Election Day is November 6, and this year’s measures beset some abundantly beefy issues, but one of the best ambiguous and abstract is Admeasurement 103, the proposed grocery tax ban.
Unlike Idaho and Hawaii, Oregon doesn’t accept a tax on advantage or commons at restaurants, and there are no accepted proposals to do so. Still, there accept been city-based proposals to appoint a retail tax; Salem’s Statesman Journal addendum that Ontario afresh proposed a 1 percent retail sales tax that bootless beforehand this year. An OPB adventure draws ties amid the Admeasurement 103 action and 2016’s bootless Admeasurement 97, which would tax gross sales that beat $25 million. Admeasurement 103, then, would about alter the Oregon accompaniment Constitution to prohibit taxes on advantage statewide from actuality on out. Campaigns adjoin 97 and 103 elicited millions in donations from grocery chains, which would’ve been afflicted the most.
Here’s the problem: According to critics, the accent of the admeasurement is too ambiguous and broad, which could account some issues chargeless what we can and can’t tax activity forward. With a affliction of misinformation circulating from both the yes and no campaigns on amusing media and TV ads, addition out what Admeasurement 103 is and what it is not is tricky. Here’s what to apperceive about Admeasurement 103 — and what to disregard.
Measure 103 bans any approaching taxes on grocers or those affairs advantage — and, potentially, a lot added than that. According to the accent of the measure, the analogue of “groceries” is abundant broader than the accepted concordance definition. The admeasurement defines advantage as “any raw or candy aliment or cooler advised for animal burning except alcoholic beverages, marijuana products, and tobacco products.” By that definition, advantage could accommodate any aliment awash at a business — that agency restaurants, too. The two abandon accept argued about which types of restaurants will be impacted by Admeasurement 103, but according to Street Roots, Oregon’s Supreme Court and Office of the Attorney General accepted the admeasurement applies to restaurant meals.
Another high-interest affair aural Admeasurement 103 is what it would beggarly for abeyant soda taxes. Local and civic bloom organizations dabbled with a soda tax attack in Multnomah Canton aftermost year, but eventually absitively to adjourn for bigger aborigine turnout. Admeasurement 103 would block soda taxes, which is acceptable a big allotment of the acumen the American Cooler Association keeps pumping banknote into the yes campaign, while the American Cancer Society pushes for the added side. Also, abundant of the chat about the admeasurement is centered about soda because that’s area there’s abeyant for huge tax dollars. For example, if a canton decides it wants to armamentarium its academy repairs, or accessible hospitals, or affordable apartment with a soda tax, all of those taxes would be accounted actionable in Oregon beneath 103.
The two abandon accept been at anniversary others’ throats about specific claims fabricated by the other. A yes attack ad says “[Measure] 103 ensures aliment banks and aliment pantries will abide tax free.” This isn’t absolutely wrong, but it’s absolutely misleading: As non-profits, aliment banks and pantries should not be afflicted by a sales tax, because those articles are donated and accessible for free. Organizations like Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon accept aboveboard asked the yes attack to abjure the ad, afraid that “people defective abetment would not accept that aliment at pantries is chargeless and will abide to be,” in the words of Willamette Week.
Earlier in the campaign, the acknowledged aggregation apery the yes attack filed a cease-and-desist adjoin no supporters, claiming they were overextension apocryphal advice about abeyant impacts on ammunition taxes and Medicaid taxes. The accent is actual specific about aliment and beverage; things alfresco of those categories, like fuel, would not be accountable to taxes. However, a acknowledgment letter from attorneys apery affiliation associates denied that they claimed 103 would appulse those taxes or causes, excluding a best few.
Ironically enough, cerebration about Admeasurement 103 as a grocery tax ban is seeing it as both abate and beyond than it is. Because the accent is bound as aliment and beverage, that wouldn’t accommodate the added food you get at the grocery abundance — toilet paper, toothpaste, laundry detergent. However, it may appulse added than grocery taxes: A yes vote additionally protects restaurant meals, and abeyant tax hikes on the beyond corporations that own your adjacency grocery store.
A yes vote is a way of saying, “No, I don’t appetite my grocery abundance or admired restaurant taxed, ever, and I don’t appetite to see any acceleration in amount on my advantage either in the anatomy of sales tax or a passed-along access in customer amount for goods.” That will extend throughout the state, and it will appulse abeyant taxes bottomward the road, behindhand of what the tax would fund.
A no vote does not accept any array of grocery tax, sales tax, or soda tax. It aloof agency that cities, counties, and the accompaniment could, in the future, convention a tax on restaurants or grocery stores. It additionally frees up the achievability of accretion accumulated taxes like Admeasurement 97, if we anytime go bottomward that alley again.
• Admeasurement 103: YES! KEEP OUR GROCERIES TAX FREE [Official]• Oregon Admeasurement 103 Asks: Should Grocers Accept Constitutional Protections? [OPB]• Oregon Admeasurement 103 would accomplish approaching grocery taxes actionable [Statesman Journal]• Opponents of Admeasurement 103 Rebuff Threats of Acknowledged Action Adjoin Their Supporters [Willamette Week]• Breaking bottomward Admeasurement 103: Fact vs. fiction [Street Roots]• Multnomah Canton soda tax attack postpones ambition date afterwards spending $800K [The O]
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