Thursday, January 14, 2010

This Is Getting Embarrassing

Posted By on Thu, Jan 14, 2010 at 8:30 PM

The anti-Measure 67 forces continue to have a real problem finding a bona fide small business in Oregon that actually would be hurt by it.

In early December they mass-mailed a “personal letter” from Tillamook dairy owner Carol Marie Leuthold expressing fear that M67 would “hurt our farm and the families it supports.” A little reporting revealed that the globe-trotting Leutholds would see only a $140 increase – from the present $10 minimum to $150 – in their state business taxes.

Now the anti-67 forces have cranked out a new TV spot telling the sad tale of a little bakery being driven by those eeeeee-vil tax-happy politicians in Salem to lay off its employees.

Over cheesy background music that sounds like it was borrowed from a soap opera, the proprietor tells her former workers: “We were hanging in there until they raised our taxes. Now there’s no place left to cut.”

The female employee replies, “They said Measures 66 and 67 only taxed big corporations and ‘the rich’” – making air quotes here – “and claimed companies only paid $10 in taxes.”

 “What a crock,” the proprietor says. “The state raised business taxes over 40% instead of tightening their belt like the rest of us.”

“Now we’re both out of work,” says the male employee disgustedly, turning to head out the door. “Thanks a lot, Salem.”

There’s just one small problem with the ad: The bakery it shows is in California.

The ever-alert Kari Chisholm of the Blue Oregon blog noticed that the name of the bakery – backwards, but easily legible – is painted on the window glass: “Paula’s Bake Shop.”

Hoping to talk to Paula and find out exactly how she’d be hurt by Measure 67, he Googled “Paula’s Bake Shop.” To his surprise, nothing by that name turned up in Oregon. There was, however, a Paula’s Bake Shop in Auburn, CA, which is about 35 miles northeast of Sacramento.

And as it turns out, the proprietor, Paula Graziano, has a Facebook page. And on that page, on Jan. 9, she posted this message: “Today I rented out the bakery for a commercial to be filmed for a political spot in Oregon.”


“Once again, the No on 66/67 gang has faked the impact on small businesses in Oregon,” Chisholm writes. “This time, they didn't even bother bamboozling an actual Oregon small business owner. They just fabricated one – in California, no less. Truly desperate and pathetic.”

Even if the bakery was in Oregon, the message of the ad would still be bogus. As Oregonian blogger Jeff Mapes points out: "Bakeries like this would typically face at most paying an additional $150 in corporate minimum taxes.  Their owners would usually pay personal income taxes on their net profits, and they would not be subject to additional taxes until their income was above $250,000 for households or $125,000 for individuals."

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