The Beaver state usually passes groundbreaking laws with each legislative session, and this year was no exception.
On a bipartisan basis, Senate Bill 1 was approved by the Oregon House and Senate and is now sitting on the governor’s desk. Starting with the 2025 filing year, for 2024 taxes, it mandates that the Department of Revenue add a voluntary race, ethnicity, and disability identity question on Oregon’s tax filing forms.
The department would compile the aggregate statistics that may be utilized to comprehend how various races and ethnicities are impacted by Oregon’s tax laws on a statewide level.
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“We have spent decades and many billions of dollars in Oregon on hundreds of tax expenditures, tax credits, and deductions that have helped a lot of people and have subsidized a lot of people who maybe didn’t need the help,” said Daniel Houser, deputy director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy, which collaborated on the bill’s drafting.
We’ve known for years that there are income and wealth gaps, but we weren’t aware of how those gaps also hurt and undermined efforts to advance racial fairness in Oregon.
The bill had previously been proposed once. During the brief legislative session in 2022, an attempt was made to pass it, but it was not successful in leaving Ways and Means before the session ended.
The tweet below confirms the news:
Sen. Rob Wagner, a Democrat from Lake Oswego, introduced the bill for a final Senate vote on June 20. “I have been working on this concept for three years, and I believe it is critical to be able to create a more equitable tax system that lifts all Oregonians,” said Sen. Wagner.
Despite the fact that no Republicans in the House or Senate supported the resolution, only Sen. Fred Girod, R-Stayton, provided an explanation for his vote.
This seems like a bill that really is nondescript, if you will. However, the more information that government has, I have to tell you, we are very poor at protecting confidential information,” he said. “The information isn’t critical, and the state is extremely poor at protecting confidential information.”
The Department of Revenue will receive $470,724 for the 2023–25 fiscal year, which will be used for data collection and submitting yearly reports to the Legislature.
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A few people from Salem stated they would disclose their race and ethnicity while filing their taxes and supported the initiative.
“I think it’s a great idea for people to have the option to put what their race is,” said Wani Torklesno a West Salem resident. “I think it is useful information so they can see who is benefiting more from tax (breaks).”
“I would hope that they would use the information if the taxes were impacting minorities in a negative way to make it so that is not the case,” said Salem resident Kirsten Mendel.
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