Previous Street Tax bad news for Portland

butler-tomBy Tom Butler,
Taxpayer Association of Oregon

Over a decade ago, the Ontario, Oregon City Council passed its own version of a city street maintenance tax. You know, one of those “good taxes” that you never have to pay, but someone else pays it for you! 100% of the new hotel/motel tax would pay for all of the deferred street improvements while the city residents sat back happily enjoying better streets and no pain.

Today, not a dime of the hostelry tax is spent on Ontario’s streets – which shouldn’t surprise anyone! The decade-long dispute over where the street maintenance tax money was spent has filled with “exceptions” our required annual municipal audit reports. Some money may go to policing the weedy streets. Some may be in the fire department budget who also have to navigate crumbling streets.

The streets themselves…? About the same as they were before City Hall landed on the perfect solution!

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Jack Lord God

    The central phrase with all of this is “deferred maintenance”. In other words what is being said is – yes we already have taxes to pay for the streets, but we decided to spend it elsewhere, and now we want you to give us more money and this time we promise not to take it to spend on other things.

    I don’t really know why anyone falls for this. All over the country there is this same problem. Has it really been the case that in every local governments sphere, massive unforeseen circumstances arose that necessitated a raiding of road repair taxes? Or do we more often see things like stunning bike paths, massive useless trolley projects and astonishingly expensive bus shelters with art displays? In my experience it is the latter. The money has been stolen and now we are to trust you not to do it again? Seems problematic.

  • Bob Clark

    It’s Lucy, the football, and Charlie Brown played over and over again especially at Portland City Hall. Each time the politcos on the Council say: “This time is different. Your extra tax/fee dollars really will go towards maintaining the streets this time. But like Charlie Brown, he goes to kick the football only to have Lucy pull the ball causing Charlie Brown to end up on his back. The only difference might be in Portland’s case, it is “Street Car” Charlie who fiends street repair.

    Unfortunately, the electorate usually has a real short memory, especially in Portland where much of the electorate is wet behind the ears not having much experience with good intentions by government failing time and time again in practice.

    • Jack Lord God

      It takes true hubris to steal money you have extracted from the populace, spend it on your friends, and then come back and claim “good intentions”.

  • thevillageidiot

    Portland needs more taxe. the more the better. just look how well it worked for detroit. it took decades before they went bankrupt. Ontario oregon is not yet bankrupt. it takes decades but eventually it will happen. GOOOO PORTLAND!!!!!

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