Getting to a sales-tax state

Oregonians, long proud of having no sales tax, now have two point-of-sales taxes — and one that rides the border of being such a tax.

In addition to the 17 percent state sales tax and 3 percent city sales tax on recreational marijuana enacted in 2017, the Legislature has decided that things associated with transportation need to include sales tax.

On new bicycles that cost more than $200 — a figure low enough to include the majority of new bikes — a $15 point-of-sales tax will go toward the state’s transportation fund.

New cars also get a sales tax, but in some cases the dealer will have to pay, so this is the new tax that borders on being a true sales tax.

The Legislature also has increased income taxes through a transit tax, at one-10th of 1 percent.

Polk County cities have long said they need more money for streets. We hope some of these new sales taxes and income tax will trickle down to the cities we live in.

As the Legislature’s transportation package collects money, we hope our state will make good use of it by widening highways that need to be made wider and repaving roads that need repaving.

The bigger picture here is a slippery slope we see coming in the form of these sales taxes. You may not smoke recreational marijuana, so that sales tax doesn’t affect you. You won’t be purchasing a new car or bicycle for a while, so you won’t think about that one, either.

If Oregon’s elected leaders continue to add sales taxes to items slowly, it won’t be long before all of Oregonians are in the boiling pot of sales taxes — no longer getting a penny back on a 99 cent item.

Nearly all the states have a sales tax in one form or another, so maybe it isn’t the end of the world. But it is one of those things that Oregonians feel strongly about, and we wonder why no one is complaining as the heat is slowly turned up on these point-of-sales taxes.

What will be the next thing the Legislature will add taxes to, and no one will really complain? Fast food? Specialty coffees? We’ll see.

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