Secretary of State’s Audit Shifts Blame from Failed Housing Policies

SALEM, Ore. – Yesterday, the Secretary of State released an audit of Oregon’s mortgage interest deduction. The document blames the deduction, that allows Oregonians to keep more of their own money, for many of Oregon’s housing woes.

“This ‘audit’ reads more like a political messaging memo than any real research,” said Deputy Senate Republican Leader Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River). “The Secretary is politicizing the Audits Division for her own partisan ends of shifting blame away from her party’s decades of housing policy failures onto a tool that hundreds of thousands of working-class families use to make ends meet.”

“Democrats continue to double down on failed housing policies that drive up the cost of housing while trying to run away from responsibility,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend). “In the middle of all this economic uncertainty, it’s unclear why the Secretary is attacking the one tax benefit that is available to working-class Oregonians.

“If Democrats want to eliminate the mortgage interest deduction, they will be voting to raise taxes on hundreds of thousands of Oregonians across the state. Increasing taxes on Oregonians won’t make housing more affordable. Republicans will fight any effort to curb this vital tax relief.”

Democrats have consistently opposed Republican-led efforts to make structural reforms to decrease the cost of housing. Last session, Democrats blocked a Republican effort to make the impact of housing regulation on the cost of housing more transparent by voting down SB 1537. Democrats also blocked HB 4118 which would have cleared roadblocks to the development of workforce housing

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