Canby rolls out gas tax, street tax. Your city next?

Tax Alert from Jarrett Hamstreet 1/17/08:

This month, the Canby City Council unilaterally raised taxes on city residents and businesses by $12 million over 20 years. By a 4-3 vote, the Council approved a 3 cent per gallon gas tax on all gas sold in Canby. This will cost consumers an extra $187,500 per year on top of the already record-high prices we are paying at the pump. Additionally, the Council voted 4-2 to impose a street maintenance fee that will be added to the sewer bills of all Canby homes and businesses. This new fee will cost taxpayers $421,500 annually.

Both of these taxes are being imposed to help fund additional street maintenance in Canby. While a gas tax and street fee are unprecedented in Canby, the Council voted to deny repeated requests by Canby citizens to refer these tax increases to voters at the May election.

Voters should have the opportunity to decide such a monumental policy shift, especially since the City of Canby spends only 21% of its $800,000 street maintenance budget on actual road repairs. The rest is eaten up by staff costs, administrative overhead, and bike lanes.

There is still an opportunity for Canby voters to decide this issue. Local citizens and business owners have formed “Let Canby Vote,” a political action committee to collect signatures to put the tax increases to a vote of the people. They need to collect 1000 signatures by February 1st in order to ensure that voters can decide whether they want to pay more taxes. If you are a registered voter in Canby, contact Jarret Hamstreet at (503) 467-6187 or [email protected] to sign the petition.