Oregon Political Tax Credit

By making a contribution to Promote Oregon Leadership PAC or any House Republican candidate, you could be eligible for the Oregon Political Tax Credit. This means you can reduce your taxes while helping House Republicans deliver their pro-jobs, pro-reform message to voters.

If you donate $50 (or $100 for a couple), you will be able to take a dollar-for-dollar credit on your income taxes for the tax year when you made the contribution. Think of it this way: If you make a $100 contribution to Promote Oregon Leadership PAC in 2012 and, after doing your taxes, discover you owe the government $100, you can then apply your Political Tax Credit for the 2012 tax year – and owe the government nothing.

Oregon Political Tax Credit- Frequently Asked Questions
Source: Oregon Department of Revenue; consult a tax or accounting professional for more information.

Who can claim the credit?
To qualify, you must have contributed money in the year you claim the credit. You must reduce the amount of your contribution by the fair market value (FMV) of any item(s) or service(s) you receive in exchange for your contribution. Contributions of goods or services do not qualify. Keep receipts from the candidate or organization with your tax records. You can use copies of canceled checks as your receipt.

How much is the credit?
Your credit is equal to your contribution, but limited to $100 on a joint return or $50 on a single or separate return.

Partners or S corporation shareholders can claim a credit for their share of political contributions made by the partnership or S corporation. The contribution must meet the statutory requirements. The $50 and $100 limits apply individually to each partner’s or shareholder’s return.

No carryforward. The credit cannot be more than your tax liability for Oregon. Any credit not used this year is lost.

Which contributions qualify?
Candidates and their principal campaign committees. You can claim a credit for a contribution to a candidate for federal, state, or local elective office, or to the candidate’s principal campaign committee. To qualify, at least one of the following must occur in Oregon the same calendar year you made your contribution:

• The candidate’s name must be listed on a primary, general, or special election ballot,
• A prospective petition of nomination must be filed by or for the candidate,
• A declaration of candidacy must be filed by or for the candidate,
• A certificate of nomination must be filed by or for the candidate,
• A designation of a principal campaign committee must be filed with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office. Note: The designation must be made in each year a contribution is made to qualify under this provision.

Political action committees. You can claim a credit for contributions to political action committees (PACs). The organization must have certified the name of its political treasurer with the appropriate filing officer, usually the Secretary of State for statewide or regional elections, your county clerk for county elections, or your city recorder for city elections. PACs registered with the Federal Elections Commission may not be required to register in Oregon.

Political parties. Political parties can be national, state, or local committees of major political parties. Oregon also allows a tax credit for contributions made to minor political parties that qualify under state law. Contact the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office in Salem at 503-986-1518 to see if a particular party qualifies.

Newsletter fund—credit not allowed. Oregon does not allow a credit for contributions made to a newsletter fund.

Example 1: Holly contributes $275 for a fund-raising dinner for a presidential candidate. The FMV of the dinner was $35. Holly’s political contribution is $240. She must reduce her $275 contribution by the $35 FMV of the dinner she received. Being single, Holly’s political contribution credit is limited to $50.

Example 2: Burt donated a desk, chair, and a four-drawer file cabinet to his favorite political action committee (PAC) headquarters. The FMV of the furniture is $410. Burt has a written receipt from the PAC. He cannot claim a political contribution credit because he didn’t contribute money to the PAC. His contribution of office furniture does not qualify for the credit.

Dan Mason Announces Candidacy for Oregon House of Representatives

BEAVERTON—Dan Mason today announced his campaign for State Representative in House District 34. Mason, a community housing specialist and volunteer, says he’s running to help create jobs and strengthen public education in Oregon.

“Our community is a great place to live, work and raise a family, but we can do better,” said Mason, a Republican. “Too many of our friends and neighbors are suffering during this economic crisis, and too many of our kids aren’t receiving the education they need to succeed. I’m running for the Oregon House of Representatives to work across the aisle and offer new solutions to the challenges we’re facing.”

Mason is community manager with Prime Group, which provides housing to thousands of residents in the Tanasbourne area. Born and raised in Klamath Falls, he resided in rural Eastern and Southern Oregon before starting his career in the Metro area. Through the Prime Group, Mason is active in Oregon Food Bank and Toys for Tots programs and is involved with the Metro Multifamily Housing Association. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Emerging Leaders for Oregon, a non-profit that encourages 20-40 year olds to actively engage with and improve their communities, businesses, and government.

Mason, a third generation Oregonian, says his work and life experience has prepared him to serve his community in the Oregon House. In addition to being a strong advocate for Washington County, he said he can help bridge the rural-urban divide that typically prevents problem-solving in Salem.

“I’m uniquely qualified to promote affordable housing in Oregon, and part of my job includes managing a large budget and training, mentoring and motivating people in my community,” Mason said. “As State Representative I’ll work to bring Oregonians together to address our high unemployment and protect our essential services. I look forward to engaging House District 34 voters and offering new leadership in Salem.”

Mason is running for the newly-reconfigured House District 34, which after redistricting includes the Cedar Hills, West Haven-Sylvan, West Slope, and Rock Creek communities.

2011-13 Budget By the Numbers

$0 Amount in tax increases passed by the 2011 Legislature.

$57.82 billion Oregon’s 2011-13 Total Funds budget.

-7.1 percent Percentage decrease in Total Funds budget compared to the 2009-11 Total Funds budget. This is the first biennial decline in the total funds budget since the 1981-83 biennium.

$14.62 billion 2011-13 General Fund/Lottery Fund budget.

7.5 percent Percentage increase in General Fund/Lottery Fund budget compared to 2009-11 General Fund/Lottery Fund budget. Spending is within projected revenue growth.

$28.8 billion 2011-13 Other Funds budget. Other Funds include revenue from licenses and fees, charges for service fines, and other non-GF/LF revenue received by state agencies for specific purposes.

-6.8 percent Percentage decrease in Other Funds expenditures compared to 2009-11 Other Funds budget.

$460 million Reserves in 2011-13 budget prior to the September 2011 forecast. These substantial reserves include a $150 million ending balance, plus an additional $310 million “supplemental ending balance” that was held back from state agencies’ GF/LF budgets.

50,531 The number of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions in the 2011-13 budget.

-2.1 percent Percentage decrease in FTEs compared to the 2009-11 budget. The number of state positions has declined for the first time since at least the mid-1990s.

534 The number of vacant but previously funded positions that were cut from the budget.

-96 percent Percentage drop in state fee increases authorized by the 2011 Legislature ($12.2M) compared to increases authorized by the 2009 Legislature ($330.9M).

-85.7 percent Percentage decrease in General Fund debt authorized by the Legislature. The 2009 Legislature authorized $984.5 million in GF debt, and the 2011 Legislature authorized $140.6 million in GF debt.

Source: Legislative Fiscal Office’s Highlights of the 2011-13 Legislatively Adopted Budget

Mid-Valley Republican Legislators File for Re-Election

SALEM-Six Mid-Valley Republican legislators today filed paperwork with the Secretary of State to run for re-election in 2012. As the state’s filing period begins, the Republicans say they’re prepared to campaign on improving Oregon’s economy and putting people back to work.

Sen. Fred Girod (R-Stayton) is seeking his second term representing Senate District 9 in the Oregon Senate.
“It is a privilege to serve as a voice for Oregon’s rural families and small businesses in the State Senate,” said Girod. “I will continue to champion the cause of Oregon’s entrepreneurs and those struggling to find a job to pay the bills. Oregon should be a place where families can thrive and succeed, and that means getting the economy back on track. I will continue to fight for these shared values as your State Senator.”

Rep. Kevin Cameron (R-Salem), the House Republican Leader, is seeking his fifth term representing House District 19 in the Oregon House.
“It’s an honor to represent the citizens of House District 19 in the Oregon House,” Rep. Cameron said. “I’m running for re-election because Oregonians continue to suffer from high unemployment and a lack of opportunities. As a small business owner and experienced lawmaker, I’ll continue to offer new solutions to help put people back to work.”

Rep. Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer, Newberg and St. Paul) is seeking her fifth term representing House District 25 in the Oregon House. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Joint Legislative Audits, Information Management and Technology Committee.
“Tens of thousands of Oregonians are still struggling to find a job and feed their families,” Rep. Thatcher said. “It’s vital that we provide leadership to encourage job growth in the private sector. I have been able to make positive changes while in the legislature but there is much yet to do and I will continue working hard to unchain Oregon’s economy.”

Rep. Vic Gilliam (R-Silverton) is seeking his fourth term representing House District 18 in the Oregon House. He is the Co-Chair of the House Energy, Environment and Water Committee and the Co-Chair of the House Human Services Committee.
“Finding ways to get Oregon and Oregonians back to work is my number one priority,” Rep. Gilliam said. “I’m running for re-election because the Legislature should support small and large businesses by encouraging growth, streamlining regulations and restrictions, lowering, not raising taxes and doing all we can to get out of the way of lasting job creation.”

Rep. Sherrie Sprenger (R-Scio) is seeking her fourth term representing House District 17 in the Oregon House. In addition to serving on a key natural resource committee, she is co-chair of the budget-writing Ways and Means Education Subcommittee.
“As State Representative, I’ll continue to promote the responsible management of our natural resources as a way to provide family-wage jobs for our district and all of rural Oregon,” Rep. Sprenger said. “I will continue to roll up my sleeves and work with my constituents on realistic solutions for improving the economy in our rural communities.”

Rep. Jim Thompson (R-Dallas) is seeking his third term representing House District 23 in the Oregon House. He is Co-Chair of the House Health Care Committee.
“As our economy struggles, we need to remember that government does not create jobs,” Rep. Thompson said. “Government’s role is to support workers and employers by doing its part to keep them competitive in a changing world. As State Representative, I’ll continue efforts to reform and create a regulatory structure that rewards hard work and innovation.”

Budget, Education Reforms Highlight Historic 2011 Session

Republicans Accomplish Key Priorities on Job Creation

SALEM— As the 2011 session adjourns, House Republicans said they were successful in restraining government spending and passing major reforms to Oregon’s education system.  Republicans also won passage of measures to incentivize private sector job creation and to streamline approval of certain economic development projects.

“House Republicans slowed the growth in state spending, and helped our private sector create more jobs,” said House Republican Leader Kevin Cameron (R-Salem). “As a result, this Legislature didn’t raise taxes and we approved the most fiscally-sustainable budget in years.  We’ve temporarily ended the Legislature’s hostility toward Oregon business, and passed several measures that will help put people back to work.”

Republicans say this year offered the most successful session on education reform in decades, including measures to promote school choice and to support innovative public schools across the state.  House Republicans also pushed to fund schools first by making the K-12 budget the first to be passed this session, and supported adding $25 million in supplemental education funding as part of the reform package.

“Education reform is a signature accomplishment for this session,” said Deputy Republican Leader Matt Wingard (R-Wilsonville). “These reforms will allow parents to seek better educational opportunities for their children, and will shift education policies and spending toward improving outcomes for all students.”

Earlier in the session, House Republicans successfully passed legislation to allow Oregon businesses and citizens to benefit from federal job creation tax benefits in 2011. Republicans also achieved key priorities such as extending Oregon’s successful enterprise zone program, launching the Oregon Low Income Community Jobs Initiative, and passing bills such as HB 2700 to expedite permitting for linear infrastructure projects.

“While this assembly should have done more on the economy, we’re proud of our accomplishments to promote job creation in our state,” said Republican Whip Tim Freeman (R-Roseburg). “In addition to allowing more businesses to invest in Oregon, we stopped additional job-killing taxes and mandates that would have stifled our economic recovery.”

House Republicans worked with Democrats to develop and approve the first legislative and congressional redistricting plans in decades.  While the plans were developed through bipartisan negotiation, Republicans still believe an independent commission is needed to redraw legislative and congressional boundaries in the future.

“Redistricting is often considered the most partisan issue the Legislature can undertake, but we got it done through bipartisan discussion and compromise,” said Rep. Shawn Lindsay (R-Hillsboro), Co-Chair of the House Redistricting Committee. “We’re proud of this historic achievement, but it’s time for an independent, nonpartisan commission to take this politically-charged issue out of the hands of politicians.”

Republicans say they will return to the 2012 session with a renewed commitment to creating jobs and reforming state government.

“We understand that Oregonians continue to suffer in the poor economy, and we will not accept a ‘jobless recovery,’” Rep. Cameron said. “That’s why we will come back to the Capitol in February with new solutions to get Oregonians back to work. We will also come back with reforms to make state government more accountable and affordable to Oregon taxpayers.”

Rep. Wand: Bill Will Create Jobs, Increase Investments in Low-Income Communities

SALEM—Rep. Matt Wand (R-Troutdale) today led House passage of Senate Bill 817 to help bring jobs to low-income communities across Oregon.  The bill, known as the Oregon Low Income Community Jobs Initiative, creates a matching state tax credit to the federal New Markets Tax Credit to further incentivize economic development targeted to these hard-hit areas.

“This bill will help small businesses locate, expand and create jobs where they’re needed the most,” said Rep. Wand, who carried SB 817 on the House Floor and is one of the bill’s chief co-sponsors. “More local jobs mean more revenue to fund vital programs in our communities. In particular, Rockwood needs these jobs.”

SB 817 provides access to equity capital for small businesses that operate in census-based, federally-designated low-income rural and urban areas. It creates a tax credit against income and corporate excise taxes equal to 39 percent of the cost of a qualified equity investment. The tax credit can be used for operating capital, equipment and expansion costs for existing businesses.

The bill requires the credit to be taken over seven years, with no credit given for the first two years, a seven percent credit in the third year, and an eight percent credit in each of the subsequent four tax years. Investments are capped at $4 million, and real estate development and rental businesses are excluded from the tax credit.

Based on the tax credit’s success in other states, Oregon Low Income Community Jobs Initiative is expected to attract at least $200 million in new investments in low-income communities.  These investments will support thousands of jobs, and generate as much as $31 million in new revenue to the state’s General Fund in the first 12 months of the credit’s implementation.

“Small businesses in low-income areas have a difficult time securing the capital they need during this economic downturn,” Rep. Wand said. “By passing Senate Bill 817 today, we have committed to encouraging investment and economic development in Oregon.”

SB 817 now moves to the Governor’s desk.

Education Reforms Advance in Historic Session

House Republicans today supported a bipartisan package of education reforms, including measures they say will provide Oregon students expanded educational opportunities that meet their unique learning needs.  Republicans also supported directing more funding to education using existing resources.

“The Legislature is on track to have its most successful session on education reform in decades,” said House Education Committee Co-Chair Matt Wingard (R-Wilsonville).  “Together, these reforms help promote choice, accountability and innovation in our educational system. I’m particularly pleased with the progress we’ve made in expanding choice for parents and their children.”

Republican priorities in the education package include HB 3682 that allow parents and students to enroll in the school district of their choice.  Charter-related bills include HB 2301 to raise the current enrollment caps on statewide virtual charter schools and replacing them with a limit of no more than three percent of students from any single district.

In addition, the House passed HB 3645 allowing a charter school applicant to seek sponsorship from the Board of Education, a local community college, or a public university that chooses to participate, if the applicant was initially rejected by a school district.  For example, Oregon Health and Science University could partner with other institutions to establish a charter school that offers real-world health and science coursework to students for future careers.

Republicans supported other elements of the package, including putting more dollars in the State School Fund and reforming Oregon’s Education Service Districts.  Other reforms include establishing the Oregon Education Investment Board to oversee outcome based budgets for all levels of public education.

“I thank the Governor and legislative Democrats for their bipartisanship in helping move this package forward,” said Rep. Mark Johnson (R-Hood River) a school board member and House Higher Education Subcommittee Co-Chair. “I am hopeful the progress we’ve made on this package will lead to additional reforms in future sessions that help our school districts retain teachers, support kids and avoid harmful budget cuts.”

HB2011 Would Save $69 Million and Meet Public Safety, Education Funding Needs

Savings from Insurance Contributions Could Backfill Cuts to Critical Services

SALEM— House Republicans today introduced legislation to require state employees to pay five percent of their base salaries toward their health insurance costs.  According to the Legislative Fiscal Office, HB 2011 would save $69 million in General Fund dollars this biennium alone.

“We are making difficult decisions to balance the budget, yet there’s little will in the Capitol to address the state’s biggest cost driver,” said Joint Ways and Means Co-Chair Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point), the bill’s chief sponsor. “It’s wrong to cut funding for education, public safety and human services without considering reasonable reforms to Oregon’s growing personnel costs.”

HB 2011 would require state employees to pay five percent of their base salaries toward group health benefits, with a minimum payment of $50 per month to a maximum of $500 per month.  Currently, state employees are not required to make any contributions toward their health insurance premiums. The bill does not apply to Oregon teachers, who already contribute to their health insurance costs.

“The required contribution in this bill is far less than what most private sector employees are required to provide,” Rep. Richardson said. “This bill will help make personnel costs more sustainable, while generating the savings we need to support our schools and public safety agencies.”

Throughout the 2011 session, House and Senate Republicans have proposed a number of reforms to bring rising personnel benefits and pension costs under control.  While these reforms have been rejected by legislative Democrats, Rep. Richardson says there’s still time to pass this measure and redirect the savings to critical services.

“HB 2011 offers an alternative to teacher layoffs and larger class sizes,” Rep. Richardson said. “Savings from this bill would also allow us to close funding gaps in our public safety budget.  Raiding our reserve funds and weakening voter-approved ballot measures, as some have suggested, are false choices when $69 million is still on the table.”

House Republicans Support Redistricting Plan

…Call for Independent Commission to Develop Future Plans
It’s Time to Take Redistricting out of the Hands of Politicians

SALEM—House Republicans on the Joint Redistricting Committee today voted to adopt a new legislative redistricting plan for the next 10 years.  While the plan was developed through bipartisan negotiation, they say an independent commission is still needed to redraw legislative and congressional boundaries in the future.

“We’re on track to fulfill our constitutional duty and be the first assembly in decades to approve a legislative redistricting plan,” said Rep. Shawn Lindsay (R-Hillsboro), the Joint Redistricting Committee Co-Chair.  “Redistricting is often described as the most partisan and political activity the Legislature can undertake.  Today’s committee action demonstrates that Republicans are willing to work across the aisle to find common ground on critical issues.”

As a member of the joint committee, House Republican Leader Kevin Cameron (R-Salem) supported the plan but said its composition wasn’t necessarily fair.  The role of the past and present Secretaries of State loomed large over the process.

“It should be recognized that this plan is based on the current plan, which 10 years ago was gerrymandered to give Democrats maximum political advantage,” Rep. Cameron said. “The threat of sending this process to yet another Democratic Secretary of State was an important issue in these negotiations.  While we appreciate the willingness of the Democratic Co-Chairs to work with us, this plan is neither fair nor balanced.”

House Republicans renewed their call for the creation of an independent, nonpartisan commission to develop future legislative and congressional plans.

“It took 60 years for the Legislature to agree on a plan and, at this rate, it will be 2071 before we do it again,” said Rep. Sal Esquivel (R-Medford), a Joint Redistricting Committee member. “It’s time to take redistricting out of the hands of  politicians and create an independent redistricting commission to prevent political gerrymandering in the future.”

Measure 67 Needs More “Fixes” to Create Oregon Jobs

House Republicans today strongly supported legislation to fix a consequence of Measure 67 that double-taxes agricultural cooperatives, such as the Oregon Wheat Growers League.

However, House Republican Leader Kevin Cameron (R-Salem) said the Legislature can do more to create jobs by replacing Measure 67’s job-killing gross-receipts tax with a more competitive, reasonable and jobs-friendly business tax.  House Republicans have offered a number of bills this session to reform or repeal Measure 67.

Rep. Cameron reminded the House that Oregon still has a jobs problem, and shouldn’t ignore what the Senate Republicans call the “900lb Jobs Gorilla.” Today the U.S. Labor Department announced that Oregon experienced the third-highest increase in weekly new jobless claims.

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