BEND, OR -- A group opposing a local gas tax ballot measure says if voters approve the 5-cent a gallon tax, there’s no guarantee that money will actually go toward fixing Bend’s roads. Jeff Eager, with the No Bend Gas Tax campaign, concedes the city has increased its streets budget, this year. "The problem is that it’s not actually finding its way into improving the streets; it’s going to administrative and personnel costs. And that’s a problem that needs to be fixed. Otherwise, what the voters in the city of Bend are looking at is a prospect of paying even more in the gas tax, on top of the .48 per gallon they already pay to the state and federal government that will go into a fund that is increasingly a fund to pay administrative costs." Eager points to money used in recent years to purchase new software and fund increasing facilities expenses.
He tells KBND News, "In the context of rapidly increasing general fund budgets, that budget is going up by 11% this budget cycle, or $9 million, there’s plenty of money to start improving our streets without levying a recessive tax, the higher gas tax in Oregon tied with the city of Eugene, on taxpayers in Bend."
Eager feels the City Council and a citizen committee failed to consider all viable options. "Councilor Victor Chudowski has come up with a plan that ties street funding to that growth in transient room tax. So, if the goal is to make sure tourists are paying their fair share of the streets – which is an admirable goal – that is a fund that is really paid only by tourists; unlike the gas tax, which is paid predominantly by those who live and work in Bend."
Bend voters will get the final say, March eighth. To hear our full conversation with Jeff Eager, click HERE
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