Salem registered voters will have the opportunity to vote on Measure 24-491 in the upcoming election. This measure creates an employee-paid payroll tax at an uncapped rate of .814%, imposed on all work performed in the City of Salem with restricted uses for administration of the tax, community safety and unsheltered services.
At the Salem Chamber, we believe in helping businesses prosper so our entire community may thrive. While sympathetic to the budget challenges facing the City of Salem, the Salem Chamber Board of Directors is in OPPOSITION to the payroll tax ballot measure, appearing in front of Salem residents on the November 7, 2023 ballot.
REASONING FOR POSITION IN OPPOSITION:
There are several pertinent details on collection of the tax that remain nebulous, at best. This tax has no cap on percentage rate for collection, meaning Council may elect to increase the rate at their discretion, without consent from the voters. There is no definitive answer to Salem residents regarding the cost of implementation and administration of the proposed tax. Further, rulemaking on how businesses would self-allocate the time of their employees work within the City limits versus work conducted outside of the City is assumptive on reporting methods currently not established nor vetted by employers. We view this ambiguity as yet another challenging layer of government overlay on the very businesses for which financial stability and success is predicated on for their contribution to the federal, state, and local taxbase. Without Salem companies thriving and growing, our tax base for government programs and services wither alongside the local businesses experiencing the economic decline. We believe deeply that fostering local economic growth within our private sector companies provides additional paychecks into the local economic ecosystem, benefiting our entire community.
We believe the annual City of Salem budget ought be constructed on the foundational principles of funding public safety, infrastructure, and essential services first. The Salem Chamber is a committed active participant in any and all future revenue discussions as a partner to the City of Salem and the small businesses calling our city home.