost Of Goods Sold for writing down expenses against gross revenue.
– Clarity that USDA programs such as conservation, crop insurance, and market supports would not be subject to the tax.

HB 3427 is scheduled to be voted on today on the House floor. Since it came out of a joint committee, it does not need to go to a policy committee in the Senate and will likely go directly to the Senate floor.