Oregon Lawmakers May Ask Voters To Overhaul Property Tax

OPB | Feb. 28, 2013 7:23 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 28, 2013 11:50 a.m. | Salem, Oregon

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Oregon lawmakers may ask voters to overhaul how the state deals with property taxes. Possible constitutional amendments were before a Senate committee Wednesday.

City and school district leaders pressed lawmakers to loosen Oregon’s property tax limits. The state’s complicated system of caps and compressed rates has come under renewed fire in recent years, as real estate values have fallen and government costs have risen.

Craig Martin is the city manager for Sweet Home in Linn County. Martin says his city demonstrates the need for property tax reform.

He said, “If things don’t change in the coming years, we’ll probably come to a point where we can’t fund those core services that our citizens have come to expect.”

Some opposed changing the tax system, because changes could wind up costing property owners.

Others argued that the two constitutional amendments are too small a fix to Oregon’s tax structure. They argued lawmakers may only have one chance to convince voters to change the tax system – and should address more than just property taxes.

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