Despite voters rejecting an income tax four months ago, Lane County politicians forced it upon the voters anyways. On Thursday Lane County held an afternoon hearing where few working families could attend, and enacted the state’s only county income tax. This is not the first time government snubbed voters. In 2003 voters rejected the big Measure 28 income tax hike, only to have the politicians in Salem approve a bigger income tax six months later.
Multnomah County had an income tax. The tax drove out many taxpayers and business. It was so unpopular in its third year (in the 30% range) that the politicians dared not renew it. Renewing the tax is something Lane County doesn’t have to worry about, because they enacted it without a sunset or time limit.
Lane County felt they had no choice with the looming loss of federal timber payments. There are always choices. But voters were left out in the cold. Alternative tax plans or increased timber harvesting should have been part of the debate, but wasn’t.
Last November, the County politicians help raise over a half million to sell their tax plan to voters. Voters didn’t buy it. Rumor has it that many who funded the November tax withdrew support for a new tax. In the end, the politicians just ran over everyone and rushed to their decision. Lane County taxpayers deserve more choices, deserve much better.