NOTE: We'll be talking to Kevin Looper, who ran the campaign in support of the Oregon ballot initiatives, on my radio show on AM760 this morning at 9:30 am Colorado time (11:30am ET). Tune in at www.am760.net.
Just to follow on Chris's post last night, Oregon is perennially one of the most contested electoral swing states in the country. And this week, it delivered a powerful message on taxes - namely, that Reagan's corpse can be defeated when progressives get bold. Check out this excerpt from the Oregonian (and I know Chris printed it last night, but it's important enough to be reprinted again):
Oregon voters bucked decades of anti-tax and anti-Salem sentiment Tuesday, raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy to prevent further erosion of public schools and other state services.
The tax measures passed easily, with late returns showing a 54 percent to 46 percent ratio. Measure 66 raises taxes on households with taxable income above $250,000, and Measure 67 sets higher minimum taxes on corporations and increases the tax rate on upper-level profits.
Campaign ads by supporters highlighted banks and credit card companies and showed images of well-dressed people stepping off private jets. They also hammered on the $10 minimum tax that most corporations have paid since its inception in 1931.
The policy and political importance of this victory cannot be overstated - it comes in a swing-state whose earth has been scorched by right-wing anti-tax/anti-government arguments for decades. It was opposed by all the usual suspects, including celebrity corporatists like Nike CEO Phil Knight. And yet progressives won - resoundingly.
The victory may be a harbinger of tax fights coming up in other swing-states as well.
Take Colorado as a good example: Right now, our governor is pushing a modest proposal to temporarily suspend a bunch of corporate tax giveaways. In the process, he has effectively baited corporate lobbyists into opposing it and actually advocating for a statewide grocery tax - a wildly unpopular proposal that exposes these lobbyists as disgustingly greedy. In that sense, he is changing the frame of the tax debate, moving it away from the "tax vs. anti-tax" question to an argument about what kind of tax reform is needed.
These are tough fights - but Oregon proves they can be won, and Colorado proves they are worth fighting, if the fight is waged in a smart way.