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Oregon's Wealthiest To Get A Tax Cut In January

SALEM, Ore. – President Obama and House Republicans continue to spar over whether to extend a soon-to-expire payroll tax cut. But one group of Oregonians will definitely see their taxes go down in January. They’re the wealthiest taxpayers.

When Oregon voters approved Measure 66 nearly two years ago, income taxes immediately rose for the highest tier of earners in the state. But the jump was temporary.

Starting this January 1st, the rate will drop back, though not all the way to pre-Measure 66 levels.

Scott Moore is with Our Oregon, a union-funded group that would like to see the tax rates stay the same. Moore says the rollback comes as lawmakers are gearing up for possible cuts to public safety, education and social service programs.

"At the same time all that's happening, we're now about to let a tax cut for the richest two percent go through," Moore says. "And that's money that should be going to pay for the things that we all care about."

The business lobby group Associated Oregon Industries says there's no justification for keeping the tax rates at their current levels.

Legislative analysts say if the rates stayed where they are now, lawmakers would have about $118 million additional dollars to spend on state services.

The rollback was factored into the current state spending plan. The original tax increase never brought in as much money as expected.

On the Web:

Measure 66:

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.