Many Companies Opposing Measure 97's $3 Billion Tax Hike Have Big Profits Parked Overseas

Tax Fairness Oregon matches "No on 97" donor list with recent study of corporate tax avoidance.

Earlier this week, three public-interest groups released a study of use of off-shore tax havens by the 500 largest publicly-traded companies.

The study found that the Fortune 500 companies are increasingly keeping profits in overseas subsidiaries in an apparent attempt to avoid paying as much as $100 billion annually in U.S. taxes on those profits.

Related: How much cash is Nike parking offshore?

A local watchdog group called Tax Fairness Oregon took that study and compared it with contributors to the Group Defeat the Tax on Oregon Sales, which opposes Measure 97.

That measure would raise $3 billion a year in new revenue by imposing a 2.5 percent tax on C corporations' Oregon sales over $25 million.

The likely payers of the tax are companies with high sales volume such as Fred Meyer, Walmart, Costco, Portland General Electric, PacifiCorp and NW Natural.

Tax Fairness found 34 companies that are both on the list of those keeping profits offshore and contributing to the campaign against Measure 97.

Costco, for instance, has contributed $900,000 to the No campaign and has $2.8 billion offshore. (The entry for Berkshire Hathaway, the company run by the legendary investor Warren Buffet, includes contributions from its subsidiaries PacifiCorp, the rail company BNSF and GEICO, an insurance company.)

Opponents of the measure reported $6 million in new contributions this week, bringing their total raised to nearly $17 million, with about $5 million on hand.

The Yes on 97 campaign has raised to $6.6 million, of which $4.4 remains on hand.

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