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Democrats advance tax increase on simple majority vote, setting up potential legal battle


OREGON HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE  

 

Democrats advance tax increase on simple majority vote, setting up potential legal battle

 

Salem, Ore. – House Democrats today advanced a Senate Bill that will raise over $28 million dollars of new revenue on a simple majority vote. Republicans argued the bill represented an end-run on the Oregon Constitution because it did not receive the supermajority vote required for revenue raising bills and did not originate in the House, which is also a requirement for revenue raising bills.

 

In opposing the bill, House Republicans pointed to Article IV Section 18 of the Oregon Constitution, which states:

 

“Bills may originate in either house, but may be amended, or rejected in the other; except that bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.

 

Republicans also cited Article IV Section 25 of the Oregon Constitution, which reads:

 

(2) Three-fifths of all members elected to each House shall be necessary to pass bills for raising revenue.

 

“When I read the language of the Oregon Constitution, it seems pretty clear. If lawmakers want to raise revenue, the bill must originate in the House and must be passed by a supermajority in both chambers of the Legislature. SB 28 fails to meet both of those requirements. I swore an oath to uphold the Oregon Constitution, even when it might be inconvenient. I am not willing to risk violating that oath by supporting this bill,” said House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte).

 

According a revenue impact statement issued by the Legislative Revenue Office, SB 28 will raise $5.5 million in the 2017-19 biennium, $11.1 million in 2019-21 and 11.7 million in 2021-23.

 

SB 28 passed the Senate on a 17-13 vote, one shy of what is needed for a supermajority. The bill passed the House by a vote of 34-23, two short of the needed requirement. The circumstances surrounding the bill’s passage could result in a potentially precedent setting legal battle.

 

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