'Fore we see it, you take it

The city flag, Salem, Ore.

When it comes to oppressive local taxes, it's hard to do worse than Portland, Oregon. Here in the Rose City, you have your city business tax, your county business tax, your Tri-Met payroll tax, your Tri-Met self-employment tax, your county income tax, your city gasoline retail sales tax, your Metro government income tax, your city arts tax, your city Uber tax, and the bureaucrats sit around all day dreaming up new ones – all of this on top of onerous property taxes and hideous water and sewer bills.

"But no sales tax!" the politicians will say. That's like saying it's 130 degrees in Death Valley this week "but it's a dry heat!"

Anyway, if you want to get away from all the wicked local taxes in Portland, don't go running to Salem. The city council there has decided that this is a good time for a new city payroll tax of 0.814 percent, backed up a self-employment tax at the same rate.  Oh, and you employees out there, take note: If your employer skips on the payroll tax, you get to pay it to the city yourself. The ordinance purports to apply to state workers just like everyone else who performs services within the city limits of the state's capital. But people who make minimum wage reportedly won't be taxed.

Apparently the new tax will take effect next July 1. I suppose the voters could force it onto the ballot and stop it between now and then. They'd be wise to do so.

Why a new city tax all of a sudden? They say it's to help fund police, firefighters, and "homelessness services." It's supposed to raise $29 million a year. The city's overall budget looks something like $750 million a year. Including many millions for "urban renewal," of course.

Salem will never be as unfriendly to business as Portland is – that's not possible. But they are headed in that direction. Anyone who would invest money to site or expand a substantial, legitimate business operation in either city must be nuts.

And don't think you'll escape entirely by heading further south to Eugene. Their city payroll tax (also imposed on self-employed people) has been up and running for a while now. But its rate is only 0.21 percent at the moment. Such a bargain.

Roseburg is another hour or so down the road. And about 75 years ago.


  1. Demoncrats = Taxes. It's the only tool in their shed. Keep voting for the same dimwits, keep getting more taxes.

    1. ^republicans got their own taxes & pet projects;
      -Speeding tickets/fines & police harassment
      -minority harassment
      -car dependent infrastructure & detached sprawl.
      -one or two local barons in a dirty industry in a shit town.

      Sure, they don’t put their brand of ‘equity’ on it w/outrageous real estate prices, cost increases & taxation with a vengeance/liberal puritanical scolding or ‘for the arts’ , but you’re ‘paying,’ either way?
      Pick your poison?

      There’s no easy alternative or organizing principle or incentive, otherwise?

      I really would rather just get rid of Salem entirely in some ways and move the capital back to Oregon City?

      At least our overpriced public transit could reach it, tho it’d be a bit close to lake Oswego snd west linn for comfort, but if those guys got mugged or beaten daring to come over the bridge, idk that that’d be a great loss?
      Come thru felony flats, incestacada, filth/meth-waukie, we dare ya?
      And it’d also be a huge pain in the ass for the alohabeaverboro crowd to get to?
      No loss there? They’re adding a lane to 217, wouldn’t mess with me out in the county?

      I want to like Oregon Shitty; it’s shitty in a way I like, but you gotta go thru all bad places to get to it (felony flats, Milwaukie, & west linn/LO) & it’s a little *too* far from Portland, even with the better bypass for 212/224 & maybe if you got rid of most of the stop lights on 99E & the Milwaukie (non) expressway & made that controlled access somehow?

      WA kinda has it right in the sales tax, but not on food and more PUD power (tho Seattle light rates aren’t a *lot* less than PGE (similar rates to Eugene’s co-op), but Clark PUD sure is?), but businesses have gross receipts tax and the party probably won’t go on forever in WA, either just like it didn’t in CA & WA/Seattle is way late to the party compared to Portland & seems totally water-headed on planning/actively hostile to it w/tons of federal/military tech subsidy (for now) that we never got as much of.
      & they don’t have the cap on property tax like CA & then OR got ~20 years later (which has its downsides for sure?) & permitting is often a huge pain in most counties even for ‘like replacement’ like replacing a lousy water heater etc.

      $200k/yr pay for an unelected bureaucrat w/car allowance & free time to work a second job?
      That’ll breed some resentment…understandably?
      Maybe that makes me a conservative (tho they’re sure not my bedfellows), but I definitely fear the backlash from Hardesty amateur hour, elitist liberal puritanical scolding etc.?

      It’s either gotta be competent and universal w/minimal bureaucratic waste & easy to administer or do without it then or time goes on?

    2. +1 on Salem feeling like you’re going back 35-40 years, which is about when we started to get more of the Katz & Goldschmidt pet projects, appropriately enough they’re just starting to get a cherry picking of our idiotic ideas.

      Roseburg, idk if it’s 50 or 75 years backwater, but a ways (while?) for sure?
      Roseburg & coos seem like some of the most backward.

      Astoria, Columbia county (no Trojan nuclear plant jobs nor as many mills) feel kinda OK to me or Hood River/parkdale I’d you’ve got a govt, or high paying outdoor electrician job or something of what’s left of Californicated Oregone?

  2. Gotta feed the PERS.

  3. Sometimes rhetoric causes my head to spin. I think I’ll wait a while and read the posts again.


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