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ICYMI: Former Oregon Governors Call on Knute Buehler to Release Full Tax Returns

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 12:00

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Republican Knute Buehler is taking heat for his hypocritical lack of transparency when it comes to his personal finances. Yesterday, two former Oregon Governors called on Buehler to finally release his full tax returns, following what the Willamette Week called “a significant, unforced error.”

Willamette Week - Former Oregon Governors Call on Knute Buehler to Release Full Tax Returns:
Buehler's failure to voluntarily disclose purchase of controversial tax credits provides opening for Democrats.

By Nigel Jaquiss

Former Oregon Govs. Barbara Roberts and Ted Kulongoski today called on state Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend), the Republican candidate for governor, to release his full tax returns.

"Serving the people of Oregon is a privilege," Roberts said at a press conference at Revolution Hall. "Whether you are paying your fair share of taxes should be the first bar you cross—not the last."

Roberts and Kulongoski, both Democrats, support incumbent Gov. Kate Brown but this morning's event was the result of what appears to be a significant, unforced error on Buehler's part that was reported over the weekend by the the Oregon Capitol Bureau, a collaboration of the EO Media/Pamplin Media and Salem Reporter.

The paper reported that Buehler, an orthopedic surgeon, and his wife, Dr. Patricia Buehler, an eye surgeon, purchased $100,000 worth of Oregon business energy tax credits (BETCs) for $67,000 sometime around 2008.

That is a smart, legal and legitimate investment, as Kulongoski noted today.

"There's nothing wrong with tax avoidance," Kulongoski said.

The problem—and the opening Buehler created—is that as a lawmaker and candidate he has blasted the state's administration of the BETC program, which cost nearly $1 billion in foregone tax revenue and put easy, risk-free profit in the pockets of investors who purchased them to offset state tax liabilities.

Buehler described the BETC and similar programs in a 2017 op-ed he wrote for The Oregonian as "tax credit giveaways that mostly benefit out-of-state corporations and well-heeled investors at the expense of Oregon taxpayers, and more important funding priorities like K-12."

He probably should have disclosed he was one of those well-heeled investors.

In response to questions from Capitol Bureau reporter Claire Withycombe, Buehler's campaign issued a statement:

"The Buehlers purchased tax credits years before he was a lawmaker and before state mismanagement of the program forced the legislature to repeal the program," campaign spokeswoman Monica Wroblewski said.

Buehler's non-disclosure of his BETC investment resurrected questions about his personal finances.

Earlier this year, Buehler told The Oregonian that he had 15 corporations. But when he released his tax returns to the media—showing about $1 million in joint income for him and his wife—he did not include schedules and other supporting information that would show the source of all of that income, nor the deductions or credits he might have used to reduce his tax burden.

Jordan Conger, a spokesman for Buehler, says the campaign is considering requests for further disclosure of Buehler's returns.


The Oregonian Two former governors call for Knute Buehler to release more tax info

By Hillary Borrud

Two former Oregon governors on Monday called on Republican nominee Knute Buehler to release his full tax returns.

Buehler and his wife released the first several pages of their federal tax returns from 2015 to 2017 earlier this year, while Democratic Gov. Kate Brown and her husband released their full returns for the same time period.

In a news conference in Southeast Portland, former Govs. Ted Kulongoski and Barbara Roberts said Buehler should release his full tax returns so that voters know whether the Bend legislator and orthopedic surgeon is "paying his fair share" of taxes and has a personal interest in public policies he would pursue if elected governor. Both Kulongoski and Roberts are Democrats who support Brown's re-election bid.

"It's fair for the citizens to ask: 'If you want to spend my tax money, I want to know if you're paying your fair share,'" Kulongoski said. "That's the issue. Tell the public what you're doing."


Full Story HERE