The way the Nose sees it, he ought to get a ride on the Guv's new bus.
The 40-foot rig, which took its inaugural drive on Monday through the Gorge, isn't just some Greyhound with a better-smelling bathroom. This is a cherried-out pimpmobile, the kind that country and western stars travel in. A full kitchen, CD player, a custom love seat and a satellite dish on the roof.
Why does the Nose think
he deserves to ride shotgun? Because this limo on steroids is a "gift" the Nose figures he paid for.
The governor claims that the Beaver Patriot, as the model is known, comes free of charge from some appreciative corporate citizens, most notably Monaco Coach, the Coburg-based company that made it, and Intel, the Hillsboro high-tech titan that outfitted it with the latest
wi-fi bells and whistles. As one
business lobbyist was quoted in this city's daily paper, "There are absolutely no strings attached."
The Nose knows better.
He's not so naive as to think that the governor, a former state Supreme Court justice, could be bought off by the one-year loan of a $400,000 vehicle seemingly named after a military stag film. No strings. Just a $40 million bow.
Last legislative session, Monaco and Intel were two
of the loudest voices in the call to change the way corporate income taxes are levied in Oregon. Until this year, the state income tax paid by multistate businesses in Oregon was determined using on a formula that took into account in-state sales, property and payroll. That didn't sit well with Monaco, Intel and some other leading corporations (including Nike, Precision Castparts and Columbia Sportswear) that have lots of land and big payrolls in Oregon but make only a small fraction of their products here. So, in 2001, they pushed through a bill that based 80 percent of their taxes on Oregon sales, starting in 2003. Then, this summer, they got another bill passed, making the formula solely dependent on sales starting in 2006.
The net effect? According the Legislature's revenue office, it will reduce state corporate income taxes by $39 million a year when fully implemented.
Not everyone is a winner in this little numbers game. In fact, Department of Revenue analysis shows that two-thirds of the 4,000 Oregon companies with significant sales outside the state will actually end up paying more taxes because of this bill. And so will the rest of us suckers, assuming the personal income-tax hike survives a ballot challenge.
Of course, none of that seemed to matter on Monday, when Kulongoski headed on a two-day trip up the Columbia River Gorge to talk about jobs, education and "the connection" between the two.
Given that the Nose sees
a pretty clear connection between his wallet and the
$39 million gift given multistate corporations like Monaco and Intel, he figures he deserves to be taken for a ride.
Then again, maybe he already has.