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October 17, 2023


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Vote for the payroll tax. It will hit working people. It will be hard to administer. But vote for the tax!

The payroll tax stinks, but Salem's leaders did a good job of looking at alternatives and rightly concluded this was the least stinky option.

The forerunners of the groups now working against this tax gave us our ridiculous Oregon property tax system, which is the principal cause of financial hardship facing local governments across the state. Long ago, when the city started to implement a more desirable approach to financing city operations, the Chamber of Commerce effectively bought the city council and repealed those plans.

OBI's representative, Preston Mann, acknowledges the city needs more revenue. He offers two alternatives, an operating levy and payments in lieu of property taxes by the state. An operating levy is a non starter. If we passed one, the city would get some of the money, but in Marion County that would come at the expense of other government units (notably the school district) due to property tax rate "compression."

As for payments in lieu, the state has turned a deaf ear on this for generations. If we pass this payroll tax, maybe the state will finally listen. I'm sure the city council would jump at the chance to reduce or eliminate the payroll tax if the state actually stepped up here.

If you want the city to maintain or improve its current levels of service, (hold your nose and) vote for the tax. If you prefer a future where city services are in decline, vote against it.

I got my ballot today. It comes with the official arguments in support and in opposition. The supporters are mostly human beings. The opponents are mostly corporate beings. Which of those are you, Ms. or Mr. voter?

It's not a payroll tax. It's an earned income tax. Payroll taxes are imposed on employers. The phrase "payroll tax" is highly misleading here because the tax would be paid by employees and self-employed people. When they try to fake you out about what it is, that should prompt a "no" vote right there.

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