Jul 5, 2006

County Business Income Tax Fireworks Begin

Vote bodes less money for east county cities
As reported in the June 24 Oregonian,
"Despite an appeal by east Multnomah County leaders, Multnomah County's Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 Thursday to begin terminating a 30-year arrangement that sent millions in countywide business income taxes to the cities of Gresham, Troutdale, Fairview and Wood Village."

The negative financial impact on Troutdale would be approximately $500,000, or about 6% of our general fund budget. If we lose this revenue, we will be staring at the probability of city employee layoffs, reduced police and fire protection, little or no parks maintenance, no recreation program, etc.

The county and the cities negotiated in 1985 to share the count business tax revenues in order to prevent us from imposing our own business taxes. If east county businesses have to pay both a county AND a city business tax, this would spell disaster. We would no longer be competitive with other jurisdictions outside Multnomah County when it comes to business retention/recruitment. And our citizens would be penalized with higher prices.

This financial declaration of war by the County Commission is only the beginning. It is believed by many elected officials in Gresham, Troutdale, Wood Village and Fairview, including myself, that the County Commission's next step will be to divide and conquer the east county cities.

The county is likely to attempt separate negotiations with each city for a much smaller, revised county business income tax share. They'll probably throw a small bone to each city, while saying take it or leave it. Imagine the fireworks that will fly if the pro-rated share of the business income tax was substantially altered.

It's in the best interest of the cities of Troutdale, Gresham, Fairview and Wood Village to stand together in this matter. We need to fight back with one voice to stop this financial disaster for East Multnomah County.

Technorati tags: Troutdale, Gresham, Multnomah County business income tax

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