Paul Greenberg

Thank you, Oregon voters, for doing your best to boost the fortunes of all the rest of us out here in the good old, investment-hungry U.S. of A.

Surely you were moved by nothing more than generosity of spirit when you raised taxes on business in order to create a happy hunting ground for industry-hunters elsewhere. But the cynic in me suspects it was just class warfare. Or maybe economic illiteracy in action. It's not always easy to tell the difference between the two.

For whatever reason, Oregon has just raised its taxes, and how, on its employers, investors and rich folks in general. You know, the people who employ the rest of us, who invest in things like power plants and wind turbines and widget factories. They're about to get hit hard by Oregon's new tax structure.

Oregon's top income rate has just jumped from 9 to 11 percent, and its corporate rate from 6.6 to 7.9 percent. Taxes and fees on many small businesses have been doubled. That'll teach all those plutocrats, not to mention moms-and-pops who run family businesses, to go on hiring and investing. What a brilliant move -- at least if the goal is to drive industries out of Oregon.

At least one class will benefit by these new and higher taxes on the entrepreneurial: all the tax collectors who work for state government. Not to mention that state's tax accountants, who'll be needed to help businesses keep up with all the changes and new paperwork.

Game Change FREE

The number and salaries of government bureaucrats in Oregon should multiply as tax revenues increase -- for a while. That is, until business and industry begin to relocate to more hospitable locales. This vote to raise taxes may not help Oregon, but it could do a lot for other states. Especially those who already have started courting Oregon's plants and business headquarters.

To quote Mayor Daley the Second of Chicago -- the mayor of Chicago is always named Daley, it's a standing rule -- Oregon's decision to raise taxes across the board "will help our economic development immediately. You'd better believe it. We'll be out in Oregon enticing corporations to relocate to Chicago." That toddlin' town doesn't miss a chance.


Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.