Eugene divided during public hearing on proposed payroll tax

During a public hearing on Tuesday night, Eugene residents expressed their support and disdain for a proposed payroll tax to fund community safety services.

Posted: May 28, 2019 11:30 PM
Updated: May 29, 2019 10:23 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Thoughts and feelings about a proposed payroll tax were poured out by the community during a public hearing on Tuesday evening.

On one hand, people voiced their support for a tax city officials said would bolster essential public services.

On the other, the tone was that a tax on hard-working employees isn't the answer.

RELATED: EUGENE PAYROLL TAX TO BE DISCUSSED TUESDAY NIGHT

The payroll tax would bring in about $23.6 million dollars to the city community safety fund according to city officials. About 65 percent would go to police, 10 percent to fire and emergency services, 15 percent would go to court services and 10 percent would go to homeless services.

One resident at the meeting said the council should make their decision and show a united front.

"A solution is about to be brought before you. The need is there and a proposal to help solve the issues is before us. If you truly believe that this $23.6 million payroll tax will make a difference, then I am asking you tonight to vote unanimously and with a real conviction in your hearts."

While people on the other side of the argument said people already strapped for a livable income will suffer.

"Oh we're going to tax that more. We're going to make it harder to get by in this city when there's already so many people living on its' margins," said another Eugene resident. "It simply doesn't make sense to take money from the people who are making the least money so that we can have more police."

The city council will take the comments made on Tuesday evening and use those to help them make their decision on the proposed tax at a future city council meeting.

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