Visitors to Fred Meyer, the beloved grocery story begun in Portland in 1908, or Target, one of the country’s largest merchandise discounters, may assume that the stores have the interest of the average Oregonian at heart. But both spent huge amounts to defeat Measure 97, the November corporate tax measure that would have removed the cap on corporate gross sales tax in the state and would have raised about $550 million in its first 6 months with negligible impact on the population.
But in the final single month before the November 8 election, according to Orestar, the database provided by the Oregon Secretary of State, Fred Meyer contributed $1,483,000 to the “Defeat the Tax on Oregon Sales” PAC that successfully shot down the Measure.
Target spent nearly $9 million in 16 contributions in that same one month.
Utilities contributed as well; PGE with $50,000 and Northwest Natural with $50,000, using customer’s payments for a necessity to advocate against revenue for state projects.
Those who might wish to avoid Fred Meyer for its contribution should be aware that Albertsons/Safeway Portland Division contributed more than $1.2 million in that same 30 days.
Others who contributed to oppose Measure 97 include Campbell’s Soup, Gap, Anheiser-Busch, Costco, McDonalds, Upmqua Dairy, Coca-Cola and Pepsi – brands that may be difficult to avoid for those that protest with their pocketbooks.
Another PAC, under the flag of the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce’s Create Jobs PAC, also fought to defeat the measure. Garmin donated $35,000. Hope Orthopedics contributed $7,000. Bonaventura Senior Living contributed $10.000. Locals who eat at Salem’s Sassy Onion or Best Little Roadhouse should know both restaurants made contributions. A wide variety of car dealerships, from Dick Withnell to Toyota, made contributions. Lowe’s and True Value gave $25,000 each.
The average Salem resident is unaware that when they purchase goods from these sources, part of their payment goes to lobby on behalf of measures, or against measures, that may not be in their own self-interest.