This was a comment on Bike Portland and its vitally important to understand how this tax is actually a tax on the poor. I can't believe this shit was actually proposed
There isn’t anyone at any of the organizations opposing this bill (I
can confidently assume) that doesn’t want this kind of money – and much,
much more – for transit expansion.
But this bill, as written and timed (ahead of the 2017 transportation
package), is a transparent attempt by TriMet and LTD to protect the
wealthiest residents in their district from contributing their fair
share to a transit funding solution. It’s an attempt to reduce the
impact that the growing political consensus around new transportation
revenues might have on wealthy households.
But first, let’s back up and stop pretending that a regressive tax –
and nobody can reasonably argue that this tax isn’t regressive – is fine
and lovely when/if it is “used to fund services used mainly by low and
moderate income families, like bus service.” The ends justify the means,
right? No.The first thing (among many other things) wrong with this is
how narrowly the benefits of bus service are being characterized to
justify a regressive tax. Better transit benefits everyone! Everyone. In
many, many, many ways that a few minutes on google can tell you all
about. The thing about transit is, even if it’s only “used” by some, its
public benefit is enormous and intersectional and shared by
“non-users.” And don’t forget, the people we call users have to pay for
transit twice – in taxes and at the farebox. Wealthy non-users should
not be excused from paying their fair share… but I digress…
Anyway, the tip-off that this is a transparent attempt to reduce the
impact of new transit taxes on wealthy residents is that TriMet and LTD
already have authority for a proper income tax – not just this much
narrower tax on wages. They just don’t want to use that authority.
Because wealthy people don’t like income taxes. Thus, the wage tax
A wage tax is nearly the equivalent of an income tax on poor and
working class households because most of their income comes from
employee wages. But this is less and less true the further you move up
the income scale, as more and more household income comes from non-wage
sources. So the *effective tax rate* on wealthy households is actually
lower than the effective tax rate on poor and working class households –
some of whom will then pay for transit a second time at the farebox.
And the technical, political science term for that is: bullshit.
I’m thrilled to see groups like BTA, OPAL, and others think
meaningfully and strategically about important revenue policies like