Measure 97 campaigns make final push for OR voters

Car dealerships, oil companies and insurance companies are just some industries that would pay more in taxes

Yes on 97 campaign volunteers went door-to-door Saturday, October 1, 2016. (KOIN)
Yes on 97 campaign volunteers went door-to-door Saturday, October 1, 2016. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As election day looms, opponents and supporters of Measure 97 are still trying to win over Oregon voters.

Powell’s Books is one of almost 1,000 companies doing business in Oregon with more than $25 million in annual sales that would pay more in taxes if Measure 97 is passed.

The bookstore won’t say if it would cut jobs, hours or inventory.

Car dealerships, oil companies, insurance companies, grocery store chains and banks are just some of the industries that would pay more in taxes.

According to state campaign finance records, Costco, Albertsons/Safeway, and Fred Meyer are among the top donors to the No on 97 campaign.

The state estimates Measure 97 would affect just under 1,000 out of 250,000 businesses in Oregon.

Ben Unger, a former state lawmaker, is head of the Yes on 97 campaign. Top donors include public employee unions in and out of state.

They point to studies that companies doing business in Oregon pay less than the national average in state and local taxes, and Measure 97 is a way to find more money for schools.

Opponents of Measure 97 say there is no guarantee lawmakers will spend the $3 billion a year in extra tax revenue on education, healthcare and seniors. It’s a measure, not a constitutional amendment.

Unger agrees but said he believes lawmakers will follow the voters’ wishes.

Meanwhile, many voters are struggling to figure out which way to vote on Measure 97.

The state said Oregonians will see a $600 a year increase in prices for groceries, cable, and electricity.