Gas Taxes Another Burden on Local Businesses


med_Pamelas_Mug_copy55On March 9 voters in Redmond, Sister and Madras will vote on a gas tax within the boundaries of each of those cities.

Redmond elected officials want the additional funds from their 3-cent a gallon tax for road maintenance projects that would go into effect January 2011.

The Madras tax begins at 1-cent a gallon on January 2011 and increases to 2 cents on July 1, 2011, then 3 cents on January 2012.

Sisters 3-cent tax would go into effect immediately.

All three tax measures were referred to voters by a petition drive.

On top of these three new potential taxes the legislature enacted a 6-cent Oregon-wide tax that goes into effect January 2011 and funds transportation projects.

While the 3-cent increase is not likely to break anyone’s pocketbook, the combination of these and other tax increases will certainly be a cumulative burden on local business owners, especially those that depend on company vehicles for their business.

Strategically it is interesting that residents in any of those three cities might choose to completely boycott the tax and buy their gas in Terrebonne (lucky for them) or in Bend.

It seems that the economic challenges facing Central Oregonians suggest any new tax would not be welcome.

Note: These taxes were approved by local officials before September 28, 2009 to take advantage of a three-month window before a five-year moratorium imposed by the Legislature begins. The Oregon Petroleum Association believes all they had to do to defeat most of the tax increases is collect enough signatures to put them on the ballot because any election will be after the moratorium’s September 28 deadline.

But the cities contend the critical date is when city councils approve the taxes, regardless of whether they go to voters. That issue is likely to be resolved in the courts. PHA


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