Moeller laments lack of supermajority needed to undo injustice

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OLYMPIA — A top lawmaker is lamenting the loss just now, Friday afternoon — the day after the 2012 Legislature staggered to its denouement in the midnight hour on Thursday, the 60th legislative day, and the governor announced a special session to embark on the heels of a weekend’s breather– of what the key legislator maintains is an excellent and much-needed tax-fairness proposal.

House Speaker Pro Tempore state Rep. Jim Moeller, a co-sponsor for the legislation, said its defeat “is particularly grating because this common-sense proposal fell victim once again this year to the supermajority requirement needed for fiscal matters to pass.”

Moeller said the proposal would repeal the nonresident sales-tax exemption, and then use that extra money to help fund all-day kindergarten. Auto dealers would have been exempted in the terms of this bill.

Sixty-six “Aye” votes (two-thirds of the 98 members of the House of Representatives) were required to send the bill out of the House and on over to the Senate. The final count was 51-47.

“Clark County is one of the top seven counties – of all the 75 counties in Oregon (36) and Washington (39) – for the amount of money our residents here send to Oregon for that state’s income taxes,” Moeller pointed out.

“The sales-tax exemption is one of the top complaints I hear from my constituents.

“Tens of thousands of Washington folks cross the Columbia River every day to work at jobs in Oregon,” he continued. “They receive no consideration when it comes to Oregon’s income tax, which helps pay for their schools, parks and health care. My Washington constituents demand the same thing: When Oregon folks shop in Washington, they should pay the sales tax.

“It’s grossly unfair that Oregonians wedge an undue tax edge in Washington,” he said and added that the system is rife with abuse.

“Unfortunately, there are many people in Washington who have family or friends who live in Oregon and use their out-of-state identification to get the tax break,” Moeller said.

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