In Salem, a hostage taking

I wrote the other day about the new tax on workers that's being voted on in the City of Salem. The media's been lazily calling it a "payroll tax," but that's not what it is. It's a tax on all earned income, and it's imposed on employees and self-employed people, not employers.

Anyway, it's predictable that when they want new taxes, the politicians take hostages. We see Dandy Dan Ryan and Chainsaw Rubio doing this in Portland with the parks. In Salem, the pawns du jour are the homeless. Suddenly, there's no money for winter shelters, and so the narrative is that if the voters down there don't approve the earned income tax on November 7, people are going to freeze to death.

Salem Mayor Chris Hoy said they were using state money they received during the pandemic to run emergency warming centers, but that money was redirected a few months ago. It’s not clear what it’s being used for now.

“It’s a big problem for us when we aren’t able to shelter people during cold spells — people die, and that’s not OK,” Hoy said. “We’re doing all we can to make sure that we keep people safe.”

Salem has $150,000 to put toward warming centers. They need $850,000 more, so they’re asking the state to step in and coming up with other immediate options.

Money is fungible, folks. I'm sure you could find $850,000 of waste in the Salem city budget within 10 mnutes of starting to look at it. Alternatively, Salem might do what a lot of other towns do: Give each homeless person a free bus ticket to a place where the temperatures are higher and there's no danger of freezing.


  1. Raising taxes is a lot easier than demanding an accountable budget/spending procedure.

  2. So many people pissed off right now, they don't need "warming centers"...


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