If you’ve ever spent any time in the startup scene in the Silicon Forest, you’ve likely heard that there are two major hurdles for entrepreneurs around here: 1) that the State of Oregon—and sometimes the City of Portland—aren’t terribly friendly to startups and 2) that it’s really difficult to attract capital from investors.
What you may not know is that there are some new taxes on the books that—according to Oregonians Against Job-Killing Taxes—may make those two hurdles even higher.
Oregon’s 2009 legislature passed two tax increase measures that will have a serious negative impact on startups, both directly and by affecting their sources of capital. One of the measures added a new gross receipts tax on unprofitable corporations (like startups). The other measure raises Oregon’s top personal income tax to 11 percent – the highest in the country – thereby adversely affecting the angel and venture investor community’s ability to fund startups. This serves as a double-whammy to the Oregon entrepreneurial community. What we need is more reasons for companies, entrepreneurs and investors to come and stay here – this is just one more reason they will stay away, or if here now, relocate.
In opposition, the group collected enough signatures to drive the tax increases to the ballot—allowing Oregon voters to decide if the tax increases remain or die.
According to the proponents, the tax hikes are all about jobs. And earning an additional $733 million for the state.
“The opponents have draped themselves in a message about jobs,” said Scott Moore, a spokesman for Defend Oregon in The Portland Business Journal. “But in order to protect the narrow interests that are funding their campaign, they are willfully trying to kill two measures that will help the very people who’ve been hurt most by this recession.”
On which side do you fall? Not sure? You might want to swing by the event to get some more details.
The gathering on October 22 will be hosted by some pro-entrepreneur folks who are in decided opposition to the taxes—Bob Wiggins, Josh Friedman, and Bill Pierznik. Attendees will hear from Bill Kelly of Learning.com, Bob DeKoning, CEO of Routeware and board member of Tech America and OEN, and others on “how these tax measures would particularly harm the startup community and new proactive investments.”
(Image courtesy blmurch. Used under Creative Commons.)