Press release from the Taxpayer Association of Oregon 1-30-08: REQUEST A PETITION HERE!
COALITION TO REFER STREET MAINTENANCE TAX TO BALLOT
A coalition of small business owners and Portland taxpayers will seek to refer the Street Maintenance Tax passed today by the Portland City Council to the Portland voters. The coalition includes small convenience stores including the Korean American Grocery Retailer Association, the Taxpayer Association of Oregon, Americans for Prosperity Oregon Chapter, gas station owners, transportation critics Jim Karlock of Saveportland.org, Craig Flynn of ORTEM, among other groups and citizen activists…and also including aerial support from radio host Victoria Taft (featured on KPAM 860) and radio host Lars Larson (featured on KXL 750). Taft is especially noted because she was declined the right to testify on the street tax before City Council (must read story here).
Jason Williams, founder of the Taxpayer Association of Oregon, made the following statement on the referral:
“The city of Portland has once again turned to City taxpayers to dig them out of a long history of fiscal irresponsibility. Commissioner Sam Adams has worked at the City since 1991, yet has failed in over 15 years with the City to use previously dedicated road maintenance funds to fix Portland’s roads. Our elected officials have shirked their own responsibility and put pet projects like the OHSU Tram and the Street Car in front of essential transportation needs like fixing potholes and improving intersections. Portlanders should have the right to decide whether to make small businesses and homeowners pay to clean up the city council’s own mess. The people deserve the final say on this issue.”
Coalition members also cited the political games and Commissioner Adams’ “bait & switch” tactics. They cited Adams’ attempt to prevent a public vote on his tax by dividing the one ordinance into three separate ordinances, successfully doubling the cost of a referral effort.
“Adams cited the City Attorney’s opinion recommending he divide the ordinances into three to prevent a “˜single subject’ legal challenge, which we later found out was completely fabricated,” said Lila Leathers, who owns Leathers Fuels in Portland.
“The process at the City has been purely games, backroom dealing, and a bait & switch effort designed to keep this new tax out of the hands of Portland’s voters,” said Leathers.
The Coalition will begin collecting signatures immediately.
“Citizens should have a right to vote on such taxes. They should not be left out of the process, especially since they are the ones paying for it. ” Said Don McIntire, President of the Taxpayer Association of Oregon.