The City Club of Corvallis will host two forums this week to debate measures up for vote this year. Both events are free and open to the public.
Oregon State Ballot Measure 97: Business Tax Initiative
At noon Tuesday at the Corvallis Boys & Girls Club, 111 NW Circle Ave., City Club Secretary Nick Houtman will moderate a forum on Oregon State Ballot Measure 97, known as the Oregon Business Tax Increase Initiative. If passed, this measure would raise the tax on corporate gross sales exceeding $25 million to 2.5 percent.
Current Oregon law outlines minimum tax amounts in brackets up to $100 million in sales, with no additional percentage tax on sales over $100 million. The initiative would stop the brackets at $25 million, adding a 2.5 percent tax on sales above that amount.
The initiative is expected to generate approximately $3 billion annually, according to the Oregon Secretary of State’s fiscal impact statement. The measure would not affect “benefit companies,” businesses that consider impact on society and the environment in addition to profit when making decisions. The additional revenue generated would be allocated to public early childhood and K-12 education, healthcare, and services for senior citizens.
Governor Kate Brown and many other democratic state officials, including Benton County State Representative Dan Rayfield, have voiced support for Measure 97, arguing that the measure would bring Oregon’s business tax rate in line with other states and provide much-needed funding for public services.
Opposition to Measure 97 has come primarily from the state’s Republican officials, the farming community, and business owners, including Emily Powell, the owner of Powell’s Bookstore, who argue that the measure would hurt farmers and small businesses.
Benton County Measure 2-100: Ranked-choice voting
Closer to home, Benton County has one issue up for vote in November, Measure 2-100, which proposes that the county adopt ranked-choice voting for its elections. The City Club will hold a forum on this measure at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Corvallis Public Library, 645 NW Monroe Ave. City Club President Steven J. Schultz, who is also the Advocate’s publisher, will moderate the event.
Ranked-choice voting allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference, rather than voting for a single candidate. Ranked-choice voting has been adopted in a number of U.S. jurisdictions since 2002, including San Francisco, CA. and Minneapolis, MN.
Measure 2-100 would implement ranked-choice voting for general and special elections but not primaries. If the measure passes, Benton would become the first Oregon county to adopt ranked-choice voting.
The forum will feature a number of state and county elected officials and candidates, including State Representative Dan Rayfield, who supports the initiative, and two of his opponents, independent candidate Sami Al-AbdRabbuh, a 29-year-old doctoral student at Oregon State University, and libertarian candidate Andrew Freborg, a 31-year-old Corvallis resident. Benton County Board of Commissioners Vice Chair Anne Schuster, also a ranked-choice supporter, Benton County Clerk James Morales, and Blair Bobier, a local attorney and ranked-choice proponent, will also be at the event.
Because so many state representative candidates will be in attendance, the club will also offer a general election Q&A after the forum on Ranked Choice Voting.
Doors for both events open 15 minutes before start time. Both events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit cityclubofcorvallis.org.
By Maggie Anderson