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Oregon Considering Payroll Tax for Transit

Traditionally pro-transit organizations have come out against a proposal to create a new payroll tax to fund bus transit improvements.
February 12, 2016, 8am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Elliot Njus reports on a controversial new under consideration by the Oregon State Legislature.

Senate Bill 1521 would allow transit agencies that collect a payroll tax to also collect up to $1.85 per $1,000 in wages from employees. Rather than being paid by the employer, the new tax would be deducted from the employee's paycheck.

Njus adds: "The additional tax would be restricted to improving or maintaining bus service. It couldn't be used for other modes of transportation, such as light rail." Employers inside the area served by TriMet would be affected by the bill, along with areas served by transit agencies in Lane County, Wilsonville, Sandy, Canby, and South Clackamas.

Njus also provides insight into the political coalitions on either side of the bill's issues. Some traditionally pro-transit groups have already come out in opposition to the bill.

Michael Andersen followed that mainstream news coverage of the bill with an in-depth article for Bike Portland. Andersen provides additional details about how the tax would work, before noting the amount of funding it would create and the service capacity that funding would allow. Andersen also provides more ink to the opinions of the organizations opposing the bill, "because the tax would fall flatly on both rich and poor workers…"

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Published on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 in The Oregonian
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