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Two things are going to happen to Corvallis residents' finances in the near future. One we cannot control; the other we can.

We cannot control the Legislature passing House Bill 2020 (cap and trade), which requires a program capping greenhouse gas emissions and provides market-based mechanisms to push compliance. The supporting study considers taxes on carbon ranging from $10 per metric ton to $150 per metric ton, which, for gasoline, ranges from 9 cents to $1.33 per gallon. According to the study, we will all be better off; however, that depends on study assumptions not being significantly violated. In the end, consumers always pay the bills; therefore I expect the price of gasoline to rise by the carbon tax.

We can control our real estate tax rate by our vote in May on the levy funding parks and recreation, the library, and social service programs. If we vote for the levy, our real estate tax rate will go up. If we vote against it, our tax rate will go down.

We can also expect to face ballots to create a new taxing district for 911 services and float bonds to build a new jail and a new county courthouse.

In addition, we will probably have to meet the "Total Maximum Daily Load"

(TMDL) requirement limiting the temperature of the effluent Corvallis dumps into the Willamette River. Moreover, it appears that PERS requirements will keep going up, rippling through our personnel costs. We need to set priorities, make choices, and try to avoid making housing less affordable.

John Detweiler

Corvallis (March 23)

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