Oregon House Bills could eliminate property tax, mortgage interest deductions

Medford, Ore. — Two bills being introduced in the Oregon House this week would have a direct impact on homeowners. They’re designed to help close the state’s billion dollar budget gap, by cutting down the availability of mortgage interest and property tax deductions.

But Medford resident Randy Bahm isn’t a fan.

“People need all the deductions they can get,” Bahm said.

He’s been keeping track of the two bills introduced in the Oregon Legislature this week. One of them would change the deductions he could claim on his property taxes.

“It will make the tax payment higher for us,” Bahm said.

House Bill 2771 would reduce or eliminate property tax deductions, depending on your annual income. Bahm falls in the $50,000 to $100,000 income range, meaning he could possibly deduct a percentage of his property taxes, but not all. For Oregon homeowners who make more than $125, or couples who make $250,000, deductions wouldn’t exist.

“If you can’t write off that property tax over an expensive house, that’s just one more reason people won’t want to move in,” Bahm said.

The other, House Bill 2006 would only allow homeowners to get mortgage interest deductions on their primary residence — meaning vacation homes or property rentals would be exempt.

That money would cover the state’s $1.6 billion deficit for the next two-year budget. A study done by Tax Fairness Oregon found homeowners are saving $1.9 billion every two years by claiming tax breaks on their mortgage interest, property taxes and capital gains.

Some might call that a fitting solution, but for Bahm, it’s less than ideal.

“It’s not a good idea, I think we need to find the money someplace else,” Bahm stated.

House Bill 2006 was reviewed Thursday morning by the House Human Services and Housing Committee, and both have since been referred to the Revenue Committee.

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