BEND,OR -- Should the city of Bend approve a gas tax? The Bend City Council is considering asking the public that question this November. Monday, councilors heard the results of a recent phone survey that showed a majority of respondents would support such a tax.
But Bend City Councilor Victor Chudowsky is skeptical. He agrees road work is needed and additional funds must be found, but he's not sure a gas tax is the answer. "My own personal feeling is the city's position is not a strong one. The reason is its difficult to convince voters to approve a tax when the city's revenue is going up."
The city survey conducted by DHM Research found that 63 percent of those polled would support a gas tax. Chudowsky thinks the funds for road improvements could come from increased tax revenues and savings in the current budget.
A Portland firm did its own survey recently on public opinion on a local gas tax -- and came up with a very different result. It found a majority of respondents oppose a gas tax.
Local attorney Jeff Eager, represents the group of businesses in the fuel industry. "What happened is I saw the questions the city was going to ask and I could tell that their survey was going to overstate voters approval for a gas tax. My clients agreed to pay money for our own poll and we were more direct in how we asked the big questions."
Eager says they believe there is enough funds in the existing city budget with projected tax revenue increases to fund the deferred road projects.