Opponents of the Measure 97 corporate tax proposal report raising $17.5 million in campaign contributions. Supporters, meanwhile, now say they have raised more than $7 million.
In both cases, the totals took a big jump up as the Nov. 8 elections nears. That's because of a tighter deadline for reporting contributions that took effect at the end of Tuesday. Campaigns now have to report their contributions and expenditures within seven days instead of having a month to do so.
The opposition campaign revealed another $6 million in contributions from a long list of business interests. Major retailers like Costco, Albertson's/Safeway and Fred Meyer's parent company, Kroger, have each given $900,000. Other major contributors include Chevron, Comcast, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Citigroup.
The Yes on 97 campaign is financed almost exclusively by unions, particularly those representing public employees. The biggest contributor is the country's largest teacher's union. The Oregon Education Association and its national parent have together given about $3.8 million. The totals include another committee, Defend Oregon, which has also helped finance the measure.
The stakes are high for the ballot measure. It would impose a 2.5 percent tax on sales for corporations doing more than $25 million a year of business in Oregon.
Supporters say the $3 billion-a-year tax would force large corporations to pay a larger share of the tax burden in Oregon while providing needed revenue for schools, healthcare and senior services. Critics say the measure will hurt the economy and that much of the tax will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.