Portland considers new tax on gas, utilities


by Sara Roth, KGW.com Staff


Posted on August 17, 2013 at 8:34 AM

PORTLAND, Ore. – The city of Portland is considering a new tax on gas and utilities. The mayor’s office will be conducting a phone survey assessing community support of the tax later this month.

The carbon tax would impose a 4 ½ cent tax per gallon on gas and 3 percent tax on utilities.

According to city leaders, the money would be used for road projects and sidewalk improvements.

“It could be a carbon tax paid by utilities,” said Dana Haynes of Mayor Charlie Hales’ office. “It could be paid at the gas pump. Maybe a combination of those two."

“We don't think any other city in America has done that yet, so its a little progressive. Is it something people would like? I don't know. We'll find out,” Haynes said.

The city will be conducting a phone survey to assess the feasibility of the carbon tax.

KGW spoke with Portland residents Friday about the proposed tax.

“They keep coming up and inventing new taxes,” said Chris Visan. “There’s already enough gas tax.”

Julie Wilt disagreed.

“I think a gas tax and carbon tax wouldn't be a bad idea,” she said. “I think anything we can do to reduce our carbon footprint is always good.”

Haynes said the city is not going to make a decision about the tax anytime soon.

“It is our responsibility to think broadly and creatively, regarding ways to be good stewards of the public’s money for services we provide,” Haynes said.