During the July 10 City Council meeting, members voted to adopt an employee-paid payroll tax. The Salem Area Chamber of Commerce has long supported sending this tax to a vote of the Salem electorate. However, that motion failed during the City Council meeting. More information can be found about the newly adopted ordinance here.
On Friday, Oregon Business & Industry (OBI) filed a petition to refer the ordinance to the voters on the November 2023 ballot. Approximately 4,000 valid signatures from registered voters in Salem are due August 9. Please read the following for ways you can engage in this effort:
IF YOU LIVE IN SALEM
Sign the petition and get your friends and neighbors to sign. Follow the instructions available at www.letsalemvote.com/sign. The Salem Area Chamber of Commerce is available as a drop-off location for completed petitions.
IF YOU DO NOT LIVE IN SALEM
Contact the people you know who live within the Salem city limits and urge them to sign the petition. Nothing prohibits you from collecting signatures from Salem residents interested in referring the tax to the ballot.
IF YOU OPERATE A BUSINESS IN SALEM
Please consider if you would be willing to place petition sheets in your business.
DONATE YOUR TIME
The fastest way to acquire signatures is to go out and collect some on behalf of the campaign. There are no shortcuts. This is an intense effort. Instructions for signature gathering are available at www.letsalemvote.com/sign. If you are willing and able to gather signatures, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
DONATE YOUR MONEY
An effort is being made to fund paid signature gatherers. Estimates for this program range between $100,000 -$150,000. This is in addition to other traditional expenses that accompany a campaign like this, such as printed materials, web hosting, and signage. Please contact email@example.com if you are interested in making a donation to the campaign. An online donate portal will also soon be available.
Through this process, the Salem Chamber Board of Directors has supported sending the employee-paid payroll tax proposal to a vote of the Salem electorate. The Salem Chamber’s official statement on the matter noted, “Just as residents were entrusted with their vote on the City of Salem’s $300m infrastructure bond, so too should they have been entrusted with this decision.”
Leading into this hearing, the Salem Chamber has advocated for additional budgetary prioritization to better reflect the needs of Salem residents, specifically placing funding priority to public safety and infrastructure. During his public testimony, Salem Chamber CEO Tom Hoffert explained: “The small business community has requested that local social service initiatives be financially reprioritized and funded only after public safety and infrastructure have received adequate funding in the City’s annual budgeting.”
This tax is slated to take effect in July 2024, but first needs to go through a Rule-making process as no implementation procedures have yet been established.
The Salem Chamber believes in helping businesses prosper so our entire community may thrive.