|BRENT HUNSBERGER, The Oregonian|
It directly hits fewer than two in 100 taxpayers and, most likely, 2 percent of the state's discretionary income.
No wonder supporters and opponents are tugging on emotions to get the average voter interested in Measure 84, which would repeal
Proponents dub the estate tax a "death tax," a "double tax" and a potential job and business killer. Opponents say repealing it would amount to a tax break for the rich at a time when schools, state courts and state police can ill afford more cuts.
Should it pass, one thing seems clear: Courts or legislators will have to weigh in on issues that the measure raises beyond the estate tax. Chief among them: a potential capital-gains loophole.
"If there are unforeseen circumstances,
Ultimately, voters must decide whether to hang on to a relatively small slice of revenue that acts as a buffer to the state's otherwise volatile
"Around this building, it would be a huge issue to raise
Less than 2 percent of estates pay the tax, which generates about
Measure 84 would repeal
That clause "may create an opportunity to game the income tax system,"
Farm bureaus, most business associations and conservative groups back the measure.
Common Sense for
Supporters note that 31 states either have no estate tax or are repealing it. Tax experts say, however, that most such laws disappeared because they were linked to a federal estate-tax law that
Supporters have said farmers and small businesses might have to sell off belongings to pay the tax. Experts and opponents note that taxpayers can set up trusts and gifting plans to avoid much or all of it.
"You can kind of plan for this," said
With no gubernatorial seat in play and presidential campaigns focused elsewhere, the measure has gained scant attention. Media outlets, including The Oregonian, declined to spend money polling on the issue. But both campaigns have run TV ads, suggesting each thinks it can win.
"The fact that the unions are running an ad campaign against it . . . suggests it has a shot of winning," said
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