Instead of arguing against that, let's simply take that claim at face value, and then let's look at a different "employer tax," one whose magnitude I suspect dwarfs that of the proposed payroll tax.
This will be a crappy first-order approximation, do note! I don't know the best way to make this analysis and argument, and I hope that you will be able help. Others must have made similar arguments before in other cities - Shoupistas? - and there must be at least the rudiments of a better analytical procedure out there. So if you know of a better way to run the numbers, please chime in! Maybe we can refine this with another iteration or two.
One important factor that hampers our ability to talk about funding transit is that the system of auto subsidy is invisible.
Here's a lot.
|Lots of parking lottage!|
One thing that is striking: About 3/4 of the land is devoted to free car temporary storage. In a different market the stalls might generate hourly revenue, or there might be fewer stalls and more building, with more room for the business or for a different business. The opportunity cost of not using land for something other than parking is non-zero.
Subsidizing free parking is a hidden tax on business.
According to the assessor's office on this parcel:
- Real Market Value of Land = $476,930
- RMV of improvements = $694,660
The business and property owner must also allocate some annual budget to maintenance and upkeep of the parking lot. I don't know what a good swag for that is. But it's non-zero. Let's say one hour per week for leaf-blowing and drain-clearing at $10/hour. So that's a little over $500 a year.
So if we round things, that's about $6,000 per year in taxes on a parking lot all by itself.
Now that's an Employer Tax!
If business owners find onerous the prospect of a payroll tax to fund evening and weekend transit service - something that Eugene and Portland do, and they enjoy much better transit than does Salem, so the Salem opposition also bucks local convention - then how much more onerous should they find the current system of parking subsidy?
And if you agree that a parking lot represents an inefficient use of land, we should want to invest more in transit so that parking lots and other wasted land can be put to more valuable use, enterprises that generate private profit and public tax money.
|How much does this thing cost to build, operate, and maintain?|
How much revenue does it generate directly?
If funding transit seems anti-business, how much more anti-business is our autoist system of car subsidy?