An Editorial: Taxes — Governments Desperate for Money

In spite of billions of dollars being dropped on states by the federal government, and sometimes even state governments, local governments continue to be desperate for new dollars.

The example here is the city of Salem, Oregon and the state of Oregon. The Salem City Council has adopted a wage tax. In all, the plan is to tax residents working in the city about $27 million a year.

Here’s how it works. The wage tax is 0.814% of all wages earned within the city. The average worker will pay between $300 and $700 each year. The impact on lower income workers is obvious.

If they notice, for high end earners, it’s an irritation.

By the way, the city did not allow the citizens to vote on the tax. A petition campaign has been started to give voters a shot at saying yes or no to the tax. Judging by other actions turned down by voters in Oregon, it’s more than likely that the city council will be told no on this tax.

Here are some examples of what else is going on in Oregon.

  • This year, Oregon’s Multnomah County (the Portland area) tried to pass a capital gains tax. It was voted down.
  • Last year Josephine County attempted to pass a sales tax. It, too, was voted down at the ballot box.
  • In 2020 Multnomah County, Clackamas County and Washington counties (the Portland, Beaverton, Oregon City area) tried to increase the income tax. The voters in Clackamas and Washington counties were not fooled and said no. Portland area residents said yes.
  • In 2019, Hood River, Oregon residents said no to a sales tax.
  • In 2018, Portland, Oregon voters refused to allow the city to pass a business tax.

This story talks about Oregon. But similar things are happening in cities and counties in other PIA Western Alliance states and other states around the country.

The sad thing is that with local news more or less disappearing via the death of the local newspaper and radio and TV station news mostly focused on crime, or national news, cities, counties and state governments are can pass tax increases without much input from citizens, and without much fuss.

Most of the time the people have no clue what cities and counties — and states and the federal government — want to do with those tax dollars. And when taxes are levied, a big percentage of the tax goes to those administering the program, and — if other companies are involved in doing the work — an even higher percentage of the tax goes to those companies.

What’s left takes care of whatever program is being targeted.

The people — as noted earlier — rarely know where those local, county, state and federal government tax dollars are going. Most just don’t pay attention, and if they do, they grumble a bit, and then go back to paying attention to whatever is on their phones or their televisions.

It’s too complicated to respond. And even if someone does, calling an elected official often means fighting through a complicated phone tree, and if a person somehow make it through all those prompts, they end up having to leave a voice message that is often ignored.

Voicemail, email and texting have become weapons politicians and government workers often use to protect themselves from criticism from citizens.

Fortunately, there are watchdogs — like Oregon Catalyst where we found this story — paying attention to what government is doing. But they are few and far between and are often overwhelmed by the task, and lack the necessary funding to do a better job.

And even if they did a better job, would the voters actually pay attention or care?

Source link: Oregon Catalyst —

Source link: OregonCatalyst —

About PIA Western Alliance

The Professional Insurance Agents Western Alliance is a membership organization promoting and enhancing the success of independent agencies seeking to grow, learn and be heard within the industry.


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