Wouldn’t it be great if our government officials had to take the political equivalent of the medical doctor’s Hippocratic oath: “First, do no harm?” If they did, we would not see the growing interest among state political leaders in eliminating the home mortgage interest deduction. This is a tax deduction available to every single homeowner and potential homeowner in the state of Oregon, regardless of demographics. At a time when many Oregonians are just scraping to get by, and with tougher times ahead, it’s foolish of our state leaders to consider eliminating a tax benefit available to all working-class Oregonians.
Yet, that’s exactly what’s being considered — from the secretary of state, to the governor, to the Legislature — in a partisan effort to capture another $1.1 billion each biennium in taxes from Oregonians. It’s a thinly disguised scheme to capture and transfer money from homeowners to the government, predicated on the disputable argument that government agencies can and will use it effectively for burgeoning social programs. Before this idea gains too much steam, let’s inject a little common sense into the discussion.