Our Stories

When the legislature was digging out of the last recession, Oregonians told me they had three priorities: Jobs, jobs and jobs. As we wrestled with policies to get people back to work, a payroll tax was considered taboo. It was never considered by democrats or republicans because it was widely seen as a tax that penalized employers for hiring people. This was exactly opposite of what Oregon needed. So, I was surprised Metro decided upon a steep payroll tax during the worse recession most of us have ever seen. 

— Senator Mark Hass

After raising taxes on business profits, property and personal income, Metro thinks it needs a new tax on wages and compensation? Leave working people’s paychecks, health care benefits, and retirement savings alone! In case you didn’t notice, more than 300,000 Oregonians have lost their jobs in the last year. Many Metro businesses have been destroyed by the economy and the protests downtown. Metro’s arrogant administration thinks this is the time to see if they can sneak in a new permanent tax on those people who still have a job? They want to make it harder for restaurants to stay open?

— Senator Betsy Johnson

As a State Representative serving the people of Beaverton and Aloha, I can’t remain silent as Metro seeks to create a permanent tax on labor in the tri-county area. I’m not opposed to taxes when necessary and well used. But right now our priorities need to be getting our schools safely opened, keeping our community together, and protecting jobs.

— Representative Jeff Barker

Many of us midsize employers are paddling hard upstream to make sure we mitigate the economic hardships brought by the virus. The people promoting these very unfair taxes perhaps don’t understand that they are not only alienating employers like me, but they are making life a lot more expensive and limiting opportunities for the people on the lower economic scale. 

— Manuel A. Castaneda, PLi Systems

When the legislature was digging out of the last recession, Oregonians told me they had three priorities: Jobs, jobs and jobs. As we wrestled with policies to get people back to work, a payroll tax was considered taboo. It was never considered by democrats or republicans because it was widely seen as a tax that penalized employers for hiring people. This was exactly opposite of what Oregon needed. So, I was surprised Metro decided upon a steep payroll tax during the worse recession most of us have ever seen. 

— Senator Mark Hass

After raising taxes on business profits, property and personal income, Metro thinks it needs a new tax on wages and compensation? Leave working people’s paychecks, health care benefits, and retirement savings alone! In case you didn’t notice, more than 300,000 Oregonians have lost their jobs in the last year. Many Metro businesses have been destroyed by the economy and the protests downtown. Metro’s arrogant administration thinks this is the time to see if they can sneak in a new permanent tax on those people who still have a job? They want to make it harder for restaurants to stay open?

— Senator Betsy Johnson

As a State Representative serving the people of Beaverton and Aloha, I can’t remain silent as Metro seeks to create a permanent tax on labor in the tri-county area. I’m not opposed to taxes when necessary and well used. But right now our priorities need to be getting our schools safely opened, keeping our community together, and protecting jobs.

— Representative Jeff Barker

Many of us midsize employers are paddling hard upstream to make sure we mitigate the economic hardships brought by the virus. The people promoting these very unfair taxes perhaps don’t understand that they are not only alienating employers like me, but they are making life a lot more expensive and limiting opportunities for the people on the lower economic scale. 

— Manuel A. Castaneda, PLi Systems

I built my company from scratch and I’ve fought to keep it strong even during this pandemic. We simply can’t absorb a new payroll tax without being forced to either cut jobs, cut wages or both. I don’t want Metro’s new tax to force me to make this decision. It’s heartbreaking.

— Tony Iyke, The House of Rose at Bridgeport Plaza

Business cannot take on additional taxes at this time and the projects need complete review given what our post-pandemic commuting/work/travel needs will be. We are at least a year or two away from being able to assess what will be needed. We cannot take additional job losses in our economy which is exactly what will happen if this passes.

— Lorraine Clarno, Beaverton Chamber of Commerce

Metro’s job-tax proposal is the wrong thing at the wrong time. We are trying to get people back to work and get the region’s economy moving forward again. Metro’s tax would crush the progress we are trying to make.

— Errin Caudle, JPSI Construction

Metro needs to stop piling new taxes on top of new taxes. No matter how worthy the causes, these politicians should hit the pause button. We are struggling to keep folks employed right now. We can’t afford another tax that does not end.

— Mark Spiegelberg, The Barbers

I built my company from scratch and I’ve fought to keep it strong even during this pandemic. We simply can’t absorb a new payroll tax without being forced to either cut jobs, cut wages or both. I don’t want Metro’s new tax to force me to make this decision. It’s heartbreaking.

— Tony Iyke, The House of Rose at Bridgeport Plaza

Business cannot take on additional taxes at this time and the projects need complete review given what our post-pandemic commuting/work/travel needs will be. We are at least a year or two away from being able to assess what will be needed. We cannot take additional job losses in our economy which is exactly what will happen if this passes.

— Lorraine Clarno, Beaverton Chamber of Commerce

Metro’s job-tax proposal is the wrong thing at the wrong time. We are trying to get people back to work and get the region’s economy moving forward again. Metro’s tax would crush the progress we are trying to make.

— Errin Caudle, JPSI Construction

Metro needs to stop piling new taxes on top of new taxes. No matter how worthy the causes, these politicians should hit the pause button. We are struggling to keep folks employed right now. We can’t afford another tax that does not end.

— Mark Spiegelberg, The Barbers

This tax kicks businesses while they’re down. It taxes every single dollar of wages and benefits. This will prevent some businesses from hiring or rehiring people because they simply won’t be able to afford the tax. We can’t give Metro the blank check of a forever tax when we are in the middle of a global pandemic that is reshaping how people work and commute. We can’t squeeze more out of businesses who have nothing left to give. 

— Deanna Palm, Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce

All metro-area employers would be affected by another tax on wages. We, with less than 25 employees, will see our suppliers pass their cost increases on to us. This tax goes on forever – there’s NO end to METRO taking our wages, even after the transportation projects are completed.

— Jayne Bond, Permapost Products Company

It seems exceedingly unwise to impose a payroll tax in the midst of the highest unemployment since the Great Depression, on the very thing we will need to get out of this economic crisis: Jobs. I’m one of your standard orthodox Portlanders who votes in support of nearly every measure on the ballot—from greenspaces to affordable housing. But not this one, certainly not now. How out of touch do you have to be to think this is the right tax when businesses that have been here for decades are reeling, and with so many families suffering? This is a clear No vote. While we will surely need to make investments in our transportation system, it is policymaking at its worst to tie taxpayers to projects and programs that may not make as much sense after we get through the pandemic. People understand intuitively that the paradigm under which this measure was formulated will change. We’re already modifying our behavior through information and communications technology, and the permanent impacts of that on the transportation system need to be better understood. I urge voters to take a judicious route—and Vote No on what amounts to a tax on jobs when we need them most.

— Deane Funk, Community Leader

The pandemic has shuttered my businesses and drained our resources. This new tax could prevent us from safely reopening, retaining all of our current employees or hiring new employees in our fitness center and trampoline parks. We business owners cannot afford more taxes as the Oregon economy recovers.

— Elizabeth Kramer, CEO, Envista Group

This tax kicks businesses while they’re down. It taxes every single dollar of wages and benefits. This will prevent some businesses from hiring or rehiring people because they simply won’t be able to afford the tax. We can’t give Metro the blank check of a forever tax when we are in the middle of a global pandemic that is reshaping how people work and commute. We can’t squeeze more out of businesses who have nothing left to give. 

— Deanna Palm, Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce

All metro-area employers would be affected by another tax on wages. We, with less than 25 employees, will see our suppliers pass their cost increases on to us. This tax goes on forever – there’s NO end to METRO taking our wages, even after the transportation projects are completed.

— Jayne Bond, Permapost Products Company

It seems exceedingly unwise to impose a payroll tax in the midst of the highest unemployment since the Great Depression, on the very thing we will need to get out of this economic crisis: Jobs. I’m one of your standard orthodox Portlanders who votes in support of nearly every measure on the ballot—from greenspaces to affordable housing. But not this one, certainly not now. How out of touch do you have to be to think this is the right tax when businesses that have been here for decades are reeling, and with so many families suffering? This is a clear No vote. While we will surely need to make investments in our transportation system, it is policymaking at its worst to tie taxpayers to projects and programs that may not make as much sense after we get through the pandemic. People understand intuitively that the paradigm under which this measure was formulated will change. We’re already modifying our behavior through information and communications technology, and the permanent impacts of that on the transportation system need to be better understood. I urge voters to take a judicious route—and Vote No on what amounts to a tax on jobs when we need them most.

— Deane Funk, Community Leader

The pandemic has shuttered my businesses and drained our resources. This new tax could prevent us from safely reopening, retaining all of our current employees or hiring new employees in our fitness center and trampoline parks. We business owners cannot afford more taxes as the Oregon economy recovers.

— Elizabeth Kramer, CEO, Envista Group

There are a lot of things wrong with this bond measure. Primarily, it is the wrong time to be adding a record sized tax directly on payroll. Business is already struggling and this will hurt hiring significantly. The measure is not balanced between modes and will do absolutely nothing to reduce congestion. Wrong plan, wrong time.

— Keith Peal, Baker Rock Resources

We are a family-owned business, recognized as one of the best places to work, and we have partnered with nearly every industry in the area. We know this tax will hurt the region’s industries during this unprecedented economic decline and render them less able to rehire employees at a critical time, which will slow our recovery.

— Ken Madden, Madden Industrial Craftsmen

I want to help protect local jobs and family paychecks from Metro’s new proposed wage tax that will be on the ballot in November. They already have too many taxes burdening their households!

— Katharine Johnson, The Ultimate.Network

Make no mistake. Imposing this type of tax affects a business’s decision to hire new people and to offer wage increases for their current employees because it is an additional cost of labor. Which is exactly why Metro at the last minute exempted governments from having to pay this tax. Given our current unpredictable economic environment, this is simply the wrong tax at the wrong time.

— Rob Harris, Harris Velazquez Gibbens

There are a lot of things wrong with this bond measure. Primarily, it is the wrong time to be adding a record sized tax directly on payroll. Business is already struggling and this will hurt hiring significantly. The measure is not balanced between modes and will do absolutely nothing to reduce congestion. Wrong plan, wrong time.

— Keith Peal, Baker Rock Resources

We are a family-owned business, recognized as one of the best places to work, and we have partnered with nearly every industry in the area. We know this tax will hurt the region’s industries during this unprecedented economic decline and render them less able to rehire employees at a critical time, which will slow our recovery.

— Ken Madden, Madden Industrial Craftsmen

I want to help protect local jobs and family paychecks from Metro’s new proposed wage tax that will be on the ballot in November. They already have too many taxes burdening their households!

— Katharine Johnson, The Ultimate.Network

Make no mistake. Imposing this type of tax affects a business’s decision to hire new people and to offer wage increases for their current employees because it is an additional cost of labor. Which is exactly why Metro at the last minute exempted governments from having to pay this tax. Given our current unpredictable economic environment, this is simply the wrong tax at the wrong time.

— Rob Harris, Harris Velazquez Gibbens

I feel like this is a terrible time to be adding taxes on working people as everyone is struggling to survive the damage that COVID has caused. This is a bad idea and bad tax. 

— Tyler Geel, Insomnia Coffee Company

Transportation, safety and access are all important but the needs of our community have changed during COVID. Now is not the time to pass a new wage tax on workers trying to survive. The fact that METRO is pressing forward with a new permanent and ill defined tax for the same plans drafted pre-COVID and not taking a brief pause to ask if the needs and priorities may have changed at all in the past 6 months is extremely disappointing. We deserve better than that from our elected leaders.

— Stephen Smelley, Goldfinch Consulting

The projects outlined will not solve the congestion problems in the region and the employer paid wage tax is an unfair burden on local businesses especially during challenging economic times.

— Robert Grovet, Pacific Landscape Management

I feel like this is a terrible time to be adding taxes on working people as everyone is struggling to survive the damage that COVID has caused. This is a bad idea and bad tax. 

— Tyler Geel, Insomnia Coffee Company

Transportation, safety and access are all important but the needs of our community have changed during COVID. Now is not the time to pass a new wage tax on workers trying to survive. The fact that METRO is pressing forward with a new permanent and ill defined tax for the same plans drafted pre-COVID and not taking a brief pause to ask if the needs and priorities may have changed at all in the past 6 months is extremely disappointing. We deserve better than that from our elected leaders.

— Stephen Smelley, Goldfinch Consulting

The projects outlined will not solve the congestion problems in the region and the employer paid wage tax is an unfair burden on local businesses especially during challenging economic times.

— Robert Grovet, Pacific Landscape Management

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