TriMet wants to raise taxes on Portland-area businesses

Transit agency hopes to improve service with more revenue.

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TriMet wants to raise payroll taxes on Portland area businesses to fund improvements and expansion.

The transit agency is aiming to raise employer payroll tax rate by one-tenth of 1 percent over the next 10 years.

Payroll taxes currently fund more than 50 percent of the $510-million-a-year agency’s operations. The current tax rate is 0.7237 percent – or $7.237 per $1,000 of net earnings — paid to an employee or earned by a self-employed person. Bernie Bottomly, TriMet’s executive director of public policy, characterized the proposed hike as a “very small amount,” even for a medium-size businesses with several employees.

“If the board agrees to it,” Bottomly said, “it will be one-tenth of a percent (increase) over 10 years. That’s one one-hundredth a year.”


The first public hearing for the proposal is expected to be in August.

Agency officials also recently began meeting with large employers and business associations to present the plans and discuss the proposed increase. Discussions have taken place with representatives of Intel, Nike, the Portland Business Alliance and the Westside Economic Alliance, among others, even though the board does not need their approval to pass the increase.

“Everyone wants more service, so we have been talking with employers and business organizations about it,” says TriMet General Manager Neal McFarlane.

(SOURCE: Portland Tribune)

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