Tuesday, July 11, 2023
Contact: Tom Hoffert/503-581-1466 (x311)

Salem, OR – During the July 10, 2023 Salem City Council meeting a public hearing for an employee-paid payroll tax was held followed by a second reading where the Council voted to enact the proposed tax.

A capacity crowd filled the Council Chambers and testimony went on for nearly two and a half hours. The overwhelming majority of comments were in opposition to taxing employee wages, particularly without a vote of the people.

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.


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