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Oregon City resident files petition to get on the Nov. 3, 2020 general election ballot

Oregon City resident Zack Roberts has filed a petition with Oregon's Secretary of State to add a sales tax initiative to the Nov. 3, 2020 general election ballot. He hopes to get the 1,000 signatures necessary to get it on that general election ballot.

The 27-year old graduate of Redlands University in California, whose parents live in Canby, told the Herald he thinks local, state and federal budgets are strained and people pay too many taxes including income, property and payroll taxes.

"You can't raise taxes on the rich because they pay so much already and this is better than income tax because everyone will be paying the same," he added regarding a sales tax.

The petition asks that all state revenue transactions, except charitable and non-government, be taxed on a progressive scale at rates of 3 percent and 5 percent and collected by the Department of Revenue.

The petition divides taxable items into staples and luxuries.

Staples, such as food and clothing, would be taxed at a top rate of 3 percent. Staple items include goods and services that are included in the cost of living equation in the average monthly income of Oregon residents. Some of these, according to the petition, aren't immediately considered part of the cost of living but are necessary to maintain a staple in the cost of living equation.

Luxury goods and services would be taxed at a top rate of 5 percent. Luxury goods typically are cars and boats, houses, jewelry or goods and services that aren't considered in the cost of living equation.

Funding for the state budget will be tied to the value of taxes collected from transactions in specified sectors of the state's economy, which will be determined by the governor, according to Section 7 of the petition. It goes on to say that Congress can vote on where to tie budget funding with taxes received. Medical transactions will support Medicare and Medicaid provisions under the Affordable Care Act.

Finally, the petition calls for the Department of Environmental Quality to assess the external costs of living and business to collect environmental taxes under supervision of the Governor's policy with Congress voting on the rates assessed.

Roberts expects to keep property taxes, but scrap income tax and use his sales tax idea. That way, it will even out among everyone. Buying groceries or clothes or sheets and towels will all be taxed at a 3 percent rate while all jewelry would be taxed at 5 percent. Unfortunately some people won't be able to afford jewelry or boats or other luxury items and others who don't have a lot of money can't afford sheets and towels.

He said he's thought about it for a long time and continues to work out the idea and the numbers.

Carol Rosen
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