As we are midway through December and Christmas is upon us, I wanted to write a few things preparing you for what’s coming in 2018.
First, I have to give a huge shout out to Danielle Bethell and the Keizer Chamber of Commerce for another outstanding Holiday Lights Parade! Our city is served well by our Chamber and the great business owners that work tirelessly to make Keizer a great place to live.
I want you to be aware of what is coming in regards to the transportation package and how it is going to cost all of us some pretty substantial money. Starting in January not only will you be paying more for fuel, but there will be other taxes and fees that I don’t think are helpful to the vast majority of residents in Oregon.
For instance: the .05 percent vehicle privilege tax on all new vehicles sold in Oregon. Now if you are the Ford dealership in Keizer, you will certainly not “eat that.” You’ll have to pass it on to the consumer. The problem is not just in the tax, it’s where that money goes, not to roads and bridges but in the form of a “tax credit” to those who purchase electric vehicles. Therefore if you are buying a vehicle and live in Mitchell, Oregon, where it might be 100 miles from your home to the nearest larger city, you’ve just paid $300-600 for basically nothing. An electric car is something that rural Oregon has no need for. If you live in a large metro area, it might be a good thing as you might be inclined to purchase an electric vehicle with its limitations on distance it will travel between charges.
Later in July, all employees in Oregon, no matter where they live, will have .01 percent taken out of their paycheck to fund transit in what amounts to a handful of cities that have transit systems. Again, that’s great if you live in a metro area like Salem-Keizer but imagine if you live in Scio. You get nothing for that tax. Remember that payroll tax is on all employees everywhere in Oregon; and to make matters worse, a potential $250 fine to employers per employee if they don’t take that tax out of the employee’s paychecks. Neither of these taxes will benefit the vast majority of Oregonians. Let’s not forget there will be fairly heavy increased DMV fees and an increase in the truck weight/mileage fees (which means though you and I may not be paying that tax directly, we will pay more for the goods delivered by truck).
So, while we all want better roads and bridges and more safety on those roads and bridges, be prepared for more money out of your pocket and to not see much difference in our roads and bridges in our area. There has to be a more equitable way to fund our transportation across the entire state.
Looking ahead to 2018, I am anxious to serve you in the short session in February as I have two potential bills that I am working on. One is to protect seed farmers and another to protect teachers from misinterpreted law on mandatory reporting of sexual activity amongst high school students.
I hope to continue to fight for less and smarter government. I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year as well.
(Bill Post represents House Dis- trict 25. He can be reached at 503- 986-1425 or via email at rep.bilpost@ oregonlegislature.gov.)