Oregon House Democrats pitched a plan to overhaul the way the state taxes businesses Thursday. The proposal is part of an effort to bridge a $1.6 billion shortfall in the upcoming budget, but Democrats say their efforts would benefit the state for years to come.

Under the proposal, most Oregon businesses would pay a flat tax of $250 per year. Those with Oregon sales that top $5 million a year would pay a 0.95 percent tax on sales. The new tax would replace the existing corporate income tax, which is based on a company’s profitability.

Eugene Rep. Nancy Nathanson is the chief budget writer for House Democrats. She says the goal is to do more than simply patch up the short-term spending plan. “Instead of ending up with something mediocre, is there something new we can do and make a significant new investment in education that will actually move the dial,” said Nathanson at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Tax Reform.