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Eugene City Council Will Vote to Raise Income Tax

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photo by Tomash Devenishek

In the midst of a 28 million dollar budget shortfall, school closures, and furlough days, the Eugene City Council’s Subcommittee on Education has handed down recommendations for a six year income tax increase for Eugene residents.

The proposed measure, headed for this May’s ballot, will help bridge the gap left by this year’s budget shortfall. Ensuing revenue will be used to reduce, and possibly eliminate furlough days, while also trimming class size as much as possible.

Taxes raised would be split between 4J and Bethel districts according to how many students in the district live within city limits. Those districts will then be required to provide an annual report back to the City Council, justifying the revenue spent.

A review panel will be established by the districts to provide for oversight of the money. In turn, the City Council is asking each district how much revenue it will need to get the job done.

The tax would only reduce or suspend if Oregon State funding increases are able to meet the same goals for furlough days and class sizes, or if the increased local tax revenue affects the amount of State funding flowing into the districts.

The recently appointed Subcommittee on Education consists of representatives from the City Council, each school district, school advocates, and the business community, and was selected by Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy at the request of the Eugene City Council.

Members of the subcommittee are:

1. Andrea Ortiz, City Council
2. George Brown, City Council
3. Craig Smith, 4J School Board
4. George Russell, 4J Superintendent
5. Alan Laisure, Bethel School Board
6. Colt Gill, Bethel Superintendent
7. Joy Marshall, Stand for Children
8. Hillary Johnson, School Advocate
9. Dave Hauser, Chamber of Commerce
10. John Barofsky, Business Representative

The city council will vote February 14 on whether to put the tax increase on the ballot for May 17.

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