When Gov. Kate Brown convenes the Legislature May 21 for a special session, she won't just be drawing lawmakers to Salem.
Four chapters of the Democratic Socialists of America are joining the Poor People's Campaign to protest on the Capitol steps.
Those groups and their allies—including Multnomah County Democrats, Portland Association of Teachers, Jobs With Justice, Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN), Portland's Resistance, and Portland Tenants United—are unhappy about the governor's plan to extend an existing tax break for small businesses to some sole proprietorships.
An Oregon Center for Public Policy report released earlier this month said Brown's proposal favors a small-number of highly-paid business owners, who will pay a lower rate of taxes than their employees.
That's got left-leaning advocates riled. "Our tone deaf Governor is having a special session to expand tax breaks for the wealthy and continue class war on working people across this state," said Emily Golden-Fields, co-chair of Portland Democratic Socialists of America, in a statement. "We say enough is enough!"
Some House Democrats don't like the governor's plan, because it will cost the state general fund $11 million a year that they would like to put to other uses.
Republicans aren't keen on the special session, either, because Brown's ability to give small business owners a tax break, even if it's modest and affects relatively few people, could blunt one of the GOP's favorite talking points about tax-and-spend Democrats.
Yesterday, the Joint Committee on Sole Proprietors met to discuss next week's special session, prompting an angry statement from state Sen. Herman Baertschiger (R-Grants Pass).
"The Oregon Constitution allows the Governor to convene a Special Session only upon 'extraordinary occasions.' What is the extraordinary occasion here?," said Baertschiger. "Where is the so-called 'emergency' prompting the Governor to call all 90 legislators into special session? All I see is a political sham, a waste of tax payer money, and an abuse of power."
In an election night interview, Brown acknowledged critics have expressed various concerns but she said extending to sole proprietors a tax break that partnerships and other pass-through companies already enjoy is "the right thing to do."
The DSA and its allies will gather at noon on Monday on the steps of the Capitol.