Republican Shawn Lindsay
and Democrat Doug Ainge
are running in House District 30 (Hillsboro and North Plains) for the seat being vacated by Democrat David Edwards, who is not seeking re-election.
The House Democrats have tried to tag Lindsay and several other Republican House candidates around Oregon
with being in favor of a 30 percent sales tax. That effort is based on a tenuous—at best—connection between GOP candidates and a national "Fair Tax" movement that does favor a new tax structure built on such a 30 percent consumption tax. The political calculus goes something like this: Oregonians hate sales taxes and have voted against them nine times in the past century, so any way to tie Republicans to a sales tax helps Democratic candidates in Oregon.
Lindsay, an intellectual property lawyer at the Lane Powell firm, has never said he favors a 30 percent sales tax and told WW
unequivocally that he does not —and never did—support a sales tax. Yet voters in his district got a mailer
[PDF] from Ainge, a Banks high school teacher, suggesting Lindsay stands ready to tax them out of house and home.
Ainge also released this ad stating his opposition to a sales tax.
All of which makes the June 12, 2003 op-ed Ainge wrote for The Oregonian
all the more interesting. In that piece, Ainge argued strenuously, if not necessarily in the most thoughtful fashion that it was high time for a sales tax:
"It is clearly past time to tax tourists, drug dealers, prostitutes
and all other sectors of the underground economy," Ainge wrote in that op-ed. "We must lower the state's marginal income tax rate from 9 percent down to 5-6 percent. We must cap property taxes once again. Then we must institute a 5-6 percent sales tax, with all consumables exempted."
It's worth asking whether "consumables" include Ainge's own words, which his ill-considered attacks on Lindsay might cause him to eat.
Ainge did not immediately return a call seeking comment.