BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors have discussed the idea of a gas tax to help pay for badly needed street improvements. But local Republicans think it's a bad idea, and they're ready to campaign against it.
Reagan Knopp, Chair of the Deschutes County Republican Party, says they are getting out in front of the issue. "We've been hearing lots of City Councilors talking about a gas tax. We looked into the city's budget which is increasing by $10 million. In the state of Oregon, we pay 50 cents a gallon in federal and state taxes. We're not sure Oregonians can afford that with the legislature's new hidden tax that is expected to increase the price of gas. We're very concerned it's hurting small businesses and working families."
City officials have discussed a 5 cents per gallon tax that could raise an estimated $2.5 million annually. Councilors say it has put off more than $80 million in deferred street maintenance.
Knopp tells KBND, "Deschutes County Republicans are going to be out in front of this and bring a voice to the opposition. We think the City Council needs to take a hard look and keep looking for solutions in the next budget before looking for new taxes." He plans to organize a grassroots effort to fight plans to put a gas tax initiative on the ballot this November.