Oregon lawmakers quietly gave businesses a tax break worth hundreds of millions

Oregon lawmakers appear to be just hours away from finishing a legislative session noteworthy in large part for the staggering amounts of money they approved for affordable and shelter housing, wildfire response and rebuilding, mental health and addictions treatment and infrastructure projects.

Vulnerable Oregonians and well-worn public facilities aren’t the only winners this session, though. Businesses of all sizes and from all sectors, regardless of their profitability during the pandemic, stand to benefit from a new state tax break that could collectively save them $450 million to $600 million and trim the state’s revenue by a similar amount, according to a state estimate.

The tax cut is available to businesses and self-employed individuals who received forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, a $780 billion federal effort to help businesses keep employees on the payroll amid pandemic uncertainty. Not only are the taxpayer-funded…

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