Corporate Tax Means Long Pharmacy Lines

Have you tried to get a prescription filled at Walgreens since Bi-Mart closed its pharmacies and sold that business to Walgreens? At least in our area of Springfield, it’s a virtual impossibility unless you have an hour or often more to wait in line. The Walgreens branches here are understaffed and overwhelmed.

Do you ever wonder why Bi-Mart closed its pharmacy business? The company management cited three reasons, increasing medical costs and reimbursement problems among them.

But special ire was reserved for Oregon’s Corporate Activity Tax (CAT), passed by the Democrat-controlled Oregon Legislature as House Bill 3427 and signed by Gov. Kate Brown in the 2019 session. The Oregon State Pharmacy Association (OSPA) stated, “The Oregon CAT threw fuel on the fire. Worse is that wholesalers have passed on their share of the tax so pharmacies have to pay double the tax!”

Every Lane County Democrat in the Legislature supported the bill, euphemistically called “The Student Success Act.” Most Republicans opposed it. The CAT was actually a multi-billion dollar tax on businesses. It was also a violation of the 2016 Measure 97 voter mandate against gross receipt taxes. The same players then resorted to an underhanded political move (HB 2164) to quash a citizen referendum against the tax.

OSPA asked for a CAT exemption for pharmacies in the 2022 session but the ruling supermajority balked. So the next time you’re in line at Walgreens or other area pharmacies, ask yourself, “Who did I vote for?”

Jerry Ritter