Friday, October 9, 2015

Yes for Cherriots Rally Tonight

Yes for Cherriots is holding a rally this evening at the Carousel!*

Folks for transit are gathering from 5pm to 7pm on Friday the 9th at the Riverfront Park Carousel.

They'll probably also be organizing for canvassing on Saturday and Sunday.

Something to consider for folks who think a property tax would be more equitable?

In addition to problems with "compression," there is the fact that the three biggest opponents of the payroll tax wouldn't pay property taxes either! (You can find the full list here at OreStar, the Secretary of State's database.)

The Hospital ($50,000) is a non-profit and Garmin ($35,000) and Norpac ($25,000) are enrolled in Enterprise Zones and have been receiving on-going property tax abatements for several years. Norpac is also getting a $6 million widening project at Madrona & 25th for truck traffic, and it will be paid for out of property taxes with the 2008 road bond. These firms already enjoy very favorable tax treatment!

Enterprise Zone Property Tax Abatements
URA Economic Activity Development 2012-13
Property taxes would not be a fairer way to fund transit.

Finally, there's the "other" set of taxes the Chamber wants Salemites to bear.

Our debate about funding transit with $5 million a year
should also include this about nearly $50 million a year


* I suppose it assumes you'll not be taking transit, though? There's not a route that serves Riverfront Park!

7 comments:

Alexander Kohan said...

It is amazing to me that Salem Health can be classified a non-profit when in 2013 they made $24 million dollars in profit. The executive in charge made about $719,000 in salary that year.

It is ridiculous that they are allowed to get away with paying virtually no property taxes. Their actions in regards to the Cherriots measure and the acquisition and development of the School for the Blind as well as their further treatment of the neighborhood shows that Salem Health has little regard for the Salem community.

That is what we get for having the current cabal of the city council, SEDCOR and Chamber of Commerce in charge of our city. A lack of regard for the people of Salem and a complete disinterest in serving anyone in Salem other than the rich and powerful.

Jim Scheppke said...

Alex, I believe the 2013 ORS 990 form on Guidestar.com states that Salem Hospital CEO Norm Gruber received total compensation of $1,116,703 in 2012. I wanted to make that correction.

Jim Scheppke said...

Great post SBOB! Isn't our free enterprise system exceptional?

I hope you will also blog about Rich Duncan's guest opinion posted on sj.com today. He also authored a letter that was sent to many households by the Chamber urging a 'no' vote on Cherriots. In his guest opinion he admits that he lives outside of the transit district boundaries, so he won't get to vote. Boo hoo! So here's the poster child for the 'no' campaign who lives on an estate in the country so he can avoid any personal tax liability for Salem transit, streets, parks, libraries, law enforcement and fire protection. etc. I'll feel so sorry for him if he has to pay a small payroll tax for his business,

Alexander Kohan said...

Jim, thanks for the correction. It looks like I got his salary from a site that did not calculate all of his earnings.

aterp1 said...

I am a small business owner who will be paying this tax if approved by voters. I have been very interested in this issue because my wife and I are also strong believers in public transportation. I agree on many of your points SBOB, especially regarding Salem Health.

As I've been gathering information on the issue, I've had conversations with many people including people at the Chamber of Commerce. They are pushing this "no" campaign based on what their membership has told them to do. I do not like the hard line the campaign is taking. However, the Chamber is trying to come up with what they see as more equitable ways to pay for an improved public transit system. I told them that they need to change their message and put more emphasis on the fact that a robust transit system is needed, but there are better ways to pay for it. The good thing is whether this measure passes or not, we are all talking about the importance of a good transportation system.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

(First, please no more about salaries and where people live. Those are ad hominem observations not related to the policy questions we want to discuss here.)

More interestingly: Is the Chamber really making a good-faith effort to develop an alternate funding plan? This seems doubtful from here.

Back in January the Chamber could have signalled to Cherriots that they were really, genuinely going to partner with Cherriots in formulating a better funding plan.

From the Chamber's January 21st letter to Cherriots:

"Since January 8, the Salem Chamber Executive Team and Board of Directors have held formal meetings to discuss the information presented to the Public Policy Committee [by Cherriots]. As a result of those meetings, it is clear that the Salem Chamber is strongly opposed to any payroll tax presented to voters...The Chamber would most likely lead formal opposition to any payroll tax campaign presented to voters as we feel the costs of expanded service should be shared more broadly across the community as a whole.

In regards to the other funding option...the Salem Chamber would not oppose a 5 year operating levy placed on the ballot for voter consideration. An expansion of evening and weekend service would benefit many in the community and we feel a strong campaign led by the Transit Board of Directors could result in success for your organizational goals.
"

About this time they also suggested seeking lottery funding.

The decision seems more top-down than "based on what their membership has told them to do," and it doesn't seem all that interested in actually formulating a viable funding plan. They've been very clear from the start they would oppose a payroll tax.

You may be more sanguine about the Chamber on this than the evidence really warrants. It's seems significant from here the distance implied by "your organizational goals" as opposed to language about common goals and interests.

At the same time, maybe there is an opportunity to revisit things like the gas tax and opening it up for things like transit; a carbon tax; ending policies that mandate and support excessive free parking; reforming property taxes with things like value resets at time of sale; etc.

Alexander Kohan said...

It is kind of interesting seeing the difference between the two opinion pieces written for the Statesman Journal.

The piece in favor of the Cherriots payroll tax by David Glennie included a lot of statistics saying how the tax would impact larger and smaller businesses in Salem. A lot of these statistics are in response to the Create Jobs Pac ad.

On the other hand Rich Duncan's op-ed seems to rely on a less qualitative argument. Instead he says that less money will go to charities, but he does not use any statistics to back up this claim. There is very little of his argument that seems to be evolved from fact.

It seems from what I have heard and read that the Transit Board reached out to the Chamber of Commerce. They seem to have evaluated all of the options and arrived at what they think is the best way to pay for it. It does not seem that the Chamber of Commerce has any alternate plan and their opposition seems to be just a knee jerk reaction to the payroll tax and not because they have a better plan.

One of the interesting ideas to me for funding the city and transit district would be to enact a very small income tax. It would be less than or equal to 1% and would be a progressive way (unlike the streelight fee) to pay for city services. There are several cities that already do this.

http://taxes.about.com/od/statetaxes/a/City-Income-Taxes.htm