If you thought you were outraged about Rep. Dennis Richardson’s shameless new political spam enterprise, prepare to get madder.
On Tuesday, just as information was coming to light about his massive abuse of the state’s public records laws to harvest email addresses for his spam list, Richardson (R-Central Point) sent a mass email to Oregon accountants asking them if they’re aware of abuse of Oregon’s tax code.
But here’s the thing: Richardson isn’t looking to root out any of the large corporations who exploit the tax code in order to avoid paying taxes. He’s not looking to stop tax breaks for companies who ship jobs overseas or get tax breaks for jobs that never materialize. And he’s not looking to end the practice of subsidizing million-dollar mortgages.
No, instead, here’s his specific target: The Working Families Child Care Tax Credit.
That’s right. He’s attacking a tax credit that allows working families living in poverty to afford child care.
As the Republican co-chair of the state’s budget committee, Richardson has supported big increases in the tax breaks the state gives away to corporations and the rich. Under his watch, the legislature gave away $93 million in tax breaks to corporations last year. This year, he and his fellow Republican legislators did nothing to stop tax rates from falling for households that make more than $250,000, costing the state another $118 million. In fact, they want to cut taxes on corporations and the rich even further.
Richardson calls himself a watchdog, but under his watch the state’s overall tax breaks grew by more than $3 billion*, even while the legislature cut funding for K-12 schools and in-home care for seniors.
Next, Richardson wants cut the tax rate on capital gains, which amounts to a massive tax cut that primarily benefits wealthy investors. (In testimony earlier this year, business lobbyists couldn’t point to a single business that would come to Oregon or create new jobs as a result of this tax giveaway.)
So instead of doing anything to root out corporate tax loopholes that don’t actually create jobs, Richardson is using his political spam list to enlist Oregon’s certified public accountants in his political agenda by casting suspicion on families working hard to just barely make it.
*According to the Oregon Tax Expenditure Report 2011-13, overall tax breaks totaled $27.9 billion in 2009-11 and are projected to be $31.3 billion in 2011-13: “Tax Expenditure Report 2011-13,” Page 5