Three-in-five Oregonians say their state taxes are too high, according to a new poll commissioned by Oregon Public Broadcasting released on April 21. The poll, conducted by DHM Research, also reveals that 40 percent of voters believe the state spends too much on public services and should reduce taxes, which is a nine percent increase for the same question in less than a year.
Although respondents ranked homelessness, public safety, and leadership as the most important problems facing Oregon tax, state and local taxes are an underpinning concern for most voters. In fact, among the 65 percent of respondents who said economic conditions in Oregon are poor, 71 percent said they believed they were paying too much in state taxes. Perhaps most notably, non-affiliated voters (65 percent) and people of color (64 percent) were among the demographic categories most likely to say their taxes were too high.
Over the last several years, state and local governments have introduced new payroll, income, and gross receipts taxes, elevating the Portland area to the highest all-in (i.e., local, state, and federal) tax rate in the country going back decades. Throughout the last 25 years DHM has been tracking right and wrong direction sentiments in Oregon, the pollsters found that Oregonians believe the state is trending in the wrong direction more than any other time. Among the 73 percent of respondents who said Oregon was heading in the wrong direction, 69 percent said they were paying too much in state taxes.
Considering high inflation, supply chain constraints, and U.S. gross domestic product declining at a 1.4 percent annual rate, these poll results clearly indicate that pocketbook politics are a driving factor for many voters. We have already seen tax measures scrapped in this cycle due to concerns over voter sentiments and fatigue towards taxes. We will soon learn if those concerns were warranted.