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PORTLAND, Ore. - If any Americans are willing to fork over more to state governments in 2010, it might just be those of Oregon, where voters are deciding the fate of two proposed tax increases that target the wealthy and corporations.
Oregon voters the past two weeks have been marking referendum ballots on two tax issues, one raising rates on people who make more than $125,000 a year in taxable income - $250,000 for joint filers - and on businesses, many of whom pay a minimum tax of $10 a year.
The mailed-in and dropped-off votes will be counted Tuesday. The results are likely to be part of the national spin cycle the next morning and could give legislators in other states a hint about whether they can ask taxpayers for help in repairing ravaged budgets.
The only independent polls made public so far show the tax increases ahead but with shrinking margins. If they pass, that would be a break with history. Despite Oregon's reputation for left-leaning politics, voters have often shot down tax measures.
Oregon's tax increases came out of a legislative session last year in which Democrats with commanding majorities pared the budget, deployed some reserves, parceled out federal stimulus dollars, and tiptoed around tax increases that would have hit large numbers of Oregonians.